Our relatively new Salem State College President, Dr. Patricia Maguire Meservey, feels strongly that all students should learn to study another language and that varied opportunities should be given for language offerings and study experiences. She graciously agreed to be interviewed on her thoughts related to language study for this issue of Lingua Franca.
Sherf: How do you view the role of foreign language study at Salem State College?
Meservey: Foreign language study is very important in so many different ways as we continue to find ourselves moving to a global society. I want the department to provide the leadership to convey the importance of studying languages and cultures for all of our students.
Sherf: What should the role of global studies be in the college?
Meservey: Global studies can be imbedded in all majors in varying capacities. Again, we are experiencing the importance of the global experience in so many ways — most recently in the economic challenges of the world. We, as citizens of the world, need to understand other cultures, and be able to communicate with people throughout the world.
Sherf: Who do you think should study a foreign language?
Meservey: Everyone. Everyone should develop a sense of communicating in another language, and learn to know another culture. Through such experiences, we will grow to understand our differences and commonalities.
Sherf: What is your own foreign language study experience?
Meservey: Unfortunately it is limited. I studied French in elementary school and Spanish in middle and high school. I found it very difficult to learn the languages but enjoyed the experience. I still find I am able to use both in limited capacity and have found this very helpful when traveling in other parts of the world— and at home.
Sherf: What is your language/cultural background?
Meservey: My language is English and my cultural background is Irish-American. I am second and third generation. My grandmother (maternal) came to the US from Ireland when she was a teenager. I enjoyed hearing her stories of her home and have since had the pleasure of traveling to Ireland myself.