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Meet the Modern Languages Faculty!

WKU Department of Modern Languages is a place where faculty, staff and administration support the idea of education for all. We study the process of second language acquisition and explore the cultural history as we help students gain fluency in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.Our faculty members are some of the best in the region who believe in the potential of every single student they teach. We would like to introduce you to some of these wonderful professors and adjuncts who share a commitment to each student's success. Click on any name below to find a short bio about some of our favorite faculty members. We are committed to mentoring and assisting students to achieve excellence in the modern languages that we teach.

For faculty and staff office locations and phone numbers, click the faculty contact button below.

Faculty & Staff Contact Page


Click on each faculty member's name to view their profile.






Lhousseine Guerwane

Professor of Arabic

“My advice to students is: never worry about mistakes. If you never speak and make mistakes, you will not learn.”

Guerwane is innovative inside the classroom. His teaching philosophy is that language should focus first and foremost on communication, and he encourages students to speak Arabic, even with mistakes.


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Na Li

Professor of Chinese

I believe that teaching and learning are interconnected disciplines. A teacher is responsible for assisting students to develop the necessary skills on how to build on prior knowledge.”

Professor Li's teaching philosophy and approach towards teaching is student-centered teaching and spiral learning. She believes that learning should be collaborative between teachers and students. In her teaching, she emphasizes the importance of reviewing so that her students can fully understand each concept and build on everything they have learned. She focuses on instilling confidence in her students to help them succeed.






Ekaterina Mayakshina

Professor of Russian

“Russian is very important for students to know in the 21st century because of current events happening in the world.”

Professor Ekaterina strengthens students’ knowledge of Russian inside and outside of the classroom. Through her current program, she has taught many students and continues to inspire students to obtain proficiency and understanding of Russian language and culture.





Dr. Ke Peng

Professor of Chinese, Chinese Flagship Director

“My advice for students studying a language is, number one: be open minded. Number two: be bold, make mistakes.”

Dr. Peng sees herself as a guide to connect students with language and culture. Over the years, she feels that her teaching philosophy has evolved and believes that you must come to know the student first before imparting new knowledge.





Dr. Alex Poole

Chair, WKU Modern Languages

Students are very dynamic. Most are double-majoring, working, and doing interesting projects. I’m impressed and encouraged by the careers they pursue after graduation.”

Dr. Alex Poole was recently appointed as chair of the Department of Modern Languages in spring 2022. He is a strong advocate for language studies, and he has a passion for students, languages, and research. He is excited for this opportunity and for the future of the department.





Dr. Melissa Stewart

Professor of Spanish, Spanish Program Director

I hope my students can see my enthusiasm for the content.”

Each semester, Dr. Stewart finds opportunities for her students to use their new-found translation and interpretation skills to benefit the community. In the past, students have made informative brochures and pamphlets for a number of community organizations, including LifeSkills, Lost River Cave, and the Kentucky Museum.





Wei-Ting Tseng

Chinese Flagship Teaching Intern

“In this globalized society, we will have great opportunities to cooperate or compete with people from different countries, languages or cultures in the future.”

Wei-Ting Tseng is a graduate student at the National Chengchi University majoring in Teaching Chinese as a second language. Her research and teaching interests include Chinese language teaching, corpus linguistics, and pragmatics.





Yertty VanderMolen

Professor of Spanish

“Speak—connect yourself! If you want to watch something on Netflix or YouTube, do it in Spanish.”

VanderMolen’s classes take a communicative approach to learning Spanish where the focus is speaking, along with practice in the three other skills— reading, writing, and listening. VanderMolen uses various styles and resources to augment her students’ skills, including using role playing, interviews, authentic materials, total physical response (TPR), and dances in her classroom.





Sloan Wang

Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant in the Chinese Flagship Program

“Learning a language empowers you to build a new perspective on the world. When you learn a language, you are also getting to know the culture and people who are shaping the language. The whole experience will make you a global citizen with compassion and cultural awareness, and that opens many doors for you in surprising ways.”

Wang majored in journalism at Fu Jen Catholic University. During university, she began her career working as a contributing editor for international news. She has also worked in PR and communications positions, and she has extensive experience working in journalism.





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 Last Modified 3/10/22