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Polyglot Message from the Interim Chairperson

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2020 Message from Dr. Meredith Ray

A Tale from the Decameron, John William Waterhouse 

Greetings from the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures!

In 1348, as plague raged through medieval Europe, Giovanni Boccaccio – author of the Decameron – urged his fellow Florentines to seek strength in the tapestry of human experience, comfort in compassion and empathy. In his collection of one hundred short stories, Boccaccio highlighted the links that bind us together, near and far. In DLLC, finding connection – and the insight it sparks – is at the heart of what we do. Amid a new global pandemic, Boccaccio’s effort resonates more than ever, as we nurture and foster connection across languages, cultures, and fields of inquiry – even if we have to do it over Zoom!

DLLC’s interdisciplinary programs, highlighted in this issue of the Polyglot, are a wonderful example of the ways in which our students engage in learning experiences that prioritize connection, bringing together complementary areas of study, offering opportunities to serve the community, and laying the groundwork for an array of careers. From minors in Spanish for Healthcare, Spanish for Business and Finance, Italian and Fashion Culture, and Game Studies, DLLC leads the way in interdisciplinary curricula that help students prepare for jobs of the future. You can also read about the cutting- edge research being done by our faculty at the intersection of fields such as game studies, gender and sexuality, linguistics, and more.

This issue of the Polyglot also showcases the exciting events held in DLLC this year, from a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall to a lecture on Marco Polo’s travels through China, as well as a wonderfully creative student production of Citron Bleu - held entirely over Zoom. You’ll also hear from DLLC students who studied abroad, and those who earned top honors in their language areas.

As always, we are delighted to highlight the accomplishments of our outstanding faculty, from recent publications to grants, awards, and honors. Warm congratulations go to our newly-promoted faculty: Dr. Persephone Braham (Spanish) and Dr. Riccarda Saggese (Italian), each to the rank of Professor; and Dr. Meghan McInnis-Domínguez (Spanish), to the rank of Associate Professor. And a special round of applause to Dr. Iris Busch, Assistant Professor of German and Spanish, who was named Delaware Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (DECTFL) Teacher of the Year. We also celebrate two respected and admired colleagues who retired this year: Dr. Jorge Cubillos, Professor of Spanish and former Acting Chair of DLLC; and Dr. Asima Saad-Maura, Associate Professor of Spanish. You can read about their impressive accomplishments and contributions to DLLC and UD in these pages. We will miss them both, but we wish them all the best in their next chapter!

As we head into this unprecedented new academic year in the time of Covid-19, I want to thank our faculty and students for their commitment and perseverance in adapting to our evolving circumstances: you are all absolutely heroic. We are grateful to the dedicated office staff who keep DLLC running smoothly: many thanks to Ms. Ariadne Lopez, and a warm welcome to our three new staff members this year: Ms. Jane Branden, Ms. MaryAnn Miller, and Ms. Kathleen Turner. Mr. Aaron Ward, our IT specialist, provides invaluable tech assistance to all of us. Lastly, a special thanks to Dr. Meghan Dabkowski, our new editor of the Polyglot. 

We deeply appreciate your generous support of the students and programs in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Thought- provoking pedagogical programming and exciting opportunities for internships and study abroad are integral to the unique educational experience we offer to our students on their journey to become global citizens. Your help makes it all possible! To make a donation, please visit: And please visit our department website to learn more about our activities!


Interim Chair 

Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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Polyglot Message from the Interim Chairperson
Fall 2020 Polyglot
  • Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • Jastak-Burgess Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • 30 East Main St.
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2591