Dr. Reginald Bess recently arrived as the new chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages with the goal of creating a German program and ensure student success after graduation.
“My goals are the same as President Tisdale’s – to make certain each student graduates and is placed in a successful career or pursues graduate school,” Bess said. “It is enthralling to lead this Department and add positively to the visionary academic culture present at Claflin University.”
Prior to Claflin, Bess was the chair of the Division of General Studies at Morris College. He was also previously a professor and coordinator of minority affairs at Louisiana Scholar’s College and associate chairman of the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics at Grambling State University.
Bess has a Ph.D. in medieval German studies from The Ohio State University and a Masters of Arts degree from West Virginia State University. In addition, he holds masters degrees in liberal studies from Grambling State University and romance languages from Louisiana Tech University.
He points out that no Historically Black College or University has a German program, which is a primary goal of his chairmanship. Bess also wants to increase participation among his students in the study abroad program to enhance their language learning skills. In addition, he has designs on establishing French and Spanish clubs and two honor societies recognizing academic excellence.
Currently, the Department of English and Foreign Languages offers English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.
“We want to increase our outreach and recruitment efforts,” he noted.
Bess helped to pioneer a new field within German scholarship called Afro-German studies.