Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Crisis for foreign languages on US campuses

Inside Higher Education has a column by ALSCW member and MLA President Russell Berman has a column  in response to what we must fear is becoming a popular notion among bureaucrats and budget whittlers: that of demoting foreign language instruction to the status of merely instrumental education, with the entailment, as at SUNY Albany, of dismantling the degree programs.

Berman's provocation was a keynote address by Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fixture of the foreign policy establishment, delivered to the 2010 convention of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Boston on November 19. In an email to ASLCW members, Susan Wolfson, immediate past president of the Association, writes: "[such] entailment is the dismantling of the professoriate, and using part-time, low-paid, benefit-impoverished, transient adjuncts to manage this merely instrumental instruction."

Wolfson urges us, as I urge you, to read the column, add a comment in support of foreign language education and scholarship, and to forward the link. Inside Higher Education is a highly visible venue for policy-makers and pundits, and a good opportunity for readers and writers from all areas to add their voices to this urgent public discussion.

So, please, read and respond | lirez et répondrez | читать и отвечать | leer y responder | lesen und beantwortenpročitati i odgovoriti | without delay.

[Cross-posted from The Wonder Reflex; many thanks to Susan Wolfson for sending out an alert about the Berman article.]