Dialogue with Department Head: Richard Curry
The new department head in the Department of Hispanic Studies, Richard Curry, is not new to the College of Liberal Arts and Texas A&M University.
In fact, he began at TAMU in the summer of 1987, and witnessed the growth from the Department of Modern Languages to the Department of Modern & Classical Languages to the Departments of Hispanic Studies and International Studies. For most of his 32 years here, he has been very active in the Department, College, and University, serving, for example, as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Faculty Senator, presiding officer of the University Curriculum Committee, and as member of Liberal Arts Council.
Curry began his university teaching career in his home state of Ohio at Franciscan University, where at 23 years of age he became department chair and was the inaugural coach for women’s intercollegiate basketball. Escaping the cold Ohio winters and after stints in Arizona and Alabama, Rick came to TAMU attracted by the fact that “the Department and the College seemed like places where there were opportunities to meaningfully contribute and there was a potential for growth.” Importantly too, College Station seemed like a great place to raise kids, and three of Curry’s adult children are Aggies (Whoop!).
“This profession allows me to continue learning new things, to continue researching, to continue reading and writing every day. That’s what life is about for me.”
In his career, Rick Curry has taught dozens of different courses in the Spanish curriculum, courses ranging from basic language instruction to advanced grammar, poetry, culture, art, and Hispanic film to graduate seminars on historical film, contemporary poetry, or New Mexican Cinema. He is the proud recipient of two Association of Former Student Distinguished Achievement Awards in Teaching, having been so honored by the College of Liberal Arts in 1991, and by the University in 1998.
He has directed doctoral and master’s theses on, among other things, pedagogy, Mexican film and narco series, Spanish historical film, Spanish horror film, film monsters, contemporary Cuban intermedial expression, and cultural anthropology. This diversity of the discipline is precisely what attracted Curry.
“I liked being a student so much that I decided never to stop being one,” he said. “This profession allows me to continue learning new things, to continue researching, to continue reading and writing every day. That’s what life is about for me.”
“Understanding other cultures and another language is essential to fully understanding the past and present, and to preparing for the future.”
Curry is convinced that understanding other cultures and another language is essential to fully understanding the past and present, and to prepare for the future.
This is an important role that the new head sees for The Department of Hispanic Studies, as he and his colleagues commit to fostering Spanish language proficiency and cultural competence, and to preparing Aggies to succeed in our increasingly multicultural state and globalized world.
It is here, he says, that Hispanic Studies, like all Liberal Arts, “promotes the ability to listen and to communicate, to respect and tolerate difference, to inquire, to think critically, and to effectively exchange and disseminate opinions and knowledge in writing and speaking.”
He adds, “I am happy to lead a department so central to the role of Liberal Arts and to represent a group of teacher-scholars committed to those goals and engaged in the creation and production of knowledge and in the preparation of new generations of scholars.”