Maria Rippon was a double major in Spanish and English as an undergraduate and participated in a summer study program in Valencia, Spain. As a graduate student in Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she began to teach Spanish language and literature courses, as well as great books courses in English, and spent a summer traveling around the Iberian Peninsula. In her first post at Gannon University, she led a study away program to Granada, Spain with excursions to las Alpujarras and Salobreña. While at The Citadel, she co-directed the summer program to Madrid and Alicante with excursions to Segovia, El Escorial, el Valle de los Caídos, Salamanca, Toledo, Barcelona, Valencia, Córdoba and Granada. While teaching at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA, she began to incorporate service learning into her classes. At Furman she has taught a May Experience course entitled "Social Justice and Immigration" that has included tutoring immigrants preparing to take the civics test for naturalization. Currently, she teaches Medical Spanish during the May Experience, a class that she has also developed for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. During the traditional academic year, she teaches courses on the literature and civilization of Spain, various levels of language courses, and a First-Year Writing Seminar on Faith and Doubt in Literature.  Her current research is on ​the use of Spanish television series in the classroom and the narration of history in the novels of Mercedes Salisachs, a contemporary author from Barcelona, Spain.​​

Name Title Description


Faith and Doubt in Literature

What makes a book great? Do certain texts have a transformative power, and if so, wherein does it lie? After an initial discussion of the nature and purpose of art and literature, this seminar will focus on literary crisis of faith and how faith is created, shattered, lost, renewed, challenged, and strengthened in narratives from around the world and from the Golden Age of Spain to the present day. Students will engage in class discussions, write research papers, and maintain a reflective journal. All stages of the writing process will be examined in the context of the writing assignments.


Social Justice and Immigration

Exploration of the history of immigration policy in the United States with a focus on the impact of illegal immigration in Greenville County. Features speakers from the greater community in healthcare, education, social services and immigration law, as well as community-based service with immigrants in the Greenville area. Questions of social justice and the multiple approaches to the issue of both legal and illegal immigration will be analyzed through the reading and discussion of essays, documentaries and films, and news stories.


Elementary Spanish I

Introduction to the sound system and grammatical structure necessary to develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in Spanish. An appreciation of Spanish-speaking culture underlies the orientation of the course.


Intensive Elementary Spanish

Designed to prepare students with some background in Spanish for the first intermediate level course.


Intermediate Spanish I

Continuation of the development of proficiency in listening and speaking, while expanding the reading and writing skills.


Beginner Medical Spanish

Introduction to the specialized vocabulary of the healthcare professions for taking a medical history; conducting a physical exam; and discussing pharmaceuticals, nutrition, and various infirmities. Cultural topics will also be covered. Students will spend two weeks in the classroom, then spend the final week shadowing interpreters in a healthcare setting in the Greenville community. Daily instruction in Spanish. Invited speakers may use either Spanish or English or both. May Experience ONLY.


Intro to Spanish Readings

Builds upon the basic skills developed through the first intermediate course. By reading numerous short works of fiction and nonfiction and through discussions and short written assignments in Spanish, students enhance their critical listening, speaking, reading, writing skills while expanding vocabulary and cultural skills necessary for further study.


Spanish Civilization

Survey of the culture and civilization of Spain. Areas of study include history, geography, politics, the arts, daily life, traditions, and cultural values.


Spanish Language House

Media such as newspapers, magazines, film, and television help focus regular discussions on current topics of concern to Hispanic society. Student journals are presented in both oral and written form. Spanish is used for all discussions and written work.


Spanish Language House

Media such as newspapers, magazines, film, and television help focus regular discussions on current topics of concern to Hispanic society. Student journals are presented in both oral and written form. Spanish is used for all discussions and written work.


Intro to Literary Analysis

Introduction to the analysis of literary texts written in Spanish. Emphasis on techniques for analyzing the for major genres (narrative, drama, poetry, essay), as well as in-depth study of relevant representative texts. Includes a general introduction to the study of literature through the lens of literary periods or movements.


Medical Spanish

Designed for intermediate to advanced students to refine their spoken and written Spanish for work in a healthcare profession. Emphasis is on the accurate communication of different phases of the medical interview, from registration, to the personal and familiar medical histories, to descriptions of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Advanced grammar usage and syntax and linguistic variations will also be taught, and a precise phonological and intonational pattern of modern Spanish modeled.


Survey Spanish Literature II

Survey of the major movements, principal authors, and representative works in Spanish literature since 1700.


Spanish Lit of 20th Century

Survey of predominant literary movements, writers, and works (essay, short story, novel, drama, and poetry) of twentieth century. Spain from the period following the Generation of 1898 to the present.

I practice the communicative approach to teaching foreign languages and plan my classes and assessment tools based on the objectives of each course I teach. I do not believe that what I expect from my students or what they must learn in a class should be a secret, so I provide a detailed syllabus with a day-by-day plan for each class, outlines for each exam, and grading rubrics for all assessments. As learning a language is a skill, I like to provide a wide variety of activities to engage my students, and I test on high-frequency items. While some teacher-talk is necessary in the beginning levels, I try to give my students ample time to practice their speech with me and with one another. I love teaching and learning, and I think that my love for Spanish literature, language and civilization is something that I communicate to my students and that they can respect if not share. 


  • Judgment and Justification in the Nineteenth-Century Novel of Adultery, Greenwood Press (2002)


  • "The Spiritual Bildung in Carmen Laforet and Mercedes Salisachs," L'Erudit franco-espagnol (in press for June or December of 2014)
  • "From Devotion to Disillusionment: The Changing Face of Penelope from Homer to Buero to Miras," Neohelicon (2013)
  • "Ideas of Hope and Fatality in Allende's La casa de los espíritus," Postscript (1998)
  • "The Battle of the Bulge," an original short story, and 3 short poems, Lighted Corners (1991)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mount Saint Mary's College

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