(July 10, 2010)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

College takes French to new level with Le Quartier Français

Find out more about Centenary's new Living Learning Communities.

Step through the doors of this residence hall and it is like walking through a portal to another country. All around you are signs in a different language. The television in the common area broadcasts news and movies in a language that is not native to most people on campus. And everywhere around you, students carry on conversations about everyday things that are common to all students...only in French.

Welcome to the Le Quartier Français, or the French Quarter, Centenary's first Living Learning Community.

Housed in the James Hall residence, it is the newest concept of education at Centenary College. It will be an area of campus where students will be totally immersed in the language and culture of a foreign language other than their native tongue.

"This is a very unique program and to our knowledge, the only one of its kind in the state of Louisiana," said Dr. Dana Kress, Professor of French. "We are folding in a lot of strengths at the College into the program to take a living experience and turn it into a learning experience."

The idea behind the Living Learning Community is to allow students who share academic interests, or an interest in a multi-cultural living experience to live together in a designated residence hall. Many of the living learning options allow students to attend classes with the same group of peers in their residence hall and continue what they learn in the classroom in a relaxed environment in a community setting.

See what the Shreveport TIMES is saying about Centenary's newest community.

Students with any major would live on the floor where signs would be written in French. The television would be from French speaking Canada and Africa. The radio also would have French music. The food would be French and the students would be required to communicate in French the entire time.

"The goal is simple," said Dr. Kress. "We will be able to increase oral proficiency in a fun atmosphere that will help develop the student's French language skills. This will be an extension of the classroom where learning and living become one."

The idea for the newest community, according to organizers, came from College President David Rowe who approached the faculty and staff members with the idea.

Centenary already had the resources in place including an exchange program with a university in France, a University Press where students translate and edit novels, plays and poetry from French Creole, as well as write for, Le Tintamarre, Centenary's French newspaper.

Centenary French majors also have the opportunity to spend a semester or year abroad at the Université catholique de Lille, in Lille, France. This complete immersion in the cultural and intellectual life of a major French university offers Centenary students a unique opportunity to perfect their French. When they return, the LLC is the perfect place to keep their language skills sharp.

Listen to Red River Radio feature on Le Quartier Français

Chelsea David, who will be the resident assistant for the floor, said that there is great deal of anticipation about the new opportunity at the College.

"One of the reasons I am excited is because this will be a great program to get out of your box or comfort zone," she said. "It might be a bit scary at first because we are going to require the students living here to speak as much French as much of the time as possible. It might be frustrating at first but it will get easier and become second nature to us."

Currently 15 students are scheduled to live on the French floor, including three international French students, which according to Dr. Kress will raise the level of French spoken.

"In class we learn the more formal language," he said. "With the international students also residing on the same floor, they will be able to teach the more conversational French that the young people want to learn."

Le Quartier Français is open to any student interested in French language and culture. Students would need to demonstrate language proficiency and completed French II or its equivalent to be eligible. Those chosen to participate will receive lab credit.

"The underpinning goal of this new residence community is to get students involved," said Dr. Kress. "It is going to flexible and demanding, but it is all about taking learning and applying it to some sort of tangible result that will help the student when they leave Centenary...whether that is in the professional world, graduate school or engaging in the global community."

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.