Mission Statement

Kandinsky artwork


This revised Strategic Plan, which replaces our 2002 plan, is a reflection of our continuous effort to enrich our curriculum and strengthen our ties with the Ellison Center (REECAS), and other relevant departments and programs (History, Political Science, Jewish Studies, Film Studies, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, NELC, Scandinavian Studies, CHID) in order to maximize our current resources and strengths, define our anticipated future needs, and, in the long run, continue to further develop our overall ability to carry out research and teaching missions in the broad area of Slavic, Eurasian, and post-Soviet Studies. This plan was co-written by all members of the Slavic faculty with the participation of our colleagues from the Ellison Center. It was discussed by the Department and has its full endorsement.


The mission of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures is to provide excellent education to our undergraduate and graduate students; to expand the boundaries of knowledge and understanding through extensive, high-quality research; and to preserve – and further improve on – our rank among the very top departments nationally. Responding to the ever-changing world around us, and to the increasingly complex demands it places on us and on our students, we truly strive to maintain our overall excellence while advancing the nuanced study of the diverse and rich civilizations of the critically important regions of Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Caucasus, and Central Asia.


In the most immediate future we see ourselves continuing our focus on the critical areas where we already have both departmental and institutional strengths: Literature, Film, Post-Soviet, Russian-Jewish, and General Cultural Studies (including Visual Arts, Gender, Ethnicity, Nationalism, Philosophy, and Religion), Synchronic, Historical, and Socio-Psychological Linguistics, as well as Cross-Cultural Communication. We intend to maintain offering a rich variety of Slavic languages together with several non-Slavic languages of the former Soviet republics and the former Soviet-bloc countries: Russian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Rumanian, Slovenian. We also intend to teach some of these languages – like Ukrainian – more regularly, and introduce new ones, like Hungarian. We will continue to create and emphasize interdisciplinary, intercultural, and broad-based courses – both for beginning and advanced students – that reflect our research across traditional and emerging disciplines. Our further enhanced curriculum will ensure that our students have a deeper understanding of different modes of inquiry and attain a desirable breadth of knowledge. We also will work hard to further strengthen our graduate program by teaching more graduate seminars and making sure both our M.A. and Ph.D. students are well equipped to enter their chosen professional fields.