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Friday, April 19, 2024 — Houston, TX

Undergrads petition for upper-level language classes

By Tina Nazerian     4/15/14 3:24pm

A group of students is raising concerns that 300-level courses for several languages will not be offered next fall. 

A group of students is raising concerns that 300-level courses for several languages will not be offered next fall. 

Brown College junior Sarah Frazier has written a letter, signed by 11 other students, to the Director of the Center for the Study of Languages Rafael Salaberry about Russian, Hebrew, Korean and Portuguese classes not being offered in the fall. 

“Earlier this month, I was surprised to find that there was no third-year Russian course listed in the fall 2014 course listings,” Frazier said in the letter. “Since third-year Russian has been offered at this university every fall for at least the past 10 years, I expected that this omission was simply due to a delay in updating the course schedule. However, I have been informed that there are no plans to offer third-year Russian this fall. ”

Frazier said she plans on going to the Student Association meeting on April 23 with Salaberry and Dean of Humanities Nicolas Shumway, where she also plans on discussing issues about the six-credit-hour first-year courses. 

According to Salaberry, the CLIC has an obligation to use its human and fiscal resources in the best manner possible. 

“When reviewing final enrollment numbers over the past ten years in each of the 301 language courses and the attrition rate from 202 to 301 courses, the probability of enrolling the minimum number of students in fall was too low in many of our languages,” Salaberry said. “Rather than have students upset because we need to cancel a class they already enrolled in, we felt it was more fair to not offer the courses in order to allow the students to register for courses that will fill their schedule.”

Salaberry said the CLIC is not required to offer all classes in each semester, and it has been in regular contact with the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Academic Advising regarding the changes. Additionally, Salaberry said the CLIC faculty has been informed of the ongoing discussion about the upcoming changes since January 2014 and should have been communicating with students. 

“With the significant majority of registrants for 301 courses coming directly from the 202 courses, the need to mass-inform is eliminated by the faculty communicating the program changes directly to the impacted students,” Salaberry said. 

According to Dean of Humanities Nicolas Shumway, upper level courses in less common languages are based on estimates for enrollment. 

“Predictions [for enrollment] depend on how these courses have fared in the past,” Shumway said. “What we are doing this coming year coheres entirely with previous practices.”  

Salaberry said the CLIC does not intend to cause any problems with graduation. 

“With that in mind, students cannot major or minor in CLIC programs,” Salaberry said. “If there are degree programs which require students to complete CLIC courses in a specific semester, then we need to be alerted to that requirement by those departments. We reviewed enrollments over 10 years and determined that the likelihood of canceling a 301 course due to enrollment numbers is less in spring than in fall.”

Wiess College junior Doha Aboul-Fotouh said she wished to know about the changes earlier. 

“I would have liked to know about this whole system change earlier,” Aboul-Fotouh said. “I doubt it started when we heard about it.”

McMurtry College junior Zac Sullivan said he was looking into graduating early, but since CLIC is not offering Russian 301 next semester, he will not be able to fulfill the requirement of five semesters of a language for the Asian Studies major. 

“The students weren’t aware of this until we looked on schedule planner to register for the fall,” Sullivan said. “The CLIC never told us this was their plan, nor have they made it very clear what their plan for our language is.”

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