As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures, Israel Sanz-Sánchez earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Valladolid (Universidad de Valladolid) which is located in North Central Spain, approximately two hours from Madrid.He studied English with concentrations in language and literature.
Sanz moved to the United States in 2002, continuing his education in San Diego at San Diego State University. He earned a Masters in Spanish linguistics and went on to earn his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.
He chose these areas of study because he always liked languages, learning different languages and their structure, and “looking at how people use language to communicate.” Sanz’s favorite experience in college was “being able to learn from some very brilliant people,” who encouraged him to become a professor and pursue a teaching career.
Sanz is on his third year at WCU and teaches a variety of language courses and upper division Spanish courses. He is the Director of the Linguistics Minor and teaches linguistics courses as well. In Calif. Sanz also taught while earning his graduate degree and Ph.D.
One of his favorite courses he has taught at WCU is “History of the Spanish Language.” He designed this course which had never been taught at WCU, and really enjoyed it because it was directly related to his research. Sanz is currently researching the history of Spanish in Latin America in areas that have not been studied a lot, especially during the colonial period.
His current academic goal is “to advance my research while at the same time finding new ways to make connections between my research and teaching,” Sanz said.
Some of Sanz’s recent, upcoming publications include “The genesis of Traditional New Mexican Spanish: The Emergence of a Unique Dialect in the Americas,” and “Dialect Contact as the Cause for Dialect Change – Evidence from a Phonemic Merger in Colonial New Mexican Spanish.”
His best academic achievement, including getting a job at WCU, is “developing as a scholar and a professor, all combined.” He finds himself growing in all these areas which he sees as a big academic accomplishment.
Sanz’s best non-academic achievement was being able to move to the U.S., start a life, and adapt to a new language, culture, and society.
When asked what he loves the most about WCU, he said there are challenges at times, but he “loves the fact that the student population is so diverse.” Sanz likes that WCU is a public university that brings a higher education to people who normally might not have access to a higher education.
Sanz’s advice to students is “do what you want and do what you like… give yourself the chance to explore different things because if you don’t you won’t be able to find that which makes you happy.” Once students find what makes them happy, he advises students to work really hard at it.
When Sanz is not working he likes to go to museums, exhibits, and concerts.
He also loves traveling and going to Spain to visit his family. He said, “I love seeing new things that open up my mind to learning about people, places and ideas.”
Sanz loves being in the classroom, but if he wasn’t a teacher he said he would probably be a weather forecaster on television. “It’s not that different from teaching,” he said, referring to the communication and informative aspect of the job.
Hannah Burner is a fourth-year student majoring in English, minoring in journalism. She can be reached at HB674784@wcupa.edu.