Welcome From the Director

SILC Director Nina Berman
Mike Tueller, Director, School of International Letters and Cultures

Welcome to the School of International Letters and Cultures, ASU’s home for education and research on the world’s many and diverse languages and cultures!

The world is more interconnected than ever—but to truly capitalize on that interconnectedness, you have to know the world’s languages and understand its nuanced cultures. Our courses and programs open the doors to careers with global impact, no matter what they are. That is why ASU students, no matter what their major, choose a minor with The School Of International Letters and Cultures at a higher rate than any other unit in the College—and why our graduates go on to a huge variety of careers.

Of course, no student spends every day thinking about life after graduation; a satisfying university experience—for students and, for that matter, faculty as well—must engage the mind and excite the spirit by strengthening the intellect and building community.

A tour through SILC on any given day will reveal these things happening in many ways. One might see students puzzling through a text more than a thousand years old, honing comprehension skills on a language and culture far removed from ours in time. Others are learning the ways in which the interplay of language features can shape a community’s view of the world. Others will be watching a Russian film, pausing it frequently to analyze its groundbreaking techniques, and comparing them to those that arise from other cultures. Students who have learned some Spanish in the home, but who have never lived in a majority Spanish-speaking culture, are becoming fully bilingual in one of the pre-eminent heritage language programs in the US.

Graduate students from around the world are counseling with their faculty advisors, working their way toward groundbreaking discoveries in the languages and literatures of China, Spain, Latin America, and beyond. Even students who come to The School of International Letters and Cultures just for a few semesters of introductory language are expanding their ability to see the world through others’ eyes, a first step toward bridging the gaps that can too easily separate humans from one another.

Our faculty, while focused on the development of these students, are also producing scholarship on the literature, film, and other media of dozens of countries and on twenty languages. Here, you may see a scholar using the latest digital technology to crack metrical codes alongside one employing time-honored critical techniques to plumb the classic literature of Europe or East Asia—and both of them collaborating to sharpen one another’s insights.

In short, SILC is an exciting, vibrant community, with more going on at once than any one person can take in. If you’re interested in any part of the world, or any era in time, and ready to widen your view in ways you can’t predict but will always treasure, you’ve come to the right place!

Mike Tueller,
Director, School of International Letters and Cultures