Foreign languages proposal presented

On Feb 7, members of the Guilford faculty met to discuss a proposal made by the foreign language department. The proposal recommended that a second semester (102) language requirement be added to the core curriculum.The proposal argues that the current one-semester foreign language requirement is not enough to help students build a proper foundation. The proposal also mentions that the college’s weak requirement diminishes the school’s credibility.

“A first semester (101) requirement such as ours exists virtually nowhere outside of Guilford and is viewed with bewilderment by those in our field,” reads the proposal. “It is becoming an embarrassing stumbling block to attracting and keeping the best and brightest professors . Parents of incoming students are also often appalled by the weakness of the requirement.”

Guilford currently monitors the academic requirements of 24 peer schools such as Furman University and Eckerd College. Of all the schools, Guilford is the only institution with only a single-semester foreign language requirement. The rest have at least two.

Dave Limburg, associate professor of German, proclaimed at the forum that the current language requirement is not sufficient.

“We want a foundational requirement that is truly a foundation, instead of what we have now which is really a half foundation,” said Limburg. “A beginning language and culture proficiency is a full-year . a lot of textbooks don’t get to the past tense or future tense in the first semester.”

Some who attended the forum agreed that the language requirement was not enough; however, some were concerned about the consequences of an additional requirement. Lynn Moseley, Dana Professor of Biology, had mixed feelings about the proposal.

“Its going to be really tricky to permit students who don’t have the flexibility to do a lot of double-counting to double-major in a lot of sciences with additional requirements,” said Moseley. “I’m really torn between thinking we absolutely need this 102 requirement and thinking there are real consequences.”

Students have also taken positions on the proposal. Sophomore Jasmine Ashton is against the additional requirement.

“As someone who has trouble learning other languages, it would be a problem for me to have to take 102,” said Ashton. “It would be a waste of my time. I don’t feel that languages are absorbed very well in a classroom setting. I think that it’s better to learn in a different country.”

Junior Noah Collin, on the other hand,supports the addition of another language requirement.

“A lot of people are bilingual and with Guilford’s emphasis on diversity it would be really important to have an additional requirement,” said Collin. “To be more accepting you have to overcome communication barriers.