Southern Methodist University

Institution: Southern Methodist University
Department: World Languages and Literatures
Contact Person:  Dr. Gabriela Vokic (

About the Program: SMU is currently in the process of redesigning its program for heritage speakers of Spanish with the purpose of offering a more coherent curriculum that reflects the most recent trends in heritage language teaching and meaningfully serves our heritage students’ needs. The redesign notwithstanding, the overarching goal of all our offerings for heritage Spanish speakers is Spanish language development and maintenance in Texas. To that end, all our courses foster bilingual and bicultural individuals who engage in Spanish confidently in personal, academic and/or professional contexts, in both the written and oral domain. This is accomplished by exploring the students’ heritage cultures as well as critically examining the topics relevant to the socio-cultural space of the Hispanics in the U.S.

Courses offered in the heritage program:

  • Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers (SPAN 2323): The lowest one in the sequence for heritage Spanish speakers, this is a fourth-semester Spanish course for heritage students who are comfortable using Spanish in all timeframes and in a familial context, and who wish to acquire Spanish literacy skills, develop grammatical accuracy, and expand overall proficiency. The course focuses on the development of oral and written expression and significant vocabulary expansion, and their application to authentic social contexts and cultural situations.
  • Advanced Spanish for Heritage Speakers (SPAN 4358): This is the first in the series of two advanced courses for heritage Spanish speakers, in which students further develop their Spanish, while learning about their cultural heritage. Emphasis is on registers of Spanish needed to succeed in academic and professional settings. Special attention is given to the critical exploration and reevaluation of issues surrounding bilingualism in the U.S., with the purpose of developing in the students a sense of respect for and appreciation of their own language variety.
  • Culture and Communication for Spanish Speakers (SPAN 4355): This is the second advanced course for heritage Spanish speakers. It emphasizes cultural readings and advanced communication skills through the lens of Hispanic culture and major Hispanic groups in the U.S.