Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

María Jesús Iglesias-Barca

Assistant Professor

Pursuing my passion for languages and foreign cultures, I studied English Philology at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia (Northwestern Spain) from which I received a “Licenciatura” (five-year degree) in 1991. I then decided to move to Oxford, U.K. in order to experience the British language and culture first hand; I worked as a translator for i-Tech Translations and tutored Spanish for University of Oxford’s St. Anne’s College. My interest in the study of language and grammar led me to immerse myself in a Master degree in Theoretical Linguistics at Reading University from where I graduated in 1993. Fruit of my research at Reading University was my Master’s dissertation on Romance languages. I was invited to present my thesis at the University of Oxford’s 4th International Conference on Galician Studies in 1994. Washington, D.C. metropolitan area was my next international adventure, where I taught Spanish and served as the Liaison Officer for Howard School of Continuing Education in Silver Spring, MD. Two years later, I was offered a position as a Lecturer in Spanish at Penn State University, PA, where I worked until my family and I decided to move and settle in California in 2001. Since then, I have enjoyed a wide variety of teaching experiences both privately and at various institutions: Monterey Peninsula College, Santa Catalina High School, the Panetta Institute, the Monterey County Herald, the International School of Monterey, All Saint’s Episcopal School, Custom Language Services at MIIS, and finally, here, at the GSTILE department of MIIS since 2012.

I feel privileged to be a part of this rich and multicultural environment, to work with supportive and inspiring colleagues, and to teach students that are passionate about finding the best solutions to the world’s problems.

My most recent research has dealt with the integration of technology in the classroom; exploring ways to improve and maximize my students’ language proficiency through digital debates and digital diaries. Most recently, I offered a workshop in collaboration with my colleague, Prof. Oliva, about content-based instruction methodology and curriculum design at the 2015 CLTA conference in Sacramento.


Theoretical linguistics, English and Spanish grammar and composition, curriculum design, Integrating content and language in the L2 curriculum, Culture and Society in the Hispanic World.


MA, Theoretical Linguistics, Reading University, Reading, United Kingdom.

BA, English Philology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

SPLA 8216 - Latin America & Its People      

This course will facilitate interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational skills development in Spanish at the intermediate level. Students will work on projects and materials related to the past and present of Latin America, beyond geopolitical borders.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

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SPLA 8262 - Communication and Society      

This course provides a space for students to develop oral and written communication in Spanish at a high beginner level, with emphasis on oral production and interaction. Students will also deepen their knowledge of Hispanic societies and strengthen their intercultural competence through contact with Spanish speakers.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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SPLA 8310 - Hispanic Language & Culture I      

Covers Spanish grammatical structures and idioms, combining oral practice and a systematic study of vocabulary. Expression of ideas on discussion topics related to contemporary trends, current events and everyday life.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

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SPLA 8320 - Contemp Language & Culture II      

Continuation of Language and Culture I, review of structures, idiomatic expressions, and features of Hispanic cultures of several regions and countries. Written exercises, frequent oral reports, discussions of current issues from authentic sources.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

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SPLA 8373 - Env&SustDvlp-SpanishSpkngWorld      

Class discussions and activities emphasize active use of the language in different contexts including professional discussions, interviews, cultural exchanges, debates on current topics, etc. The course has two distinct goals: (1) to expand the vocabulary related to environmental issues, as well as the ability to read, analyze and discuss articles on said topic; and (2) to present an overview of environmental issues and questions in the Hispanic countries today. Students will engage in vocabulary-expanding exercises, review of advanced grammar rules as needed, individual and group presentations, writing and speaking assignments related to the most current environmental issues today.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

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SPLA 8471 - ClimateChange:Just/Sec/Solutn      

Climate Change: Security, Ethics & Justice, Solutions

This Monterey Model class studies 3 broad topics: 1) climate change and local/national/global security (weeks 1-5), 2) CC ethics and justice (weeks 6-10), 3) adaptation, mitigations and solutions for CC (weeks 11-15).

A Monterey Model class associates several languages sections (English, French, Spanish) and TI students from the TI Practicum. During regular weeks, language students study climate change (CC) through the same topics (security ethics, solutions) in their respective target languages, at the same time in separate classrooms with their own professors. During the plenaries (in Irvine auditorium), (selected) students from the 3 language sections present and discuss their topics in their respective target languages (English, French, Spanish), while TI students under faculty supervision provide simultaneous interpretation (for students’ presentations and QA period).

During the plenaries, (selected) language students also act as MCs : They introduce and manage student speakers, coordinate with speakers and TI chief interpreters, trouble-shoot, keep time, etc. Professor Gueldry will compile the schedule for the plenaries based on all classes input through their respective professors. But during the plenaries in Irvine, selected students MCs from the three language sections are responsible for all activities and general flow.

In terms of linguistic proficiency skills, EAPP students should be at the Advanced Mid-to High level (ACTFL proficiency), FRLA and SPAN students Advanced Mid- to preferably High level.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

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