About Us

Welcome from the Chair of the Department of Classical & Modern Languages!


Thank you for your interest in Classical and Modern Languages. I invite you to learn more about our people, programs and opportunities.


Our students are curious, passionate and fearless! Students in our undergraduate and graduate programs achieve linguistic competencies and multicultural literacies, develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and connect with diverse communities in Louisville and around the world.  Through our courses in over 9 different languages, cultural studies and translation and interpreting they become informed, articulate and engaged leaders who understand and appreciate cultural differences. Our graduates go on to pursue careers in education, business, law, medicine, tourism and the non-profit sector. We are proud of the many Fulbright, Critical Language, Boren and other national scholarships winners as well as the Peace Corps and Teach for America volunteers who have come from our department.

We have over 300 students enrolled across our minor and undergraduate degree programs. Additionally, over 3,000 students each year study with us to broaden their knowledge of the world or in fulfillment of the College’s foreign language requirement. 


Our enthusiastic and passionate faculty excel in teaching and research and are active in the community.  Recent faculty achievements include the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Trustee’s Award, a Fulbright Research Fellowship, an Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) regional and national advising awards, and a host of best book and paper honors from professional associations.

We have 25 full-time faculty across eleven languages and all the major subfields of linguistics, cultural studies and interpreting. A number of our faculty serve on the boards of local non-profit organizations such as the Backside Learning Center, Sister Cities Louisville and Teatro Tercera Llamada. We are affiliated with the Asian Studies, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Latin America and Latino Studies programs and faculty collaborate with other departments across the college.


There is no better and more effective way to learn a language than to live or work in the culture where the language is spoken. A number of department scholarships support overseas travel and residency.  Additionally, our faculty direct programs in Austria, China, France, Panama and Spain. Internships in the community allow our students to earn college credit for apprentice work in a field that has clear connections to their programs of study while practicing their language skills and enhancing their knowledge of culture and practical skills. A number of students take that one step further and after graduation go on to live and work abroad by participating in the Cultural and Teaching Assistant Programs in France in Spain.

Thank you for your interest in our department.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or to learn more about the opportunities and adventures that await you in Classical and Modern Languages. 

Li Zeng, PhD
Chair and Associate Professor
Classical and Modern Languages
University of Louisville

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