Dept. chair brings change

Spanish and Portuguese department chair incorporates Gen Ed into curriculum.

Luis González del Valle has settled into the position as chair of the Spanish and Portuguese department.

Hoping to make numerous improvements, González del Valle has been at Temple for more than a year and is using his skills and experience to better advance the Spanish and Portuguese department. He has plans to recruit additional professional faculty members, establish administrative structures, design new courses, improve current courses and perform outcome assessments.

“We are looking at degree options and how they reflect what is going on elsewhere and how we can adapt that to our internal mission here at Temple,” González del Valle said.

This semester, the department is offering a six-week course with Spanish novelist and poet Ramón Hernández. Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to improve their Spanish creative writing skills by working with the author on creating poetry, narrative fiction and dramatic literature.
Typically this is an opportunity given only to graduate students, González del Valle said.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity,” said Alex Mangroo, a junior Spanish major. “It’s definitely unique to have an actual author teaching and working with us.”

González del Valle has also arranged for numerous speakers to lecture in the course. He plans for a Chilean writer to make presentations.

“Through these procedures, we are guaranteeing the quality of what we do,” González del Valle said. “We need to do that for our students.”

The department currently has 160 majors and approximately 80 minors. González del Valle also plans on increasing these numbers in the next few years, as he did at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
González del Valle made the switch to Temple after over two decades in a similar position in Colorado.

He said he wanted to spend more time on the East Coast, particularly Philadelphia, and he was drawn to the unique culture and structure of Temple.

“People were so friendly and so open here. Philadelphia and Temple seemed to be a great place,” González del Valle said.

Born in Cuba and raised in a family of educators, González del Valle brings with him a passion for learning, cultural appreciation and love of language. His specializations include modern Spanish literature and Cuban culture.

With the implementation of the general education curriculum, González del Valle and the department has began a course titled World Societies in Literature and Film. The course fulfills the world society requirement and the Core Curriculum’s international studies requirement. For the Fall 2008 semester, there are two sections, one of which focuses on Spain and the other on Latin America.

“It is designed to introduce students to cultural practices in Spain through literature and film,” said Kimberly Vega, assistant professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department. “In the process, students also learn history, political science, art, and music.”

“I like it here,” Vega said. “I haven’t enjoyed teaching this much in a long time and I have fun.”

Kathryn A. Lopez can be reached at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.