Addition of Portuguese minor could help students secure jobs

Kyle Roerink

Class of 24 students can assist program

With companies such as Coca-Cola, Dell, Goodyear and McDonald’s doing business in Brazil, the addition of a Portuguese minor at Kent State could help students get jobs in the globalized business market because they speak the language.

Because of the country’s large amount of imports and exports each year, Brazil is becoming the financial center of Latin America, and the United States is Brazil’s largest trading partner. In the areas of banking, trading and marketing, Americans who speak Portuguese will have an advantage, said Janete Juliano, part-time instructor in Portuguese at Kent State.

Kent State offers introductory, intermediate and intensive classes of the language, but it does not offer a minor. Establishing the language as a minor would implement a study abroad program, Juliano said.

“Students who graduate from the intensive level will be able to go to Brazil on an exchange program,” Juliano said, “not just to learn the language, but to enjoy the delights of the country.”

If Kent State were to offer a minor in Portuguese, it would be very attractive for the school because the University of Akron, Toledo and Cleveland State do not offer it, Juliano said.

When businesses start looking at resumes, said Jennifer Mowka, a student in Juliano’s intensive class and senior international relations major, having a minor in Portuguese would help due to the current globalization trends.

“Brazil is the economic powerhouse of Latin America,” said Mowka. “We will be working with them, or are working with them, and I eventually want to work there.”

Timothy Moerland, dean of the College of the Arts and Sciences, said the process for establishing a new minor of any sort is spelled out by university policy and procedure.

“The beginning point is an assessment of need at the department level,” he said, “followed by a formal proposal, which is then voted upon by various members of the department.”

Juliano said a class of 24 students would help to implement a minor at Kent State. This semester, 20 students are learning Portuguese, with 12 in elementary and eight in the intensive class.

Luis Hermosilla, associate professor of Spanish and coordinator of Latin American Studies, said the department needs to see an increased amount of students taking the classes before the minor is added.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].