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Advocacy Panel – Focus on success stories and tentacularity,

an exciting webinar hosted by Vista Higher Learning

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Webinar Details:

Advocacy Panel – Focus on success stories and tentacularity

April 11, 2024 | 3:30 PM ET

Presented by:
  • Dennis Looney, Former Director at Modern Language Association
  • Christi Garst-Santos, Director and Associate Professor of Spanish
  • Araceli Hernández-Laroche, Professor of Modern Languages and Founding Director of South Carolina Centro Latino


We invite you to join Dennis Looney in conversation with Christi Garst-Santos, South Dakota State University, and Araceli Hernández-Laroche, University of South Carolina Upstate, to explore strategies of tentacularity for language programs and departments. Learn how faculty members at South Dakota State University, finding themselves in a newly-merged mega-unit, the School of American and Global Studies, took advantage of their unique position to promote the study of language across disciplines. Learn how faculty members at the University of South Carolina Upstate created South Carolina Centro Latino (El Centro) with three fundamental pillars--Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies, the Public Humanities, Translation and Community Interpreting--that contribute to the promotion of languages on campus and in the community beyond campus. How can you design your courses to strengthen the language(s) you teach? How can you do it working inside your department and working beyond it?

NOTEIf you are unable to attend the session, you can access the recording on Vista Higher Learning Higher Ed professional development webinar page.

Learn more about the presenters

Dennis Looney

Christi Garst-Santos

Araceli Hernández-Laroche profile photo.jpg
About Dennis Looney, Christi Garst-Santos: and Araceli Hernández-Laroche:

Dennis Looney

Dennis Looney served as Director of the Office of Programs and Director of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages at the Modern Language Association from 2014 to 2021. From 1986 to 2013, he taught Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was chair of the Department of French and Italian for eleven years and assistant dean of humanities for three years.

In 2022, he received the James E. Alatis Founder’s Award from the Joint National Committee for Languages for “a lifetime of exceptional contributions to advancing language and international education,” and the ACTFL Wilga Rivers Award for Leadership in World Language Education. Publications include Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian Renaissance (Wayne State University Press, 1996), which received honorable mention, MLA Marraro-Scaglione Award in Italian Literary Studies, 1996-97; and Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), which received the American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize (general category) in 2011.

Christi Garst-Santos
Christine Garst-Santos (U of Iowa Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor of Spanish and the inaugural Director of the School of American & Global Studies at South Dakota State University. She began serving as interim Department Head of Modern Languages and Global Studies in 2017, leading the department through academic and organizational transitions to the formation of the School of American and Global Studies in 2019. The school houses seven majors, ten minors, and six interdisciplinary certificates as well as three active research and outreach units: The Ethics Lab, The SD Polling Project, and the Public Humanities Initiative. Christi is a Cervantes scholar by training and her current projects explore what early modern Spanish literature and culture can teach us about our own disinformation age. Ensuring that the liberal arts are central to the university’s land-grant mission is her calling. Christi has developed or co-developed several collaborative outreach projects that work to create flourishing local communities through ESL classes for agricultural workers, cultural venues for immigrants and refugees in Sioux Falls, Lakota language revitalization projects, and civic engagement through a new, donor-endowed public service academy. She presented at MLA Academic Program Services Summer Seminars and Virtual Leadership Institutes in 2018, 2022, and 2023. She is currently serving on the MLA’s Delegate Assembly and the MLA’s Nominating Committee. She was recognized as the 2019 J.P. Hendrickson Liberal Arts Faculty Scholar and Lecturer, the recipient of the 2022 Global Engagement Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Education and Leadership, and the 2024 Bailey Award for Excellence in Academic Department/School Leadership. 

Araceli Hernández-Laroche
Araceli Hernández-Laroche (UC Berkeley PhD) is USC Upstate Professor of Modern Languages and founding director of South Carolina Centro Latino, the state’s first university-based center for the study of Hispanic and Latino cultures. Its three pillars are Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies & Civic Leadership, the Multilingual Public Humanities, and Translation & Community Interpreting. She has several publications on world wars, existentialist writers, the public humanities, including France in the Times of COVID-19: The Public Humanities as a Vaccine for Coexistence,and immigration in the Americas. She served as co-president of the Association of Department of Languages (ALD) Executive Committee, MLA Ad Hoc Committee Valuing the Public Humanities, and boards such as the ACLU-SC. She is excited to serve on the Cambridge University Press Open-Access Public Humanities Journal.  She was recognized as the 2020 Career Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of South Carolina, 2020 Inclusion Advocate of the Year by the local chamber, and 2023 SC Humanities recipient of the Akers Prize for “using culture and history to bring people together, but whose efforts may have gone relatively unnoticed.” SC Biz News is recognizing next month Dr. Hernández-Laroche as one of the 2024 Women of Influence—Greenville Award Winners.