For Professor Florence Ramond Jurney, the French Department at Gettysburg College is strong and offers a multifaceted approach to French Studies. Indeed, with six full-time faculty and a French Teaching Assistant coming from a Francophone country, the French Department offers a variety of courses covering a number of topics of interests to students: literature, cinema, women studies, postcolonial studies, and cultural studies from a social studies perspective are only a few of the options offered to students.
The Department also offers language courses to students who wish to learn or strengthen their knowledge of French. Three of its faculty have been recognized for excellence in teaching with various teaching awards (the Luther W. and Bernice L. Thompson Distinguished Teaching Award and the Edwin T. Johnson and Cynthia Shearer Johnson Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities). Students often get the opportunity to participate in pedagogical projects with faculty either through the role of Peer Learning Associate, or by working closely on pedagogical projects with faculty and presenting jointly the result of their findings at professional conferences.
All majors in the department have to spend at least a semester abroad in Nantes or Paris. Minors are strongly encouraged to take that opportunity as well. Both study abroad programs in France offer courses at the university and thus the possibility to meet French students and socialize beyond the program. A variety of internships are also offered and these are especially attractive to double majors who get experience in another field while dealing with new cultural parameters.
Beyond traditional “in the classroom” teaching, the Department supports various learning opportunities. Some students have, for example, worked with faculty mentors during the summer on their own research projects. Mellon Summer Research Fellowships helped support these projects financially. Some professors have linked the senior seminar and senior capstone projects to a “hands-on” experience by traveling to France and meeting representatives of government agencies, local grass-roots organizations and museums.
Today, our alumni are represented in many professions and fields: our graduates are attorneys in immigration law, working for multi-national companies with branches in France, in the Foreign service, in the Peace Corps, catering to American tourists through bike tours in France, or French teachers. Most of them are currently, or have gone through graduate programs, at the University of Maryland, the University of Oregon, the University of Colorado, Washington University in Saint Louis, or the University of Delaware among others. These students are specializing in various fields through Master’s or PhDs.