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TU may require foreign language

24 April 2013 By Jonathan Munshaw, News Editor 9 Comments

When deciding on her major, junior Emily McCormick knew she wanted to be able to make herself marketable.

Though she decided on a business major, McCormick chose to add a Spanish minor so she could communicate with the Hispanic community.

In the future, some Towson students could be required to learn a foreign language.

University President Maravene Loeschke said during a speech Wednesday to the BWI Business Partnership that she would eventually like to see Towson require certain majors to become conversational in a foreign language, especially business majors.

“One of the issues we’re addressing now at Towson is the importance of a second and third language,” Loeschke said in her speech, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. “College students don’t really want to do that, and we’re going to make them do that because they are going to need it.”

McCormick said she fully supports students learning a new language.

“Knowing a foreign language in addition to having a business degree is advantageous when applying for jobs,” she said. “Not only will you have the necessary business skills employees are looking for, but you will also be able to communicate with a wider range of people.”

Loeschke said the curriculum change is many years away from being developed.

“When we look at what we want the school to be by 2020, I would say by then it might be required,” she said. “Requirement of all students is a very long discussion process on campus. It has financial implications. We’d also know the advantages that students have in certain majors when they have that second language.”

Loeschke said the idea to implement this at the University level came on the heels of the announcement by Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance that county schools will be implementing more of a foreign language curriculum in K-12 schools.

Dance’s office could not be reached for comment on the policy.

While Loeschke said it will take time to research what majors could most benefit from this requirement, some majors she is already considering are criminal justice and business.

“You’re dealing with people who are dealing with, for example, criminal justice,” Loeschke said. “We know in certain areas of the country Spanish is critical. In the business world, Japanese and Mandarin [are] becoming important.”

Loeschke said there is much more planning to be done before the initative is fully implemented.

“I feel incredibly strongly about this issue, but that doesn’t mean that the faculty and the academic side have decided on it,” she said.


9 Comments »

  • Eleanor Saulsbury said:

    Foreign Language is also needed in teacher education majors. While teaching in an ESOL elementary school, I felt very inadequate and embarrassed because I couldn’t communicate with the young students or their parents. I know it had to be very frustrating for them. I feel that the education degree is incomplete without a secondary language.

  • Poor Richard said:

    Great idea! The US is one of the few countries in the world whose general population is not at least bi-lingual. Learning another language should benefit everyone in multiple ways. Not only will you be able to connect to other nations and cultures but learning a second language has been show to be good for your brain and thinking process.

  • grad student said:

    It would be a good idea to require a language of every student, not just those in certain majors. We live in an every shrinking world, and fluency in two, preferably more languages ought to be de rigueur.

    Everywhere else in the world, speaking multiple languages is as standard a part of education, from primary school through university, as literature and mathematics. Even here in the US, being proficient with multiple languages was once a requirement for being award masters’ degrees and doctorates. When my grandfather received his Ph.D in the 1950s he spoke three languages, English, Czech and Russian – he would not have graduated without demonstrating he could converse in all three.

    It’s time to bring back foreign language requirements for all students. Towson University could lead the way.

  • Incredible said:

    Next thing you know students will be required to minor in LGBT studies too!

  • grad student said:

    What does LGBT studies have to do with anything? Are you saying foreign language studies shouldn’t be required of students?

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