Get a specialized education in a short amount of time

July 6, 2020

The College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters introduces five new certificate programs for the fall that focus on food, language, media production and more.

Graphic representing the new CASL Certificate Programs
Graphic representing the new CASL Certificate Programs
Graphic by Violet Dashi

Students interested in healthcare want to learn about the body’s nutritional needs. Business students, thinking of the global economy, say it’s beneficial to learn food’s cultural aspects. Social justice-focused students know the importance of increasing access to food — but need the skills to critically evaluate the food systems already in place.

With an increasing interest for a food-focused education, Associate Professor Patrick Beauchesne helped create the 12-credit Food Studies Certificate. The customizable program, which launches this fall, has courses that explore food politics and policies, nutrition and metabolism, medical anthropology, the social importance of food, and more.

“People have deep cultural ties with food. In this certificate we’ll explore how food shapes and maintains identity, which is important in everyday life and in many career fields. For example, pre-med students want to know the science of food along with the cultural aspects since they will be treating a diverse group of people and food is tied to our health and our culture,” said Beauchesne, the Food Studies Certificate director.

The Food Studies Certificate is one of five new College of Arts, Sciences, & Letters certificate programs starting this fall. Other programs focus on translation skills, media production, and cultural competency.

CASL Dean Martin Hershock said certificate programs are beneficial because they give a specialized education in a short period of time. And that campus certificate programs — CASL now has 14 — are often developed to address a need for credentialed expertise or in response to an emerging area of study or interest.

Hershock said certificate programs are created with flexibility so undergraduate students can add a certificate onto their existing major, or a professional can come to campus as a guest student with the goal of earning the certificate.

“Offering a wide range of certificate options better enables students to personalize their education in ways that address their specific needs,” Hershock said. 

Here are the four additional certificate programs beginning in Fall 2020. They are enrolling students now.

Arabic Translation

The 12-credit Arabic Translation Certificate is focused on giving students a professional level of understanding how to translate to and from both dialect and standard Arabic. 

Arabic Translation Certificate Director Wessam Elmeligi who has taught English and Arabic languages and literature in the U.S. and Egypt — as well as translation classes — said the new certificate is an important addition to the campus, especially with the large Arabic population in the Southeastern Michigan region. And it’s an important skillset to have outside of the region too — Arabic is spoken by approximately 422 million people around the world.

He said students will gain experience in document translation, which is needed in legal, business, news, technical, and medical areas; will learn how to simultaneously interpret during conferences, public talks, and interviews, as well as subtitle audio-visual material such as films, media, commercials or campaigns. “A professional in any field shows value to an employer if they are able to serve as translators too,” Elmeligi said.

French Translation 

French Translation Certificate Director Gabriella Scarlatta, who grew up near France’s border and went to university in Chambéry, France, wants students to gain a deeper understanding of French language and culture while gaining professional translation skills.

French is spoken on five continents and is the official language of 29 countries, which makes it important for business, engineering, hospitality, diplomatic relations and more. 

Scarlatta says the 12-credit certificate focuses on translation methodologies and translation practices in addition to the cultural aspects of the language.

“This certificate will provide you with the linguistic, cultural, and practical tools to tackle a variety of translation tasks in a professional setting. While improving your skills in French, you will learn to be a better writer and to understand its close interconnections with the English language.”

Media Production 

Gain technical skills while exploring a variety of storytelling forms in the 15-credit Media Production Certificate

Using digital multimedia tools, students will work with award-winning filmmakers — Certificate Co-Directors Jim Gilmore and Jennifer Proctor — while learning video production and audio production in the field and in the campus’ Media Studio.

While also building skills in multiple forms like documentary, experimental and narrative, Proctor says students also will gain digital fluency and effective communication skills, which are marketable in any career field.

Professional Language and Cross Cultural Competency 

This customizable 11-credit certificate will provide students with opportunities to learn professional practices, navigate business dynamics, and gain linguistic competency in Arabic, French, German or Spanish.

The Professional Language and Cross Cultural Competency Certificate wants students to be able to communicate in a professional manner in different cultural settings, compare and contrast professional cultures, analyze and respond appropriately to professional scenarios in a language and culture, and more. “Knowing the language and the culture of the people with whom you are working will facilitate and enhance business practices and transactions,” said Certificate Co-Director Gabriella Scarlatta.

Certificate Co-Directors are Rifaat Dika, Sofia Calzada-Orihuela, Liana McMillan and Scarlatta.



Back to top of page