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MU Home » Academics » School of Arts and Humanities » Department of Modern Languages & Literature


Dr. Jennifer Williams
Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literature
Associate Professor of Spanish

Office: T-200-C
Phone: (910) 630-7058

Dr. Jennifer Williams was born and educated in Jamaica. A graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona, she holds a Ph.D. in Spanish, an M.Phil. in Spanish, a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Spanish and English, and a Diploma in Education in the teaching of foreign languages. She completed professional courses in the teaching of Spanish in Venezuela and Spain. Dr. Williams taught Spanish and English at high schools in Jamaica and Barbados and at universities in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Dr. Williams has also served in several administrative capacities, as Vice Principal, Head of Department, Department Chair, and coordinator of various projects and events. Her special interests include 20th century Peninsular and Latin American Literature, Caribbean Literature in English and Spanish, Foreign Language methodology and the teaching of Spanish language and culture, literary translation, and copy-editing. Dr. Williams' postgraduate research has centered on the literary representation of human suffering in Spanish and Latin American fiction and the themes of Existentialism, the human condition, and coming-of-age narrative.

Dr. Joan Bitterman
Professor of French and German

After graduating from Dominican University of San Rafael, California, with an interdisciplinary B.A. in French and English, Joan Bitterman lived in France and Germany, becoming equally interested in both national languages. Her doctoral dissertation (Ph.D. 1991 in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon) concerns aesthetics and narrative technique in the modern European novel.
Her primary educational goal is to prepare students to have a rewarding experience abroad; classroom activities focus on speaking, understanding and writing the foreign language, as well as understanding how cultural norms influence language use.

Office: T-228
Phone: (910) 630-7073

Dr. Linda Cristina Francescon
Professor of Modern Languages
Director, Center for Global Education
Coordinator of Spanish, Italian and Arabic

Dr. Cristina A. Francescon, studied at the University of Bologna and Indiana University, Bloomington for her undergraduate degrees in Spanish and Linguistics and her two Masters in literature and linguistics. She received her Ph.D. in Spanish and Italian from Middlebury College. Her special interest area includes but is not limited to the influences of Italian literature on the Renaissance literature of Spain, WWII history of Italy, and the Arab influence on Spain and Spanish literature. She speaks five languages fluently and has lived and worked in several countries besides Italy, Spain and the USA, including Morocco and Japan.

Office: T-111
Phone: (910) 630-7082

Dr. Felicia Malissen
Assistant Professor of Modern Languages
Coordinator, French

Dr. Felicia Malissen graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a B.A. in French and K-12 certification.

Dr. Malissen taught all levels of French at the high-school level before attending Appalachian State for her M.A. in French. She studied abroad in Angers, France and then continued her graduate work at the University of Alabama where she received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages with a concentration in 18th century French literature and Latin in 2003. Dr. Malissen returned to NC to work for a government contractor where she reviewed and developed a new French language program for Special Forces soldiers to be assigned to West African regions such as Senegal.

Her research and teaching interests include the Eighteenth-Century French Novel and Philosophical Movement, Medieval French Poetry and Prose, Methodology and Practicum in Teaching Second Languages; the Native vs. Non-Native Second Language Teacher.

Office: T-200-A
Phone: (910) 630-7650

Mrs. Jan Turner
Assistant Professor of ESL/TESL

Jan Turner has a master's degree in Linguistics from Ohio University and an undergraduate degree in Education from Abilene Christian University, Texas. Her college teaching experiences include Duke University, United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, University of Central Florida and Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, People's Republic of China. Additionally, she has taught ESL and English in the public schools in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

Office: T-113
Phone: (910) 630-7361

Adjunct Faculty

Instructor of Spanish

B.A. Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, Puerto Rico; M.A. Universidad de Puerto Rico; Ph.D., Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe.

Dr. Bigio's academic interests include the feminine contribution in Latin-American Literature and the mass media, with special emphasis in journalism; History of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean; Cultural Studies and identity reconstruction in Puerto Rican and Caribbean Literature; Post-colonial and Subaltern Studies; Mass Media History and Theories.

Instructor of Spanish

Prof. Bizzell is from New Bern, North Carolina. She received her B.A. in Spanish from Fayetteville State University and her M.A. in Spanish from Illinois State University. Her academic studies include Latin American Culture and African-American Literature. Prof. Bizzell's academic interests include the impact of racial double consciousness in Latin America. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and listening to music.