before they just disappear
Danger Signs for College Foreign Language Programs

Part of C243: French No Exit: Call for Post-Secondary Advocacy, at the 2010 AATF Convention

College foreign language programs in no less than 39 institutions have recently (past 30 months) been  threatened or eliminated  in Nevada, Maine, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois, New York, Florida, Washington and South Carolina (a number of French programs in that group). While this is a non-exaustive incident-generated list, it represents some of the conditions and occurences which accompany the elimination or serious reduction of foreign language programs at the college or university levels:

Program and Colleague Dangers

    bad alumni reviews
    majors going nowhere (graduate school or jobs) or are untrackable
    failing immersion abroad strategy (nobody studying French abroad)
    failure to integrate la Francophonie into the curriculum
            (beyond courses devoted to literature & culture of French expression outside of France)
    faculty who limit their contact to the classroom and the office
    faculty who only want to teach certain courses
    completely out-of-touch curriculum (dominated by literary criticism and theory)
    no one ever hears anything about program, students or faculty in a public forum
    unsupportive colleagues, chair or dean
    colleagues not getting tenure
       no searches, positions vansh
    colleagues retiring
       no searches, positions vansh
    non-teaching course-release-time roles for faculty in small language programs
       2 teachers in your French program, and they want to give you 2 courses off to be a language coordinator

Unhealthy growth in administration and support staffing

    Are these titles of administraters where you work?
    Vice Chancellor for Document Design
    Associate Provost for Scholarship Athlete Tutorials
    Director of the Commercial Liaison Staff for the Aquatic Dance Department
    Lecturer in Etiquette Instruction for on-site assessment visits
    Consultant for Administrative social event planning
    Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Chancellor for Inter-committee Relations
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Satellite Campus Awareness of FRPA and ADA Concerns

A problem recognized for a long time:

    Barbara R. Bergmann. "Bloated Administrations, Blighted Campuses." Academe 77, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec.,        
    1991): 12-16.

as well is in the present:

    "Bloated University Administrations"
    NC Systemwide over the past five years, the administrative ranks have grown by 28%, from 1,269 administrative jobs to 1,623 last year,        
UNC-system data show. That's faster than the growth of faculty and other teaching positions -- 24% -- and faster than student enrollment at    
14%. The number of people with provost or chancellor in their titles alone has increased by 34% the past five years, from 312 in 2004 to 418 last year. The cost was $61.1 million, up $25 million  from five years before.

Administrative Bloat at American Universities: The Real Reason for High Costs in Higher Education

UC Berkeley "The university is burdened by its own leaders, who have allowed  administrative costs to rise at 2-3 times the rate of all other costs of operating UC"

"I disagree with Crain [SLU president]. Despite the budget predictions he hired three new asst vice presidents last year."

Some student protesters show their understanding with signs reading "Chop from the top."

Unless this problem is solved all small programs (Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, etc.) are in danger.

Budget Crisis

    Usually associated with the recession, but the inevitable product of a bloated administration.
    Formalities and transparency of "financial exigency" are no longer required for dismissal of tenured faculty.

After stimulus money runs out

    Don't be fooled
    "Stimulus Money Staved Off Deep Cuts in State Appropriations" Chronicle (1.18.10)

    nearly $40-billion provided by the federal government through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a portion of last  year's
    $787-billion stimulus package. By Jan. 2010, 39 states had planned mid-year reductions.

The Numbers Game (what is your numbers footprint?)

    total number of credit hours generated per class
    total number of credit hours generated per FTE
    number of students taught in your program each year
    number of students in the Fall (funding formula)
    number of students in seach class
    number of students in upper division classes
    number of majors (do they count second majors?)
    number of majors (do they count second majors?) per FTE
    number of majors graduating each year
    number of graduating majors who find work in their field or go to graduate school within a year

    Which are currently the important statistics for each stake holder?
    Compared to programs in the rest of the institution? to similar programs in peer or state institutions?

Change in discipline grouping (frequently indicating a collapse of foreign language support)

    Individual languages -> Related languages
    Related languages -> All foreign languages
    All foreign languages -> English & foreign languages
    English & foreign languages -> Humanities
    Humanities -> Liberal Arts, etc.
    or cutting course offerings
    cancellation by individual class size

Interdisciplinary partnership majors

    French and interntional business
    French and engineering project management
    French and geography
    French and agriculture
    French and arts mnagement
    French and international journalism
    French and scientific research project management

Gen-Ed core stripping

    connect to seamless transfer from community colleges
    connect to some objective like critical thinking
    accomodate reduced time for completion of 4-year degree

Decisions made without us

    During summer, when not many faculty are around
    Hastily called discontinuance committee
    State Higher Education Commission
    State Legislature

Lack of REAL core-subject status for foreign languages in K-12

core competition with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)

Off-the-wall claims about a particular language

    French is a dead language
    Nobody speaks French
    French is no longer international
    French is too difficult to learn


    DULAP (Drake University Language Acquisition Program)

        World Languages and Cultures Program

        Outsourcing Language Learning

       This is actually the old LCTL language acquisition center with some added benefits.

    Rosetta Stone / even though there are many public doubts about it's stand-alone value for groups

    TellMeMore / online courses now

    Middlebury online / K12 (summer high school for now)

    Middlebury Interactive Languages

    Athabasca University (Canada)
        Bachelor of Arts (3 year), Concentration in French
        Bachelor of Arts (4 year), Major in French
        University Certificate in French Language Proficiency
    University of Toronto
        Certificate in Continuing Studies in International Languages (many, inc. Fr.)
    University of Waterloo (Canada)
        3 year Bachelor of Arts, Major in French degree
    University of South Florida
       FRE 1120/1120L and French 1121/1121L online
    Barnard College Online Course Catalogue (French)

    French Language Correspondence Courses and Distance Learning

    College French Language Courses Online

    Learning in the 21st Century: 2010 Trends Update (Speakup - Project Tomorrow)

        The number of high school students who are taking online classes for school credit has almost doubled since a survey taken by Speak Up in 2008.

    Scott Jaschik, "Languages without language faculty," Inside Higher Ed (February 21, 2007): 4 pp.

    Televising courses from another campus (Penn State is doing this at Beaver... campus)

    MITOPENCOURSEWARE -  Foreign Languages and Literatures

Substitution of travel-study for real class work and immersion study abroad

When immersions study reduces number of upper division classes offered at home

In a small college program, a 4 or 5 week 6-hr. immersion program abroad reduces each participating major's  upper-division courses by 2. A semester abroad has an even more reductive effect.  This effect, like enrollment caps on lower-division classes to permit conversation practice is a fact of life.

Political Opposition to Foreign Languages of FL Study: a few examples

    Patriot Party

    Planks in the Platform - Unite the Nation

•  We will establish English as the official language of America because America was founded on English, because most people in America speak English, because the United Nations has adopted English as its official language, and because people from around the world are learning to speak English.
•  As such, we will eliminate foreign language requirements in publicly funded high schools, colleges, and universities.
•  We will terminate federal funding of all foreign language courses taught in public high schools, colleges, universities, and any other publicly funded institutions.
•  We will replace foreign language courses with courses that help students master English, mathematics, and science.

    Meatballs (Reform Party)

    Update: Local Opposition to Ban on Spanish Language Books in Prison