The University of New Mexico, in an effort to attract more Spanish speakers and encourage others to learn the language, is offering content-specific courses in Spanish. One class, Negocios Internacionales, or International Business, is offered through the Anderson School of Management and is taught by part time instructor Kathleen Towle, in Finance, International, Technology and Entrepreneurship (FITE). Towle, who has been teaching the course for two years, offers it in the spring semester.
“This is my third semester teaching the class in Spanish. I’ve had about 70 students enrolled within the last three semesters, most of them from Spanish backgrounds, and some of them that are learning the language as a minor,” Towle said.
It is important for students to take these kind of courses while in school because it provides students with a different perspective. It also helps students understand and handle daily situations in a different language, she said. “If they want to practice Spanish, it is important that they do it at school first, so that they can learn concepts and the different things and situations that they will be facing on the real world,” Towle said.
Towle wants students to understand that there are far more opportunities for them if they speak two languages.
Towle teaches the same course in English, International Management. In the last few semesters she has noticed a decrease in the number of students in both sections. Towle said, “I’ve had about 73 students on my English class last semester, and now only 40.”
This semester there are fewer students registered for both courses - only 13 students are enrolled in the Spanish course, which may cause the class to be cancelled. “We’ve been working with the Spanish department for the last few semesters, as well as the management school, in order to promote this course. Unfortunately it hasn’t reached as many students as we were expecting,” she said, noting that promoting these courses is a way for the university to target a larger market nationally and internationally.
Nicole Wood is a senior business major at the Anderson School of Management, pursuing a minor in Spanish.
In her last semester at the university, Wood decided to take Negocios Internacionales. “By taking this course in Spanish, I don’t have to take 18 credits. I only have to take 15 credits, because this course applies to both my major and my minor,” she said.
Since Spanish is not her first language, Wood had to get a special permission to take Towle’s course. “After getting permission, I was very excited, and I told myself, it’s time to get work done.” Wood said.
Wood found out about this class by chance. She was originally looking to register for the International Management class in English, and discovered that the course was also taught in Spanish. “I would’ve loved to take a couple more courses like this one throughout my last year, butunfortunately I never heard of any of them until this one came across,” Wood said.
Too few students know about courses available in Spanish courses. Towle said that there is an advantage to taking these courses. "New Mexico is a bilingual state," Towle said, noting the value of attracting Spanish speakers and developing more through curriculum.