Dear friends of foreign language study at the University of Maine,
We need you!
The Academic Program Prioritization Working Group (APPWG) has proposed that the University of Maine no longer offer majors in the traditional languages (French, Spanish, German and Latin). Please help us to get the word to President Kennedy and the University community that these language majors are valuable to the University of Maine and to our constituents around the state, the nation and the world.
In our global economy, elimination of language majors means exclusion of our students from participation in many jobs and activities requiring skills and understanding for the 21st Century. Their aspirations and possibilities for an exciting and productive life will be curtailed. Successful language study over the long course of undergraduate education is an indicator of the candidate's promise to graduate schools, future employers, and the government and military. Language study implies international interest, perseverance, self-discipline, intelligence, and motivation.
Without the training and immersion in language and culture provided by a language major, there is little chance that our graduates will be competitive in getting into graduate schools in the humanities and social sciences; they will be barred from participating in the foreign service or international businesses, and will be disadvantaged in areas requiring cultural understanding and diversity. In the past few years, the department has seen a rise in double majors (Engineering and German, History and French and Business and Spanish, for example).
Students who cannot afford private institutions will be unable to achieve fluency at the University of Maine. Activities to prepare language teachers capable of administering the World Languages portion of the Maine Learning Results will be curtailed.
Please share your support for the in-depth study of languages at your alma mater. Your stories about the value of languages to your education, to your experiences in the job market, and to the enrichment of your life are vital to maintaining the quality and value of education that you expect from the University of Maine. In addition to contacting University officials, please consider getting in touch with your local legislative representative if appropriate. Thank you.
While we understand the current state of Maine's economy is forcing cuts at the University of Maine Orono, it is the opinion of the undersigned that the value of language education to University of Maine students is too great for majors in the traditional languages to be cut.
Language education entails far more than teaching a student a language. Language education is a tool to be competitive in the job market, an opportunity to learn about and appreciate different cultures and embrace diversity, as well as a place to develop life long skills of perseverance, self-discipline, intelligence and motivation. The training and immersion in language and culture provided by a language major is required for many opportunities after a four year degree including graduate school, foreign service and international business. Without the benefit of of sustained language education at University of Maine at the advanced level offered by a major, University of Maine students will be deprived many opportunities and will not be competitive in the job market after graduation.
We the undersigned therefore urge President Robert Kennedy, Provost Susan Hunter, Dean Jeff Hecker, the APPWG Committee and all persons who have the ability to influence the proposed cuts to seek other methods of balancing the budget without cutting majors in the traditional languages and denying University Maine students the many opportunities and benefits of language eduction that they deserve.
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