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The year was 1981. The wide-eyed 13-year-old visiting West Germany may not have known it then, but he was about to embark on a course that would affect his career a few decades later.

“The foreign architecture of its cities, towns and villages; its unfamiliar yet compelling culture; and the cryptic — and therefore magical — language I found myself immersed in,” he said, “these initial firsthand encounters with Germany and its people opened my eyes to an exciting new world and sparked a desire and a drive within me to learn German.” 

By the time Scott Stephens arrived at KU in 1986, Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika, already well underway in the USSR, were constantly making headlines. To keep up with current events, Scott took an introductory political science course on the government of the then-Soviet Union. His interest piqued, he took a course in Russian the following year.

“So began my lifelong study of this beautiful East Slavic language that continues to this day,” he said. 

Scott completed his double major in Germanic (German) and Slavic (Russian) Languages and Literatures in 1991. He went on to work as a translator, a content editor and eventually a senior analyst for 3E Company. In his current position, he’s responsible for updating international clients on EHS affairs in Germany, his company’s most important market. His fluency in German enables him to get information out more quickly than online trade publications.

“At every stage of my professional life, my knowledge of foreign languages has made the difference in my obtaining employment,” he said. “I am certain that my proficiency in German and Russian is what has given me the edge in today's extremely competitive job market.”

 


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Diversity

Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
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