Prof. Florence Ramond Jurney elected president of the Alliance Française de Frederick

Florence Ramond Jurney, a French and Francophone studies professor at Gettysburg College, was recently elected president of the Alliance Française de Frederick (AFF), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the French language and Francophone culture. As someone who has devoted her career to championing intercultural fluency—one of the enduring skills that Gettysburg recognizes as most valuable by employers—Jurney looks forward to creating more opportunities for student involvement with the AFF to better prepare them for working in an increasingly globalized world.

“The whole point of the AFF is to promote French culture and the French language, but with the idea that it would help people become culturally literate so that there would be less conflicts and less wars,” Jurney explained. “Being elected president of the AFF seemed like a normal step for me in promoting intercultural fluency, especially with what Gettysburg stands for, trying to have students become better global citizens.”

The AFF has partnered with Gettysburg College to host the French and Francophone Film Festival—a cherished campus event that has been held at the Majestic Theater for the past 12 years—and to celebrate holidays that are important in the Francophone world, such as Mardi Gras and Bastille Day. Jurney hopes to engage more Gettysburg students with the AFF, as she considers the integration of classroom learning with professional work to be greatly valuable. 

Prof. Ramond Jurney engaging with students at a recent AFF event
Prof. Ramond Jurney engaging with students at a recent AFF event held in conjunction with the Canadian Government for National Canadian Film Day.

Jurney emphasized, “In terms of excellence and the bridge that we always try to make between what our students are doing here and how relevant their experiences will be in the professional world, we strive to jump on any opportunities to connect students with the world outside of our Gettysburg community. Through the AFF, students can meet adults that are already immersed in their professions, so that they can recognize professional excellency and connect to the outside world.”

While new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are facilitating translation, Jurney strongly believes that people should and will continue to learn languages. “People can tell you that everyone in the business world speaks English, so why would we need to study languages? Because you don’t just learn a language—you learn the culture and the codes that go with it. Because no AI can give you cultural competency,” she shared.

“Language is really about understanding each other, because in a global world, we are going to be working together, and so to do it well and to do it without conflict, we have to learn how to read each other and the codes about each other’s behaviors,” she added.

Jurney was initially drawn to teach at Gettysburg College for multiple reasons, one of which was the critical thinking skills that comes with its liberal arts education. Along with teaching French and Francophone studies, she aims to instill confidence in her students so that they feel prepared for situations that they may encounter in their careers.

“I really like the liberal arts mindset and the critical thinking piece of it. Intercultural fluency is not a technical type of knowledge, it is more abstract. That is exactly what I am interested in—teaching my students to think critically,” she explained.

By encouraging her students to take a critical thinking approach when facing difficult situations, Jurney hopes that upon graduation, they will be ready to more fully navigate our culturally diverse world.

Learn more about how Gettysburg College integrates language, literature, and cultures into its curriculum to equip its students with strong intercultural fluency skills.

By Brooke Askin ’25
Photos by Shawna Sherrell and William Oehler ’26
Posted: 05/07/24

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