MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia University has changed the recommendations for its foreign language program after an appeal hearing argued that face-to-face language courses should remain at the university.
WVU first recommended a full removal of the foreign language department, alongside dozens of other majors, as part of its academic transformation announced on Aug. 11.
After an appeal which was presented on Aug. 25, as well as several on-campus protests and an off-campus rally, WVU announced on Tuesday that it has changed its final recommendation. Under the new recommendation, WVU would still “eliminate foreign language majors and master’s degree programs but to continue to provide face-to-face instruction in two languages.” It also recommends keeping five positions for foreign language and moving them to a currently-undetermined department.
“The number of foreign language degrees awarded has been on the decline both nationally and in WVU’s main recruiting market over the past 12 years. Despite this trend, the final recommendation addresses many of the concerns brought forward in the past two weeks including the importance of offering language instruction at a land-grant institution,” said the release.
Courses in Spanish and Chinese will still be offered “based upon student demand and instructional capacity” under the recommendation, and students will be able to take them as electives or “potentially as minors,” according to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed.
The release said that the Provost’s Office is still pursuing eliminating the foreign language requirement for majors, including the Bachelor of Arts in the Eberly College.
Other departments that appealed, including those in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, saw no change as a result of their appeal.
The School of Public Health appealed the recommendation for a reduction in force by 14, and the university is now recommending a reduction of 11 positions instead.
Decisions on additional appeals will continue to be released until Sept. 5, and the Board of Governors will hear public comments until Sept. 14, the release said. The final vote on the program cuts will be on Sept. 15.