Languages and World Literatures Self Study

The Department of Languages and World Literatures invites students to examine language and literature as inherently human endeavours that cross time and national boundaries. We offer programs and courses in languages and global literatures, from the ancient Middle East to modern Japan and from ancient mythologies and oral traditions to current pop culture.

We work to enhance the reputation of FCCS and its individual programs by developing and maintaining a full range of communications tactics and assets to create a visual identity for the Faculty’s internal and external communications. Our target audience consists of prospective students and their parents, current students, alumni, partners, and supporters, our campus community including faculty and staff members.

Our Department is distinct in Canada, offering an international, transcultural, and transhistorical approach to the study of language and literature. Our multifaceted approach synthesizes the study of languages, literatures, theatre, art history, religions, and film. Our vision articulates with UBC’s strategic plan in its commitment to global citizenship and the creation of a civil and sustainable society through opportunities for intercultural learning and international awareness.

In a world fraught with xenophobia and anxieties surrounding national identity, our Department fosters a deeper understanding of the “other.” Linguistic competence is a valuable skill for thriving in a global economy. World literature likewise enables us to expand how we think and structure our thoughts by fostering empathy and curiosity. Literature designates organized forms of artistic expression, which we trace both temporally, through the centuries, and geographically, across cultures. This framework of interpretation embraces national literatures, but only as one of the ways of organizing the world’s literatures. This approach also promotes an exploration of the literary properties of other genres of artistic communication, and the relationship between literature and other genres, including film, oral traditions, television, music and visual arts.

The Department of Languages and World Literatures was created on January 1, 2019. It comprises two programs: French and Spanish. We also have three established program areas (i.e., disciplines for which we do not yet have a major or minor): Japanese Studies, German Studies, and World Literature. Furthermore, we offer language and intercultural communication courses in an increasing number of languages, including Chinese and Korean. The idea to integrate the study of languages and global literatures stemmed from the understanding that both disciplines can greatly enhance each other as inherently interrelated endeavours that cross time and national boundaries. From its conception, the department has sought to drive a new academic vision in the humanities in the Okanagan. This is no easy task at the best of times, but much more so now as humanities subject areas face declining enrolment across North America. Yet this is precisely where we see salient opportunities. Enrolment patterns over the last decade indicate that students are not as interested in studying single national literature traditions in the original language as they once were. By combining the study of languages and global literatures, the department’s range of study goes beyond the Euro-American canon into diverse cultures, societies, and civilizations, and into ancient mythologies and oral traditions. As a testament to our commitment to integrating language instruction and literary studies, in the past two years we have hired two tenure-track faculty in the Educational Leadership and the Professoriate streams, one in Spanish/Indigenous and World Literatures and another in Francophone Studies and African Transcultural Studies, respectively.

The combination of language learning and World Literatures within a single academic unit entails a unique alliance in Canada and, more importantly, constitutes our greatest strength. The WRLD course code is a UBCO-only designation at this time. Initial offerings in World Literature already have been successful and popular, and we are seeing an increasing number of colleagues designing and teaching new WRLD courses. Everyone in LWL speaks at least two languages, from the Head to our sessional instructors. This plurilingual reach enables us to offer a wide range of courses, from medieval Spain to modern Japan. In select courses, including co-taught or team-taught courses, students can opt to submit work in English or in their language of study. Our courses are informed by the latest developments in language and literary studies, which includes an increasingly global and intercultural outlook. As such, we are also ideal partners for UBC’s Go Global exchange program. The department has encouraged radical collaboration from the start, maximizing existing and potential faculty resources. We are made up of a seldom seen assemblage of interdisciplinarians. Our approach is multifaceted, synthesizing the study of languages, literatures, theatre, art history, religions, and film. By complicating the idea of literature as an expression of cultural centres, we probe the ways in which texts circulate beyond ethnic and national boundaries.

One of the main challenges for faculty in the established programs within LWL—and FCCS as a whole—is to retool their literature and language courses as world literature courses and programming. Our language programs and program areas at times have experienced inconsistent enrollment numbers, especially at the third- and fourth-year levels, the most notable consequence of which has been termination of the major in Spanish (the French-Spanish combined major continues to thrive). It is noteworthy that we have faced this challenge head-on by creating a new major in Languages (LANG) so as to accommodate more effectively existing and new language course offerings. LWL also has faced a series of challenges due to faculty retirements, death, sick leaves, and chronic illnesses, all of which have required various forms of accommodations and have compelled us to hire a number of contingent faculty (some of whom have become Lecturers). We also find ourselves in a peculiar predicament, as the second half of our moniker—World Literatures—has not yet received accreditation from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Stills Training. Much of our success moving forward will depend on successfully implementing a major in WRLD, a project currently under way in earnest.


The Department of Languages and World Literatures (LWL) engages language and literature from a broad perspective, as inherently human endeavours that cross time and national boundaries. We celebrate the diversity of linguistic and literary heritages and their intercultural nature. The Department furthers this multifaceted approach by synthesizing the study of languages, literatures, theatre, art history, religious texts, and film. Our vision articulates with UBC’s strategic plan in its commitment to global citizenship and the creation of a civil and sustainable society through opportunities for transcultural learning and international awareness. The LWL Constitution establishes the governance structures of the Department, its World Literatures (WRLD) area, and its Languages and culture areas. Governance within this administrative unit shall be collegial, with an administrative structure consisting of one Department Head, a Languages Coordinator, and departmental and area committees as outlined below. The relationship between Department members shall be based upon mutual respect, autonomy, and transparency in our shared pursuit of academic excellence.

All persons holding a full-time appointment in LWL, or a joint appointment in LWL either as lead or collaborating department, shall be eligible to vote on all matters relating to departmental business arising within or under the auspices of a department meeting.

The LWL Constitution establishes the governance structures of the Department, its World Literatures (WRLD) area, and its Languages and culture areas. Governance within this administrative unit shall be collegial, with an administrative structure consisting of one Department Head, an Associate Head, and departmental and program committees.

Depending on circumstance, continuing members of the Department may decide by ballot to allow non-continuing faculty to vote on select matters pertaining to department business.

The Department shall hold at least one full meeting of all voting members of LWL in each month of the regular teaching terms of the academic year, unless there are no agenda items. The Head may call a full meeting, with reasonable notice, at any time. Any voting member of the Department may through the Head call for a meeting of the full Department, with reasonable notice. Member requested meetings shall not arbitrarily be denied.

Materials for meetings, including the agenda, minutes from the previous meeting, and motions, shall be circulated in advance of a scheduled meeting to permit reasonable time for consultation and reflection. Formal motions shall normally be circulated at least one week prior to a scheduled meeting.

All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

Members of programs within LWL (FREN, GERM, LANG, JPST, SPAN, and WRLD) are able and expected to contribute to the design and operation of the undergraduate program(s) in which they qualify for membership by providing input on issues such as curriculum planning during meetings of the respective programs. Programs are autonomous in planning and decisions that relate solely to their operations, but are expected and encouraged to act collegially, collaboratively, and transparently in initiatives that cross program boundaries. Decisions about cross-listing of courses, whether within or outside of LWL, will be made by the Department Head, and informed by recommendations made by the Associate Head to the Head. Course proposals in any of the programs will be presented to the Head and made available to all faculty members in LWL on FCCS Curriculum Development & Approval Process webpage, and subsequently considered by forwarded to the Undergraduate Programs Planning and Coordination Committee (UPPCC).

Officers of the Department and Committee Membership

Criteria and Procedure(s) for Appointment

Only tenured faculty members shall be eligible for appointment to the position.

  • The appointee shall hold the rank of Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Teaching, Professor, or Professor of Teaching.
  • The appointment shall be made by the Responsible Executive on the recommendation of the Dean, following consultation with members of the Department and in line with Policy AP9 (Appointments and Extension of Appointments for Heads of Academic Units).

Terms of Appointment

(See Articles 4.1 and 5.1 of the Collective Agreement)

  • The appointment shall be for a maximum of 5 years, subject to satisfactory performance, and renewable at the discretion of the Dean for a maximum of another 5 years. Before renewing a serving Head’s term, the Dean shall solicit feedback from the Department.
  • The appointee may receive a  course release, plus other benefits, as outlined in the Collective Agreement (also see Section 2.3 of Policy AP9).


  • Provide academic leadership and be responsible for day-to-day administration of the Department.
  • Foster a collegial working environment.
  • Represent the Department both inside and outside the University.
  • Consult faculty members annually regarding their interest in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • Provide mentorship to new faculty, including continuing and part-time faculty members.
  • Assign undergraduate and graduate teaching responsibilities after consulting with the Associate Head, Associate Deans and program areas, as may be appropriate, taking into account the Faculty’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and the Department’s commitment to program area autonomy.
  • Be responsible for timetabling undergraduate and graduate courses in consultation with the Associate Head, Associate Deans, and others as may be appropriate.
  • Assess requests from the areas for cross-listing of courses within the Department as well as with other programs outside of the Department.
  • Work with Associate Deans in the assignment of Teaching Assistants, in consultation with the areas.
  • Be an advocate and leader for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary pedagogy and curriculum.
  • Evaluate marking assistance and work-study needs, and allocate support appropriately.
  • Monitor curriculum in the Department and provide leadership with new initiatives, area review, and strategic planning.
  • Receive Study Leave proposals from faculty members, and make recommendations to the Dean.
  • Serve as a channel for communication between Executive Committee and faculty members in the Department.
  • Coordinate recruitment of and mentoring of faculty members.
  • Build a pool of Sessional Lecturers in consultation with the Associate Head and the areas.
  • Coordinate appointment of Sessional Lecturers and chair the Academic Appointment committee.
  • Prepare and administer annual budget for the Department.
  • Receive annual activity reports from faculty members, undertake consultation with the Consultative Committee for Merit and PSA, and make recommendations to the Dean.
  • Track teaching evaluations for undergraduate courses and review with faculty members as appropriate.
  • Conduct, as applicable, review meetings as per Article 5.02 of the Collective Agreement.
  • Serve on designated Faculty and departmental committees.
  • Hold monthly departmental meetings in each of the regular teaching terms of the academic year, unless there are no agenda items.
  • Undertake other responsibilities as may be assigned by the Dean.

There shall be an Associate Head for the Department. The Associate Head  shall receive a minimum of one course release per year.

The Associate Head  and the Head shall communicate  regularly to discuss all matters related to curriculum development, shared programming, timetabling, and so forth.

Criteria and Procedure(s) for Appointment 

  • The appointment shall be made by the Dean from among continuing faculty members who teach in the Department, following consultation with those members, the Head of Department, and the Associate Dean (Undergraduate Studies).

Terms of Appointment

  • The appointment shall be for a 2-year period, subject to satisfactory performance.
  • The position shall normally be rotated among all continuing faculty who teach in the Department.

Job Description

  • Assist Department Head in the preparation and submission of materials for the Academic Calendar.
  • All steps in the academic scheduling process up to data entry (eg. coordinating the department ed plan; review; revisions; all online steps required by central scheduling).
  • Answer questions from the office of the Associate Dean of Undergraduate; perform any tasks as requested by the office ( eg. language challenge exams, feedback and input on student surveys, participate in focus groups).
  • For all program areas: keep up to date with events; curriculum innovation, development, renewal; any issues arising that do not pertain to budget or personnel or workloads.
  • Report to the Head any important and relevant information about the programs in the Department.
  • Answer questions and advise students about the Languages major, including questions about languages courses beyond those offered by the Department’s flagship language programs.
  • Submit course proposals, approved at the areas level, for consideration by the Undergraduate Programs Planning and Coordination Committee (UPPCC).
  • Consult with Program Coordinators on all matters pertaining to each area.
  • Attend Undergraduate Program Planning Committee meetings along with the Head.

Each subject area in the department has a a program coordinator.


  • Be the contact person for the program, including for new faculty (continuing and part-time)
  • Advise the Associate Head  on all matters concerning individual program areas, including hiring UTAs and GTAs
  • Onboard and train UTAs and GTAs
  • Schedule and chair program meetings
  • Provide the Associate Head and program members with the minutes from all program meetings
  • Organize and coordinate a program ed plan, according to the needs of the students, program and department
  • Set/update final exam policy for programs, schedule and/or check final exams for mandatory sections, make sure exams are submitted to office, QA
  • SISC training, access, and monitoring
  • Coordinate the program student award nomination each term (French, Languages, International)


  • Advise prospective and in-program area undergraduate students about minor and major pathways and graduation requirements.
  • Complete articulation requests from Go Global, UBC and the BC Transfer Guide.
  • Work with student advising to assist students with program planning and course placements.
  • Each program area will appoint a student advisor (FREN, GERM, JPST, SPAN, WRLD). The Associate Head will be the advisor for LANG (Languages Major), CHIN, KORN, and any other language courses beyond those offered by the flagship program areas.
  • SISC training, access, and monitoring
  • Approve graduation list for program area


  • Advise the Dean for all appointments with review (see Article 2.03 of the Collective Agreement). 
  • Establish desired applicant skills, expertise, attributes, qualifications, documentation required, area(s) of expertise based on position to be filled, and evaluation process. 
  • Create advertisement and determine dissemination outlets. 
  • Evaluate applications and establish a short-list of candidates. 
  • Organize applicant itinerary, presentations, and interview questions for campus visit. 
  • Assess short-listed candidates based on interview, presentation, references and other appropriate criteria. 
  • Make a recommendation to the Dean, ranking all short-listed candidates and providing a rationale for the ranking.* 
  • Ensure that all hiring processes, decisions and appointments, irrespective of position, demonstrate our fundamental commitment to the principle of equity. In the particular case of faculty appointments of 12 months or longer, the hiring committee shall engage in equity discussions with Human Resources and the Equity and Inclusion 
  • Office at the beginning of the hiring process, and whenever possible, before composing the job advertisement. 


  • Department Head, Chair (votes only to break a tie). 
  • Languages Coordinator. 
  • 3 faculty members elected by the Department (voting). These members shall be elected from a slate proposed by the Joint Advisory Committee after consulting with members from the area(s) for which the appointment is being made. 
  • 1 faculty member appointed by Department Head (voting). 
  • 1 faculty member from another Faculty or Department elected by members of the area(s) for which the hire is being made following nominations by those members (voting). 
  • 1 student from the Department (non-voting). 

The Committee may choose, for good reason, not to recommend any candidate for appointment. In this case, a written rationale for the decision must be provided to the Dean. 


  • Department Head 


  • Assess the performance of all members of a Department with continuing status (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, Senior Instructor, Professor of Teaching, and 12-month Lecturers), except Heads, Associate Deans and the Dean. 
  • Review awards given to faculty members by the Head. 
  • Advise the Head on merit and PSA awards, following which the Head will make recommendations to the Dean. 
  • Where circumstances warrant, this committee will also serve as a consultative body for the purpose of Article 2.02 of the Collective Agreement (i.e., Career Progress Increments). 


  • Head [ex-officio], Chair (votes only to break a tie). 
  • 4 faculty members elected by members of the Department, at least one of whom will normally be untenured. Nomination practice will strive to ensure that all ranks, areas, and appointment types in the Department be represented where possible. 


  • Department Head 


  • Evaluate all recommendations from hiring committees and applications for (re)-appointment, promotion and tenure as per Section 5.4 of the SAC Guide and make recommendations to the Dean (See section 5.5 of SAC Guide).
  • Solicit views from all eligible members of the Faculty.


  • Department Head, Chair (votes only to break a tie).
  • 4 eligible faculty members elected by the Department (voting).

* All members must meet the conditions outlined in Article 5.04 of the Collective Agreement/Section 6.2 of the SAC Guide. 


  • As necessary, between submission of applications and the conclusion of the reappointment, promotion and tenure process for a particular academic year (see Section 6.2 SAC Guide).