Graceland University Launches Two New Academic Programs

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Press Release

February 15, 2019

Male professor instructs a male and female student in the classroom

Dr. Jonathan Montalvo, Assistant Professor of Spanish

Graceland University will launch two new academic programs to begin in 2019-20. The Division of Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the Lamoni, Iowa, campus will offer both new programs: a major in Hispanic studies and a minor in creative writing.


The Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies is an interdisciplinary major requiring 42 semester hours, including the completion of the Spanish Language Program, Latin American History I and II, and elective courses that address cross-cultural themes.


“The Hispanic Studies major fosters cultural understanding and global citizenship, resulting in a transformative student experience that teaches critical thinking and understanding of self and others,” shares Dr. Jonathan Montalvo, Assistant Professor of Spanish and advisor for the program. “The program makes our students sought-after candidates in many career fields.”


Potential post-graduate career paths include bilingual educator, translator, international relations, medical interpreter, customs/immigration officer, travel/tourism, political analyst, speech pathologist, foreign diplomat, and others. Salaries vary by field and/or geographical location, according to, but, on average, bilingual employees are paid between five to 20 percent more than employees who speak just one language. A few Graceland alumni currently work across the country and internationally in industries where bilingual capabilities are valuable like healthcare and education.


Graceland’s communicative approach, a language teaching style emphasizing meaning rather than simple memorization, combined with upper-division course offerings anchored in cultural studies makes the Hispanic Studies curriculum unique from other higher education institutions offering similar programs. This major is more than simply learning Spanish – it is a program that encourages students to explore the history and culture of the Spanish-speaking world through oral, written and visual expression.


In addition to learning the language, students are exposed to courses – taught both in Spanish and English – in fields such as history, political science, film studies, communication studies, philosophy, ethnic/race studies, and feminist theory.


The creative writing minor helps students become more empathetic, more creative in their thinking, and more effective communicating through writing. The minor is comprised of existing courses that are already part of the English curriculum and requires a creative writing internship through which students will organize readings; hold creative writing workshops for middle and high school students; and edit, publish and promote Graceland’s student literary journal, The Vespiary.


The real goal of this program is to help build a stronger community of writers on Graceland’s Lamoni campus while engaging students with additional high-impact practices, including an internship with a service-learning component.


Some examples of the core courses offered in the creative writing minor are creative writing: poetry, creative writing: fiction, creative writing experiments, digital filmmaking, and playwriting.


Additional details for each of these new programs will be forthcoming on Graceland University’s website at Admissions counselors on the Lamoni campus are available by phone at 866.472.2352 (866.GRACELAND) or 641.784.5196 or by email at


To contact the program advisor for the Hispanic studies major, please contact Dr. Jonathan Montalvo at 641.784.5156 or To contact the program advisor for the creative writing minor, please contact Isaac Pressnell at 641.784.5442 or Please contact the Admissions Office to schedule your campus visit.

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