Admissions realizes need for learning Spanish

It was nearly five years ago the admissions staff recognized the growing need for knowing Spanish. They decided to learn the language, and they took it seriously – all the way to Guatemala.”Learning Spanish was an attempt on our part to signal to the community that we really wanted to build some bridges,” said Ray Brown, dean of admissions.

Although most prospective students will know English, Brown said, it is important that the admissions staff be able to communicate with parents. He said they have developed a bilingual brochure especially for that purpose.

Wes Waggoner, director of freshman admissions, recently began taking Spanish classes through the TCU Extended Education program.

Waggoner said he has encountered a fair number of times when students’ parents spoke only Spanish and he wanted to be able to reach out to them.

“I want to greet them, to make them feel comfortable and respect their culture,” Waggoner said.

Waggoner said he would like to participate in an immersion program someday, much like the one Joan Yates, administrative assistant for international admissions attended a few summers ago.

Yates attended an immersion program in Guatemala with other members of the admissions staff for two weeks.

She said she went to school every day for seven hours, followed by three or four hours of homework.

Because she works in international admissions, Yates sometimes receives Spanish transcripts and e-mails and said she is now better able to understand them.

Karen Scott, director of international admissions, has been taking Spanish for the last seven years and said she has seen the benefits.

“I can travel on my own to Latin America and feel comfortable,” Scott said.

Besides allowing her to travel and read Spanish on her own, Scott said learning Spanish is a message to the community.

“We recognize this is a multilingual world,” Scott said.

Although the percentage of students or parents who speak only Spanish is small, Waggoner said, the need for Spanish happens often enough that they can’t dismiss it.