Wednesday, February 21, 2007

More Languages at Middlebury?

Middlebury's language programs (more specifically their summer language schools) are recognized as being top-notch. We know. Languages at this school kick our butts into shape and we benefit from it.

But there is a renewed push by students as of late to expand on the success of languages here. Two freshmen (Janet Kang and Stephanie Astaphan) are creating a student organization ("Midd on the Globe," which is not yet an official org) that focuses on foreign languages not taught at Middlebury. An all-student email was sent out by Illhan Kim asking to sing a petition to add Korean as a Middlebury language. The petition currently has ~328 signatures.

While I think the student organization has promise, Illhan Kim's petition prompts the question: if we add languages, which languages should be prioritized? Which languages are in demand? For example, why should Korean be chosen over Swahili or Thai or etc.

The expansion of languages is not at the heart of the school's plan. Liebowitz is pushing sciences hard with BiHall being the selling point. Where is the future of languages at Middlebury?

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