Dear friends of the College of Arts and Science:
Twice a week this fall, students gathered in Calhoun to learn K’iche’ Mayan, a language spoken by more than a million people in Guatemala. Vanderbilt Senior Lecturer Mareike Sattler simultaneously addressed students in the room and students appearing on two large monitors from classrooms at Duke and the University of Virginia.
The three universities have founded a new digital learning consortium to offer courses in less-commonly taught languages. In its first semester of operation this fall, Vanderbilt students enrolled in courses in K’iche’ Mayan, Haitian Creole and Tibetan – the last two taught by instructors based in North Carolina and Virginia, respectively.
Language study is an integral part of the Vanderbilt liberal arts curriculum. Students flock to majors and minors requiring advanced language proficiency. They pursue study abroad opportunities in droves. Their interest in language learning often goes hand in hand with deep engagement in the study of the literature, culture, politics and economy of regions around the world.
We celebrate the addition of the consortium courses in less-commonly taught languages as we carry forward Vanderbilt’s deep commitment to language study.
Vanderbilt’s award-winning a cappella group, the Melodores, is having an extraordinary holiday break. On Dec. 11, the performers sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” for President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. Next week, the all-male vocal group shares its holiday sound on NBC’s The Today Show.
Arts and Science in the media
Political science’s Elizabeth Zechmeister (pictured) co-authored an article in the Washington Post that explains how terrorist attacks can change opinions and elections. The Huffington Post
has tapped religious studies professor Volney Gay to blog about psychology and religion. In his first two blogs, Gay explored ISIS atrocity propaganda. Media including NPR and MSNBC turned to Medicine, Health and Society’s
Jonathan Metzl for information on mental health and mass shootings. On the science front, Phys.org, Gizmag and Space Daily talked to astronomy’s Keivan Stassun
about a new gamma ray device that can be used to find gold and other elements on asteroids.