XU French loses upper-level classes

Due to staff opening, Xavier French Studies students are unable to take courses

By Kyra Hudson, Staff Writer

The Xavier French and Francophone studies program (FFS) was unable to offer upper-level courses this fall due to a shortage of instructors. 

The Department of Classics and Modern Languages is looking to fill the position by Spring 2023 class registration, but some FFS students worry about the setback in completing their FFS major or minor requirements.

Xavier’s FFS program provides classes ranging from vocabulary and grammar of the French language to French politics, history, literature and various aspects of French culture. 

The program’s webpage details that the “curriculum easily accommodates the addition of a second major or minor.” 

The FFS program was previously directed by Dr. Johann Le Guelte, who is now at Georgetown University as a Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of Francophone studies. Le Guelte taught upper-level French courses such as French culture and politics, Francophone cinema and led a senior independent study research project at Xavier. 

As he embraced the opportunity to teach at Georgetown, Le Guelte was set to be superseded by Dr. Riham Ismail, a French professor who previously taught at Purdue University. 

However, as upperclassmen prepared to enter into their 300 and 400 level classes this semester, they were met with the news that Ismail would be unable to teach the upper-level French courses this fall. 

Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer. Students in XU’s French and Francophone studies program are unable to take their upper level courses this fall.

The Classics and Modern Languages Department was unable to find a qualified instructor to teach for the fall semester. 

This resulted in the cancellation of two upper-level French courses and many FFS students with questions about how to continue with their major or minor. 

Dr. Jamie Trnka, German studies professor and Chair of the Classics and Modern Languages Department, provided insight into the situation from a professor’s perspective. 

“We are actively working to confirm spring staffing by an outstanding faculty member and will confirm our plans prior to the start of registration for spring courses.” Trnka said. “We continue to collaborate closely with Dean (David) Mengel and Provost (Rachel) Chrastil to ensure the continued vibrancy of our programs, and the department is hopeful that requests for a permanent replacement will result in another highly competitive national search.” 

President of French Club and FFS major Emma Falci provided some insight into  the challenges that FFS students now face.

“I definitely feel like this change has affected many FFS students here at Xavier, and I honestly was really sad when I found out I wouldn’t be able to take a French class this semester because it’s something I genuinely enjoy,” Falci said.

Falci explained that she was able to use the credits that she received while studying abroad to count for her six remaining credits to complete her FFS major.

“I realize not everyone was in that position, so I am worried about the students that have been set back from completing their French major or minor. However, as president of the French Club, I am determined to not let this get in our way, and I aim to make the French Club a space for Francophones of all levels where we can continue our learning outside of the classroom,” Falci said. 

Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer. Schott Hall is home to the Department of Classics and Modern Language, which includes Xavier’s French major and minor programs.

Trnka’s description of the future for the FFS program is one that provides hope for the program and encourages students to continue with their studies despite this complication.

“French and Francophone Studies is a vibrant and diverse field and enjoys strong student engagement and interest here at Xavier. We look forward to continuing to nurture student curiosity and commitment inside and outside of the classroom,” Trnka said.