Language classes look to close gaps

TCU is now offering a Spanish in the Workplace series that teaches faculty and staff to speak Spanish in their everyday working environment.The Staff Assembly and Human Resources are co-sponsoring two eight-week series of classes by Command Spanish, the largest provider of workplace Spanish in the nation, said Julie Lovett, assistant director of extended education.

Lovett, who brought the program to TCU, said her main goals for the program are to bridge the communication gaps in the workplace and also between staff and the community.

Lovett, the chair of the Professional Development Committee, asked staff members what kind of professional development opportunities they would like in a survey.

Based upon the survey given last fall, the staff named Spanish as one of the ways it could continue to develop professionally, said Susan Oakley, assistant secretary of the Staff Assembly.

Both series of classes run at the same time. One series teaches Spanish for office personnel and the other series teaches Spanish for custodial and maintenance supervisors.

Lovett said the course is not a traditional language class.

“This class is not meant to be truly conversational Spanish,” Lovett said. “No grammar will be taught, just key phrases for their workplace,” Lovett said.

Currently, the class dedicated to office personnel is overbooked at 24 attendees and has a wait list of 10, while the class dedicated to the custodial and maintenance supervisors has 13 attendees, Oakley said.

This is the first time the Staff Assembly and Human Resources are sponsoring the program, but it was offered to Human Resources employees about two years ago and was successful with eight employees being able to use Command Spanish, Lovett said.

The courses are offered at no expense to the participants, Lovett said.

Joanne Lott, a member of Human Resources and an attendee to the classes, said the course was informative.

“It helps generate understanding and makes communicating easier in the workplace,” Lott said. “It also promotes good customer service and good customer relations.”

The first classes were scheduled to start Jan. 17 but, because of the snow day, were pushed back until the next week. The classes should last until Spring Break, Oakley said.