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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

St. Joe’s offers new Irish language
classes for fall 2022

Kersti Powell, D. Phil., reading her book, “Irish Fiction”, which she finished writing after receiving her doctorate. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK.

St. Joe’s students will have the opportunity to take a new foreign language class next year in Irish. 

The class will be taught by a Fulbright Foreign Language teaching assistant, who has not yet been named, according to Kersti Powell, D.Phil., associate professor of English and director of the Irish Studies Program, which offers a minor in Irish Studies through the department of English. 

“The selection is up to Fulbright,” Powell said. “There is a big application process, and all the candidates go through a very rigorous selection process. So these are really the top candidates who are being interviewed, and then who finally get the offer to the United States to teach Irish language here.”

St. Joe’s students can fulfill their non-native language requirement by taking an Irish language course each semester starting next year. 

“Students can also take it as an elective if you just really are interested in Irish language and always had that desire to study Irish,” Powell said. 

St. Joe’s partnered with Villanova University for the Fulbright application process, Powell said. The instructor will be shared between the two universities and will teach one course at each university. 

Joseph Lennon, Ph.D., associate dean of international and interdisciplinary initiatives, and Emily C. Riley, director of Irish Studies at Villanova, said the collaboration between the two universities has been brewing for a long time.

“We collaborate often on events or sharing speakers,” Lennon said. “They come to our events sometimes, we come to your events. This is a chance to get some co-teaching happening.” 

Villanova has offered Irish language courses through the Fulbright program since 2012, Lennon said. The Fulbright assistant normally teaches five courses a year at Villanova. This year, Villanova needed a second assistant to teach a few additional classes. 

Lennon said if the collaboration between the universities works, he would consider doing it again in the future.

Katie Shainline ’22 is currently in Powell’s course, Modern Irish Drama. Although she never formally declared an Irish Studies minor, Shainline said she is excited for the other St. Joe’s students who get to learn Irish. 

“It’s a really wonderful language to listen to, and I think it’s really cool that people are going to learn it,” Shainline said. 

Alumni will also be invited to participate in an Irish language group taught by the Fulbright assistant, Powell said.

“We very much hope to see our alumni coming back to campus in order to learn Irish language, which I think will be great fun,” Powell said. “And I look forward to participating myself as well.”

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