Beginning this fall, the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith is taking another step toward increasing retention and graduation of students – an initiative outlined in its latest strategic plan – through a fast-track completion program in the Department of World Languages.


Students seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish may now earn up to 15 credit hours – the equivalent of a full semester of college– via two proficiency tests through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL), which includes writing proficiency (WPT) and oral proficiency (OPIc) tests. Successful completion of the two tests with the required minimum scores will provide students the opportunity to ‘fast-track’ completion of the B.A. in Spanish degree. This ‘fast-track’ program will allow qualified students the opportunity to complete the degree program in seven semesters.


“We anticipate tremendous interest in this option,” said Dr. Mary Sobhani, head of the Department of World Languages, “When one of our faculty, Dr. Ana María Romo Blas, first introduced the idea of a fast-track option for the B.A. degree, we immediately understood the potential it represented for students majoring in Spanish.”


This pathway is best suited for the native Spanish speaker or those with advanced Spanish language skills, according to Sobhani.


“By finding effective ways to reduce the time to degree completion without sacrificing quality, we help our Spanish majors save both time and money, and to pursue their career goals more efficiently,” Sobhani said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”


Sobhani added that this program could also be a viable option for students wishing to add Spanish as a second major, thereby making them more marketable to employers once they graduate. “A Spanish degree can be a valuable credential in the job market.” Sobhani said. “Arkansas is estimated to have the second-fastest growing Latino population in the United States. Being bilingual is a skillset that will be highly valued by employers."


For more information on the fast-track degree completion program, contact Dr. Mary Sobhani at 479-788-7979 or at


About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

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Date Posted: 
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
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