Dr. Ruxandra (Sandra) Looft holds a PhD in German and Comparative Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is originally from Romania and has spent part of her childhood in Germany and Canada before coming to the US. As part of her undergraduate and graduate work, she has studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria; Tours, France; and Munich, Germany. You can read more about her background in language study and how she came to advising here.
Flor Romero de Slowing is academic adviser for World Languages and Cultures. She received her Nutrition degree from the University of San Carlos de Guatemala in 2001 and a M.S. in International Development from Iowa State in 2012. She has instructed Elementary and Intermediate Spanish courses at Iowa State. She has previously worked on college access programs focused on first generation minority students.
If you would like to meet with our academic advisers in person, please stop by during the daily walk-in office hours. No appointment needed:
Students entering Iowa State should always consult the department about the proper foreign language course in which to enroll. A placement exam helps identify a student’s level of language competency in order to determine the academic course in which they should enroll. The department offers several options for placement exams. These on-line exams are available to ISU students and prospective students only. Anyone else interested in taking or using the exam must contact WLC@IASTATE.EDU before doing so. The exams may be taken on any computer with internet access via the button below.
Important: Upon completion of your placement test, please write down and print out your exact placement score. You cannot be placed correctly without this number. Consult with the academic advisors in World Languages and Cultures, Ruxandra Looft, 515-294-7570, or Flor Romero-Slowing, (515) 294-8988 for actual placement in a foreign language course at Iowa State.
Every year WLC students travel abroad to study and to work. The WLC abroad blog is a compilation of stories, pictures, and videos about what it’s like to live and learn abroad. Join us as we follow WLC students on their adventures abroad! Visit our international blog here!
Each academic year the department recognizes the work of outstanding majors and minors in World Languages and Cultures through departmental awards and financial scholarships. Students who receive these financial awards, as well as those who receive other honors for their exemplary performance in departmental courses, will be recognized at the annual World Languages and Cultures Awards ceremony celebrated each April.
Scholarship applications for the nine department awards are available on this webpage the first week of February each year, and the deadline to submit applications is Friday, February 24, 2017 at 5:00 PM.. Applications are submitted online through this webpage; paper applications are no longer accepted. Award recipients will be announced in mid-March and will be recognized at the annual World Languages and Cultures Awards Ceremony in on April 2. The scholarship funds are disbursed during the summer or following academic year.
The nine departmental scholarships available to undergraduate students are: Elizabeth Rectanus Memorial Scholarship; Van Iten Study Abroad Scholarship; Louise Semmons Scholarship; Alfred P. Kehlenbeck Scholarship; Ronald Schubert Scholarship; Sarah Dahlke Memorial Scholarship; LCP Global Scholarship; LCP Global Professional award, and the Tjaden Family Scholarship in Languages and Cultures for the Profession. Additional scholarship opportunities may be available from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Criteria for each departmental scholarship are indicated below:
Elizabeth Rectanus served as Academic Adviser and lecturer in World Languages and Cultures for over sixteen years, until her retirement from ISU in 2013. Elizabeth was passionate about German language and culture and traveled annually to Germany. She passed away in early 2016. In honor of Elizabeth, this scholarship was established for a student who will be studying in Germany during the summer or upcoming academic year.
This award is given from a bequest by Helga and Richard Van Iten, longtime Iowa State faculty members. Helga Van Iten was an Assistant Professor of German, and Richard Van Iten was a Professor of Philosophy. The award is open to full-time undergraduate students in German who are participating in a study abroad experience. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their German course work and no less than a 3.0 GPA in their remaining courses.
This scholarship is given in the name of Louise Semmons, who was an Iowa State graduate. Ms. Semmons left money for this purpose in her will. The scholarship is awarded to students who must be junior or senior language students who have above-average grades and have participated in foreign language activities on campus. Up to six awards may be given annually.
This scholarship is given in honor of Dr. Alfred P. Kehlenbeck, Chair of the Department from 1950 to 1969. Dr Kehlenbeck was a Professor of German who had a great interest in all students in the department. The scholarship may be awarded to any major in World Languages and Cultures who is preparing to teach and planning to study and travel abroad within the next academic year. Up to six awards may be given annually.
This award is given annually from a fund established by Ronald A. Schubert, an alumnus of Iowa State’s Department of World Languages and Cultures. The scholarship is awarded to a student from a rural Iowa background who is majoring in German or Spanish.
The scholarship is awarded by the Department of World Languages and Cultures in memory of Sarah Dahlke, a Spanish major who graduated in December, 2003, and who was tragically killed shortly thereafter. This scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate who plans to study in a Spanish-speaking country in the summer or academic year following the presentation of the award. Recipients must be present at the April awards ceremony to receive the scholarship.
The Tjaden family has established this scholarship to encourage students to become global citizens through the LCP program in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Recipients must be continuing students, enrolled in the LCP secondary major, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and be participating in a study abroad opportunity in the summer or following academic year. Students from any class standing are eligible to apply.
The LCP program announces a new scholarship program funded and supported with a generous grant from John Deere.
Scholarships up to $2000 will be awarded to students participating in a credit-bearing study abroad program or an approved international internship.
To be eligible, applicants must possess a minimum overall grade point overage of 3.0 and be declared major in Languages and Cultures for Professions with a primary major in any of the following:
This award is given to exemplary students in the LCP program. Awardees are nominated by the faculty.
Students: Please direct your recommender to the link below to complete the required recommendation form. A recommendation is required for each WLC and/or LCP scholarship application. If a student wishes to apply for more than one scholarship, a separate recommendation must be completed. The letter itself can be the same but the recommender must submit the following form for each scholarship, with the name of each scholarship indicated.
Recommenders: Please follow this link to complete the scholarship recommendation form. https://iastate.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_dbeHGwm1OwmJGYZ
No paper recommendation letters accepted.
Is your primary major in the the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, or Engineering?
Want to work globally?
All students taking part in an internship must complete the INTERNSHIP / CO-OP LEARNING CONTRACT with a faculty sponsor.
An internship is supervised experiential learning which offers you the opportunity to work in a career related position part time while you complete your university studies. In order for a job to be considered an internship, it must meet the following three criteria:
1. The experience must be meaningful as related to your degree or subject area
2. You must be provided with supervision and training.
3. You must be provided with evaluation or feedback on your professional or skills development
The internship experience required a student to work for a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of one semester. Students are required to work a minimum of 40 work hours for 1 credit; a minimum of 85 work hours for 2 credits; a minimum of 130 work hours for 3 credits During a semester this normally means working 8-12 hours a week.
Each employer is different in its salary policy for interns. Many internships are paid positions, particularly in the fields of computer science, technology, business, engineering, and MIS. However, in the fields of social services and education, many of the internships do not provide a salary. Internships abroad vary.
You can receive academic credit for your internship experience if you complete a Learning Contract signed by you, your employer, your faculty sponsor, and the internship coordinator in WLC. The Learning Contract lists the tasks in which you will be involved on the job; stipulates what the learning objectives of your work experience are; and identifies the method of evaluation (e.g., keeping a journal, preparing a research paper, giving a presentation, etc.) agreed to by your faculty sponsor. At the end of your employment, your supervisor must submit to the university an assessment of your professional development. In addition to the Learning Contract, you must register and pay fees for the appropriate amount of academic credit (Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish 499), regardless of whether or not you are receiving a salary as part of the internship.
Only foreign language majors or minors with at least a 2.5 GPA and 9 credits at the 300 level in the corresponding language are eligible to enroll in Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish 499 or WLC 499.
The availability of internships in foreign languages is growing, particularly in the translation and interpretation areas, in the field of social services and medicine, and other areas abroad. Spanish language skills continue to be in highest demand, but opportunity exists for students in Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Portuguese. Generally, students can earn internship experience and academic credit by enrolling in an internship as part of a study abroad program. For more information on how to combine study abroad with an internship, talk with a director of a program abroad in your language area.
Below are a few links to help you locate an international internship:
Students may also seek out their own internship and work with a faculty internship coordinator. For more information about internship opportunities in foreign languages, speak one of the following internship coordinators and/or download the internship Learning Contract:
For Spanish contact Professor Chad M. Gasta, 3102 Pearson (firstname.lastname@example.org / 294-0918).
For Chinese, French, German or Russian contact Professor Mark Rectanus, 3118 C Pearson. (email@example.com / 294-4324)
The Language Studies Resource Center (LSRC) is your workspace here on campus! Whether you need a computer to write a paper, want to watch a Chinese movie in the original version, or use an iPad to study vocab – come and see us!
Fall and Spring Semester:
Monday – Thursday: 8am – 8pm
Friday: 8am – 5pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
LSRC Main Phone
3142 Pearson Hall
Iowa State University and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have put together four year plans that help students take a proactive approach toward completing an undergraduate degree in four years.
To learn more about Iowa State University’s Four Year Graduation Guarantee visit:
To see what a four year academic plan could look like with a WLC major visit:
Foreign Languages at Iowa State University were taught sporadically from the university’s inception. It was not until 1899 that the Department of Modern Languages was formed and foreign language study became a permanent part of the academic curriculum. In 1969 the department was renamed Department of Foreign Languages in order to allow for the teaching of Latin and Classical Greek. In 1977 the department name was changed to Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures to bring visibility to its dual curricular focus. On July 1, 2006, we became the Department of World Languages and Cultures to better encompass the scope of the department’s mission and responsibilities with regard to Iowa State University’s strategic plan. Since 1970, over 1100 students have graduated from the combined departments of Modern Languages and Foreign Languages and Literatures. We will continue to add to these numbers as the newly named Department of World Languages and Cultures. As a way to recognize the many and diverse achievements of our graduates, the department has established Distinguished Alumni Awards to be presented each fall during ISU Homecoming Week. The first awardees were recognized in 2004 at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Recognition Dinner. Nominations for the departmental Alumni Achievement Awards are accepted on a rolling basis. Please consider nominating someone you believe has made an impact in his or her profession.
Roy Salcedo (Spanish, 1998) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Donald D. Steiner (German, 1978) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Elizabeth K. Andre (Spanish, 1998) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Christopher Johanson, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Gene Lange, (German, 1969) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Blythe Bowman Proulx, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Ronald A. Schubert, (Spanish, 1967) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Warren H. Stine, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Madolyn Johnson, (Spanish, 1966) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
David R. Jones, (Spanish, 1992) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Lisa M. Tetrault, (French, 1989) WLC Distinguished Alumni Award
Mark Ryerson, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Kimberly E. Contag, (Spanish, 1980) WLC Educational Achievement Award
Susan Sandholm Petersen, (German, 1973) WLC Educational Achievement Award
Christopher Sorensen, (French and German, 1991) WLC Professional Achievement Award
Paul D. Mitchell, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Sue Otto, (Spanish, 1969) WLC Professional Achievement Award
Christine Romans, (French, 1993) WLC Professional Achievement Award
Beth Vander Wilt, (Spanish, 1984) WLC Educational Achievement Award
Amy G. Thompson, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Beth Eilers, (French, 1987) FLL Alumni Educational Achievement Award
Frederick Schwink, (German, 1983) FLL Alumni Educational Achievement Award
Gary Stahl, (Spanish and International Studies, 1983) FLL Alumni Professional Achievement Award
Heather D. Schafroth, Classical Studies Alumni Achievement Award
Anne Bourdine (Russian, BA ’86) FLL Alumni Professional Achievement Award
Gene Larson (French, BA ’76) FLL Alumni Educational Achievement Award
If you would like to visit the Iowa State campus and share your academic or professional expertise with our students, please contact the department chair at 515-294-4046. We also welcome alumni assistance in identifying internship opportunities for our advanced undergraduates, establishing student scholarships, or supporting other departmental initiatives. We look forward to connecting with you again at Homecoming, during VEISHEA, or whenever your travels take you through Ames!
Any registered ISU student may attempt to earn credit for previous study of a foreign language by taking an exam for credit. Exams for credit are available in some elementary and intermediate foreign languages for a non-refundable fee of $100. Credits earned though a test-out exam are applied at the end of the semester following the one in which the test was taken. For example, credits earned through a test taken in the Fall semester will be applied at the end of the Spring semester.
Students may take standardized CLEP exams in French, German and Spanish in order to earn first and/or second year foreign language credit (up to 16 credits). These exams are administered by ISU Testing Services located in 2062 Student Services Building. Call Testing Services directly to reserve a computer in advance: 515-294-5058. Each exam requires payment of a non-refundable fee of $100.
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT COUNSELING SERVICE IS UNABLE TO ADMINISTER CLEP EXAMS AT THIS TIME. FOR NEAREST TEST SITES, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
The Department of World Languages and Cultures offers credit by examination in elementary (101/102) courses in Latin and in elementary (101/012) and intermediate (201/202) courses in Chinese. The exam is administered by the Department in the Language Studies Resource Center (LSRC), 3142 Pearson Hall.
Consult with an academic adviser, Ruxandra Looft (515-294-7570) or Flor Romero de Slowing (515-294-8988), in World Languages and Cultures before registering for an exam-for-credit in Latin or Chinese.
Students MUST come to 3102 Pearson Hall in order to register for the relevant examination.
All tests are standardized or approved examinations, each of which covers a full year of university-level study. Depending upon the score achieved, students may receive up to 8 credits in Latin and 16 credits in Chinese. Each exam requires payment of a non-refundable fee of $100.
Have a question? Check out our most frequently asked questions:
Students who major in World Languages and Cultures follow diverse and unique career paths after graduation.
Watch a short interview with WLC alumna Emily Fifield (Spanish and International Studies, with minors in History and Women’s Studies, ’08) whose study abroad experience turned into an entrepreneurial business venture.
We’ll be using this space to share information and interviews on how a language and culture major can inform and enrich your life after graduation.
American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI)
The American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) is a holistic language evaluation used to determine global ASL proficiency. The basic precept in this type of evaluation is to find out through a face-to-face interview what an individual can do with the target language at a given point in time. The ASLPI is a 20-25 minute video recorded interactive dialogue between the examinee and the interviewer. The interview is rated by a team of evaluators and examinees are awarded an overall proficiency level on a 0-5 rating scale. Language proficiency evaluation was originally developed by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State and has been used by the government for decades. Adaptations to the language proficiency evaluation were made with respect to ASL and the ASLPI was born. The ASLPI is utilized by agencies, schools, universities, programs and employers.
Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI)
The Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) involves a one-to-one conversation in sign language between an interviewer and candidate/interviewee. Interview content varies according to the background, job responsibilities, schooling, and other interests of each SLPI candidate/interviewee.
The SLPI was adapted by Drs. Bill Newell and Frank Caccamise from the Language/Oral Proficiency Interview (L/OPI), an interview technique for assessing spoken language communication skills. Just as the L/OPI may be used to assess a variety of spoken languages, the SLPI may be used to assess a variety of sign languages. When used to assess ASL skills the SLPI is labeled the SLPI:ASL. In its use by the US Peace Corps in assessing Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), it is labeled the SLPI:KSL.
SLPI interviews are recorded and subsequently rated independently by SLPI raters. The basis for ratings is the SLPI Rating Scale, a standard scale based on the sign language communication skills of highly skilled, knowledgeable native/native-like signers.
The goal of the SLPI is to assess how well people are able to use sign language for communication, and, as appropriate, to use this information to assist people in development of their sign language communication skills.
National Latin Exam:
and see the following for college-level equivalencies:
“The National Latin Exam is offered to students on seven levels. On the Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III/IV Prose, and Latin III/IV Poetry exams, there are questions on grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin, and Latin in use in the modern world. The Latin V-VI exam contains two Latin passages as the basis for questions on grammar, comprehension, historical background, classical literature, and literary devices.
A syllabus for each exam level of the National Latin Exam is posted online. The NLE provides an objective, external check on how well an institution’s students are performing both within the institution and compared to other students at the same level across the country.” These exams are administered three times a year by teachers on scheduled dates.
The ACTFL Latin Interpretive Reading Assessment (ALIRA)
“The goal of ALIRA is to assess Interpretive Reading in Latin. ALIRA uses a wide variety of texts including shorter and longer texts from ancient Rome, authentic historical documents, and modern texts from today’s classical studies community.
ALIRA provides a performance rating within the Novice and Intermediate ranges. There are four gradations of Novice performance and five gradations of Intermediate performance. They are designated N-1 to N-4 and I-1 to I-5. The score reports provide an explanation of each score.” These exams are available three times a year.
The National Greek Exams
“The six examinations consist of five Attic Greek exams (Introduction, Beginning, Intermediate, Prose, Tragedy) and a Homeric Greek exam (Odyssey). The NGE enrolls thousands of students from high schools, colleges, and universities in the US and around the world.” Applications must be requested and exams administered by teachers, these are scheduled only one time each year.
Students wanting to demonstrate proficiency in a language not offered at Iowa State University, or for which we do not have an appropriate exam for credit, may take the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) exam. Information regarding the OPI exam, languages in which it is offered, and registration procedures can be obtained from Language Testing International. The OPI exam may be used to waive the LAS World Language Requirement for languages in which WLC does not offer an exam for credit, but students may not receive credit for successful completion of the OPI exam. Students who choose to take an OPI exam should consult with the Department of World Languages and Cultures, (515) 294-4046, before registering for the exam.