Scrolling Headlines:

Hot outside shooting leads UMass over Georgia -

December 16, 2017

Minutemen knock off Georgia for big statement win -

December 16, 2017

Cale Makar selected to play for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championships -

December 15, 2017

UMass men’s basketball looks to remain undefeated at home when Georgia comes to town -

December 15, 2017

Editorial: Our shift to a primarily digital world -

December 13, 2017

Makar, Ferraro off to Ontario to compete for Team Canada’s World Junior hockey team -

December 12, 2017

Lecture attempts to answer whether treatment of depression has resulted in over-prescription of SSRIs -

December 12, 2017

Palestinian students on campus react to President Trump’s recent declaration -

December 12, 2017

Smith College hosts social media panel addressing impact of social media on government policies -

December 12, 2017

GOP Tax Plan will trouble working grad students -

December 12, 2017

Mario Ferraro making his mark with UMass -

December 12, 2017

Minutewomen look to keep momentum going against UMass Lowell -

December 12, 2017

Ames: UMass hockey’s turnaround is real, and it’s happening now -

December 12, 2017

When your favorite comedian is accused of sexual assault -

December 12, 2017

A snapshot of my college experience -

December 12, 2017

Homelessness is an issue that’s close to home -

December 12, 2017

Allowing oil drilling in Alaska sets a dangerous precedent -

December 12, 2017

‘She’s Gotta Have It’ is a television triumph -

December 12, 2017

Some of my favorite everyday brands -

December 12, 2017

Berkeley professor researches high-poverty high school -

December 11, 2017

Changes proposed to foreign language requirements

(Jessica Picard / Daily Collegian)

Changes in academic requirements for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences may be in the works for next year’s incoming freshmen.

The Faculty Senate is currently working on a proposal to shift requirements for foreign languages from being a college-determined requirement to a departmental one. Such a shift would allow departments ranging from economics to anthropology to require different course loads for their students, and increase a University initiative to provide a globalized education.

“The primary goal of the proposal is to replace the existing college-level global education requirement,” MJ Peterson, Secretary of the Faculty Senate and professor of political science, said. “The idea is that each major will be in a better position to design a program that will draw the connections to the kinds of things that the majors …are interested in.”

According to Peterson, the majority of those involved in the process of shaping the proposal are in favor of redistributing the foreign language requirement to SBS departments. However, some students and faculty members have expressed concerns regarding both class enrollment and the potential for some students to graduate with a diminished education in a foreign language.

“There’s been some concern about one element of it, which is that studying a foreign language becomes optional,” Peterson said.

In a preliminary SBS report to the Faculty Senate, analysis found that the College of Humanities and Fine Arts might see a drop in enrollment and course hours taken as a result of this plan.

In the report, maximum impact analysis shows potential for a 50 percent reduction in student credit hours taken in foreign language. The drop in credit enrollment in HFA foreign language courses represents 15 percent of all student enrollment in HFA classes, meaning the College of Humanities and Fine Arts may see decreases in enrollment of up to 3,000 credit hours per year.

“I know there would be concerns from HFA,” SGA Secretary of University Policy Lucas Patenaude, said. “If this was a proposal that was going to decrease enrollment in language classes, then HFA would not like that, because they would be losing students in their school.”

According to Patenaude, there was discussion of potentially dropping the foreign language requirement for some majors altogether last spring. However, significant pushback against such a curriculum shift led to the proposal being floated this fall.

“I like a language requirement,” Patenaude said. “I don’t know how the best way to do it would be. I would not want to see a language requirement get dropped…how that is best articulated, I’m not sure.”

The potential change to the language requirement comes on the heels of another move by the Faculty Senate to the University’s diversity requirements, both impacting next year’s freshman class.

Last year, the Faculty Senate proposal reclassified the general education diversity requirements for undergraduates at UMass. The “U” and “G” requirements will change for the class of 2022 to “DU” and “DG” in an effort to emphasize updated diversity goals.

Both the diversity goals and the language requirement proposal reflect a University trend toward what some call “internationalization,” according to Patenaude.

“[Internationalization is] looking at how we’re preparing UMass students to be global citizens, global leaders and interacting in this global world,” Patenaude said. “That’s kind of been a theme pushing a lot of the curriculum – how we are preparing students for this.”

According to the preliminary SBS report, the proposal on foreign languages will “provide flexibility to strengthen B.A. major requirements.” Additionally, it stated, “This approach also models for students that international and intercultural studies are integral to their chosen fields, rather than an adjunct to them.”

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences includes students in the anthropology, communication, economics, journalism, legal studies, political science, social thought & political economy and sociology departments.

The Faculty Senate, which holds monthly meetings that are open to the public, will hear the proposal in full for the first time at a Committee of the Whole discussion on Thursday, October 12.

Will Soltero can be reached at wsoltero@umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @WillSoltero.

Leave A Comment