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University of Bath should celebrate its 50th with MORE language teaching, not less.

The University of Bath is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Since it was founded in 1966 it has had a commitment to teaching a wide range of foreign languages at every level from beginner to near native speaker. Language courses have been provided by the University’s Foreign Language Centre (FLC) for students and staff at the University, and for the wider public.

The University is now proposing to make cuts of up to 20% in  its FLC language learning, despite more than doubling in size and posting a surplus of over £16 million in its most recent accounts.

If you think this is no way to mark the University’s 50th anniversary, and that the University should be maintaining or expanding, not cutting its language teaching, please sign this petition which will be presented to Vice Chancellor Professor Glynis Breakwell at the end of June.

To the University of Bath: we want MORE foreign language teaching not less

"We - students, staff and members of the public living in the Bath area - condemn the proposals to reduce language courses at the Foreign Language Centre for students, staff and the local community by 20%. The cuts will mean that three of the 11 languages now taught will be withdrawn, along with 2 of the 6 levels of learning in all languages. This is likely to lead to redundancies.

"The University of Bath should not be marking its 50th birthday by abandoning its longstanding commitment to providing a full range of language teaching to its staff, students and the wider public. It has the resources to continue and expand its provision, and should use the occasion of its 50th birthday to renew its commitment to language learning."

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48 Comments

  1. Frank Courtney says:

    It is already very hard to find language courses at a variety of levels in the region: the University of Bath is the benchmark for standards, and is supposed also to serve the community. This proposal is a highly retrograde step.

  2. Mr S Millard says:

    I have very much enjoyed learning German over the past two years at the foreign language centre. All the course teachers have been professional and enthusiastic. It’s a shame that in a country with a poor record of foreign language learning that the courses offered by the university ( the only comprehensive ones in the area ) are being diminished.

  3. Dr Rob Hardy says:

    Please do not take this regressive action. Bath University Chinese teaching is outstanding and should be expanded. Learning Chinese is a life-long pursuit and certainly needs more than only the three years which will be available if level 4 is cut.

    Bath University has a global reputation for its language teaching. The proposed action will damage this reputation.

  4. Jacqui Hughes says:

    The world is facing more and more challenges. This is not the time to reduce language learning provision which helps promote and support people’s understanding of one another’s lives and experience. Please think again.

  5. Simon Wood says:

    It seems bizarre that a university apparently committed to internationalization would choose to cut language teaching in this way. It is also hard to see this as a measure likely to promote the UK’s international business competitiveness: speaking the language of your international business partners opens doors.

  6. Peter says:

    I was looking forward to stage 5 Chinese when I come back from my year long placement…

  7. Cat Prowse says:

    When choosing a university, I wanted to study a joint honours degree in Mathematics and German. This is not a course that is offered by Bath so I compromised by agreeing to attend additional language classes on top of my BSc Mathematics, taking 36 credits each year rather than 30 and dedicating a lot of time to do so. I achieved an A* grade in German at A Level, which shows my commitment to the subject. I intend to take German as a 6 credit module in my final year upon returning from my placement. I cannot do so if Level 6 German is scrapped and this will ruin my degree plans and future career prospects as I have always intended to work abroad. I am outraged that the university does not value languages in the global community and market in which we live. I have succeeded in securing my placement and other jobs through my language skills and it is unfair to take this opportunity away from anybody who is wiling to dedicate their time to learn a new language.

  8. Jack McKevitt says:

    To whom it may concern,

    I am at the end of my first year, and at the beginning I met my DOS in order to discuss a possible continuation of my German studies from A-Level. She was extremely encouraging, urging me to take this as a 6-credit unit. At the end of the year, not only do I find that she has been replaced by a regime under which there is no way to take a 6-credit language unit, but also that there is no way to progress from Level 4, even with 3 credits.

    Now the University has recently fallen to 52nd in the Guardian league tables for my subject, Economics. The reasons for this are for another time, but the saving grace is that we still lie 5th in the ‘career after 6 months’ category. It is surely possible that removing some of the excellent facilities Bath has for training students in a foreign language would do this rating significant harm and make the university less of a draw, not to mention the effect on students actually finding jobs. When I was looking at different universities, for example, I was drawn to Bath as a result of the possibility of studying a language not as an official part of my degree, but as an addition, and I believe that this played a role in choosing Bath over somewhere such as Warwick.

    The evidence for the benefits of a foreign language is wide-ranging (http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/speaking-a-foreign-language-is-crucial-for-uk-graduates-says-telefonica-digital, https://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/investment-banking-and-investment/418374-speaking-another-language-can-help-you-get-a-graduate-investment, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27948049, http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jul/19/optional-language-modules-degree) and so targeting the FLC for cuts would surely have an effect on both the students and the university. I, along with the other signatories of this petition, implore whoever is in charge to consider the costs of cutting the FLC so that no language can be learnt above Stage 4, or indeed as part of a degree. If the University is committed to improving its levels and quality of feedback which has recently hurt it in the rankings, please at least have the courtesy to use some of the time and money saved in order to dignify this comment and all others with a reply.

    Kind regards
    Jack McKevitt

  9. Gregory Sankaran says:

    Apart from anything else this is politically ill-timed. You are proposing cutting Polish and Greek, just before the EU referendum? How do you think that looks?

    It is rather in the nature of the scientific slant (I won’t say bias) of the university that we find it relatively difficult to engage with the local community, compared with other universities. Language teaching and the associated expertise is one way that we could do that. But for this to work we need a firm presence in a wide range of languages. This proposal may make short-term sense, perhaps (although I would need convincing) but it will have bad effects in the longer term.

  10. Nathalia Turincev says:

    Teaching languages is essential to any academic institutions. Not only does it help students to get better internships and jobs opportunities, but it also encourages tolerance and open-mindedness which are much needed in a world where nations need to learn how to co-exist. I have always loved and valued learning languages.
    I have been studying German 6 credits and Russian 3 credits this year at uni. The teachers were amazing and I have made a lot of progress. I even managed to convince some of my English flatmates to start learning a language.
    Finally, learning Russian is very important to me. My dad was a Russian refugee and unfortunately he passed away two years ago. Studying Russian is something that somehow keeps me close to him.

  11. Patrick Hutchinson says:

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Why? What is the reasoning behind this?

    I do not see any reasoning beyond a financial one.

    If it is financial, why would you do it if the university just posted a 16 mil surplus….? If it just to earn some more measly profit, i am sure there are alternative manners which do not have such massive costs on the students, and citizens of Bath.

    Languages need to be practiced on a daily basis. Daily basis. The language center serves as a platform permitting this.
    This removal of languages is absolutely unacceptable.

    Patrick

  12. Patrick Hutchinson says:

    The importance of languages is clearly undermined here. This was probably proposed by uni-lingual individual.

  13. Jane Bardo says:

    Please re-consider the decision to reduce foreign language learning at Bath University. These classes are supported by students who want to learn to speak more than just English. Our country suffers from linguistic xenophobia – please don’t stand in the way of those who want to work against it. I trust that this country will remain in the EU following the referendum on 23 June and that this will encourage an attitude of openness to other countries and their languages. Bath University must be part of this progress.
    I trust that this country will remain in the EU following the referendum on 23 June and that this will reinforce an attitude of openness to other countries and their languages. Bath University should be part of that.

  14. Indre says:

    Language classes (French and German in my case) have contributed immensely to my two years at university so far and I would like to continue learning languages with the help of the FLC in my final year. I know many people in the same situation and it would be a huge mistake to cut the university-wide language provision by the FLC and deprive current and future students of the possibility to learn or improve a language. The many language options and the chance to take languages for 6 credits was one of the key factors why I chose to come to the University of Bath and I think going forward with this decision to abolish some languages completely, withdraw the 6-credit language option and teach remaining languages only to stage for can have only a negative impact on the students’ experience here, and, hence, the reputation and ranking of the university. The knowledge of foreign languages is one of my personal values as well as something extremely valued by employers and the opportunity the University has provided students with via the FLC up until now has been one of its best features. It would be extremely saddening to see it go.

  15. Nicole Augustin says:

    It seems to be a false economy to cut down on the provision of foreign language teaching. The language teaching provides added value and gives students the opportunity to become better at languages which is very important regarding internationalisation and also for getting a job. Why is there so much money available regarding internationalisation and attracting students from other countries and not for teaching languages – THE basic ingredient for internationalisation?

  16. Lali Izaguirre says:

    Foreign Languages are a real important part at the University of Bath!
    I have taught Spanish at the FLC for 14 years.
    I know how good the teaching is,
    how happy the students are and,
    how much the whole University of Bath and the public benefit from it
    I really hope this petition reaches everyone who understands the importance of foreign languages in this multicultural ,multilingual world we are living in.

  17. Catriona Turnbull says:

    The FLC provides a fantastic service with excellent teaching staff, and is one of the very few places locally providing language teaching to a high level that is required for professional level and near-fluent speakers of French. To reduce the availability and accessibility of these classes would be a real loss to students and the general public. The learning of a foreign language encourages a lot more than linguistic advancement, and in today’s world, the teaching of foreign languages should be an utmost priority of the University of Bath as a revered educational institution, to promote international liaisons and learning.

  18. Asun Solano says:

    I have been working at the FLC for over twenty years and I feel very sad that our work is not recognised and it is a decision made based on making a profit, not on the noble cause of teaching.

  19. Julia Sherwen says:

    I was shocked to see the proposal. In the past I have been proud of my association with the University, as an alumnus, donor to the Alumni fund and external student of the FLC. Surely the FLC is something we should treasure and nurture, not jeopardise. I can imagine that there are things which could be improved in the FLC, as with any organisation, but please let’s ensure that morale of the wonderful lecturers (based on personal experience) is not impacted and that the excellent courses continue, especially, being selfish, for the broader community.

  20. Carleen Rifka says:

    I have always been proud of the fact that the University here in Bath has such a good record of Language Teaching. It would be a great shame if this reputation was lost, and a severe loss of much needed language learning.

  21. Margaret G says:

    I’ve been attending the FLC courses at Bath now for 3-4 years and am very disappointed to hear of plans to scale back the department as well as to shift class times. My main objection relates to the importance of the centre in terms of building bridges to the community as well as the excellent standard of provision which needs investment rather than cut-backs.

    I am an alumna of Bath where I completed my PhD in 2009 – I also live locally and have attended these classes (German and Advanced French conversation) as a member of the community. I therefore have a unique view of the importance of these classes for building links to the local community, for creating conversations between students (who regularly attend language classes) and local Bath people of all generations. The classes are immensely valuable from a community engagement point of view – something the university does so well on the sports side – but maybe less well elsewhere. I’d urge you to reconsider scaling back on this as this factor goes far beyond profitability.

    Secondly the centre is excellently run. The teaching is at a very high standard and there is real dedication from Isabella and the teachers. I currently attend the advanced french conversation class with Rachel Los and cannot recommend the standard highly enough. To cut back on the different levels and standards of language provision seems such a shame. My view is that the courses are not well advertised – I have told a number of people locally about them – and indeed brought people along. No-one was aware. I’d suggest then, if commercially the course does not seem viable, that you look to invest a little in marketing to bring up your class sizes and start to see a profit.

    The University is not an island – the FLC provide a very important bridge to the wider world of Bath and via the languages further afield. I hope you will consider my comments and give some thought into consolidating and perhaps investing in FLC rather than scaling it back

    with kind regards

  22. Joyce Allsopp says:

    In this day and age, learning a language should be of paramount importance – why is it always languages that bears the brunt? How can the Vice Chancellor justify her salary when removing opportunities for increased language-learning at Bath? This is so important…..

  23. Alex P says:

    One of the key reasons I chose the University of Bath was its reputation as an outward looking and international institution. In most ways Bath has lived up to this reputation and I’m very proud to study here. Reducing language provision however, seems like a disappointing step away from those outward looking principles.

  24. Robert Bailey says:

    For 12 years I have studied at the university. I took GCSE, A level and then a degree in Italian. I have used the library and studied alongside younger students (I am 75)
    Surely you will reconsider this ill advised proposal which brings together learners from all backgrounds and ages. It`s called life long learning.

  25. Maria Khalique says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed studying 6 credit arabic stage 1 this year, and am gutted to find out that the university is removing the opportunity to study arabic stage 2 at 6 credit level. The FLC do a brilliant job at breaking cultural barriers and preparing university students and the wider community to be an active member of a more globalised community.

  26. Ruben Ortiz says:

    I have really enjoyed studying French over the last two semesters in my final year of university. The teaching was of an exceptional standard. I think a truly international university like Bath needs to have a Language Centre offering a range of different languages and levels. It would definitely be a step in the wrong direction to have languages and jobs lost.

  27. Philippa Sondheimer says:

    I am a resident of Bath and have at various times benefitted from evening classes in French, Russian, Spanish and German given by the University. I am hoping to re-enroll in Deutsch ohne Grenzen in the Autumn. No-one has consulted me about the value I place on these classes, or the price I am prepared to pay for them, and I shall be very disappointed if they are all suddenly restructured, or disappear.

    Bath is a small place and the University students and staff are quite a noticeable proportion of the population. I think it is important that the University reaches out to the local general public and does not exist in isolation, up there on its windswept hill. Language classes for external students are a good way of achieving this and should not be lightly tossed aside.

  28. Julian Sondheimer says:

    The classes provided by the University of Bath have been a godsend for people in my position – I worked hard to learn German through the Open University and since finishing have been able to keep up and progress my German through the Bath University classes.

  29. Mariam Bhaila says:

    I am shocked and deeply saddened by this step taken by Bath university. One of the reasons why I chose to study at Bath university was because of the range of 6 credit languages they offer! I studied 6 credit Arabic language in my first year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The university has an amazing faculty for the Arabic department. Mr. Khalil has made Arabic so much easier and fun to learn. However, now I won’t be able to continue Arabic language 6 credit in my second year. Although, there is a 3 credit option available I feel like there is a vast difference between 3 and 6 credits. If I knew that I would not be able to carry on studying the Arabic language in my second year I would not have chosen it. This is not fair at all!

  30. Joanna says:

    I have been learning Arabic as a 6 credit option this academic year. My teacher Khalil was excellent, the classes gave me an opportunity to meet people from other subjects and years (something it can be difficult to do) and it helped me to secure an internship in Jordan this summer. I was extremely disappointed to learn Arabic is not being offered for a 6 credit option next year, as the students who only did 3 credits definitely did not learn as much as we did, and I had hoped to learn as much Arabic as possible during my time at university to increase my job prospects and ability to work/travel in the Middle East.

    I was attracted to Bath as it appeared to be a very forward-thinking university with a strong sense of community and which did well in producing graduates who were able to find employment. Cutting foreign language provision would harm all of these things. I really hope the university takes note of how important foreign languages are to students and the wider public and decides to reverse this decision.

  31. Lis Wallace says:

    I am appalled by the proposals that the university are making. The university is spreading out all over the city of Bath and yet they are unprepared to give anything back to the community if it doesn’t make enough profit?!

    They are stressing the importance of internationalisation on one hand and then de-valuing the importance of language and cultural awareness by cutting the number of languages taught, taking away skilled teachers and reducing levels of attainment on the other! They should be proud of the achievements and capabilities of the FLC and building on their success not slashing it. This is a really short-sighted and shameful move. Who’s going to be next I wonder?

  32. Peter Boon says:

    I am a language teacher with 12 years experience and a language learner at Bath Uni. Experience has shown me that without access to tuition and/or practice people can rarely learn other languages. Bath serves a large catchment area for many language learners, I commute from Dorset to attend Italian and Chinese. By cutting levels and languages the University is cutting off opportunities for people across the South West. In the current job market people need access to skills that make them more competitive, by cutting access to education and opportunity the University is not fufilling it’s remit. I hope they reconsider.

  33. Bridget Poulsom says:

    I am very sorry to hear of this decision, which I hope will be reversed given the strength of feeling expressed in these comments. I was looking forward to joining the advanced French group and feel very disappointed that it may now be withdrawn, please do reconsider this decision.

  34. Regina Buechner says:

    My daughter was very jealous when she started studying for her biomedical degree at Oxford last September and found out that she wouldn’t be able to continue her French beyond a-level as they don’t have any language provision there, contrary to Bath where she hails from. Well, she doesn’t need to be jealous anymore now! In reality, we should be encouraging more languages not less. Good communication is key to a happier world.

  35. colin clark says:

    I am shocked that a university which has been so successful in recent years in raising its standing globally, nationally and locally should consider reducing its commitment to language teaching.

    It is widely recognised that a weak commitment to languages damages this country. Lack of competence in other languages fosters a parochial view and ignorance of other cultures. It is part of the great tradition of UK universities to broaden horizons.
    Shame on you. Your success in attracting British and overseas students should continue hand in hand with a commitment to your city – such a valuable asset in promoting the university – and its residents.
    The university should continue to be a good neighbour in every way, especially in providing Bath’s residents with access to the teaching skills which are so valued by many and only available form the university. This openness should be seen as a core responsibility, willingly recognised. Just as the university expects the local community to accept the pressures that arise from its steady growth.
    Finally I must record my great appreciation of the excellence of the language teaching staff. They make learning a pleasure and are also invaluable ambassadors in the community for the values and standards of academic excellence with which the university rightly and wisely wishes to be associated in its host community.
    It would be foolish indeed to weaken language teaching. Wiser to cherish and promote it.

  36. Alexandra Cox says:

    Perhaps you should add “… and alumni” to that? I’m one and I’ve signed!

  37. Charles Brown says:

    I have been studying Italian with the University community courses for the last 5 consecutive years and it has been stimulating and rewarding to experience the language in such a friendly and well-motivated group and to benefit from the expertise of a superb teacher. However, although final decisions have not yet been made, I hear that cost-cuttings are ‘on the cards’ for the FLC despite the fact that there is a surplus of over £16 m in the coffers. Why has this proposal been put forward? It is a retrograde step to eliminate some of the existing courses and to place a learning cap on others –has it really been suggested that advanced classes will no longer go beyond level 4 and where does that leave people like me already doing level 5 and looking forward to making much further progress? Please think again . . . there is nowhere else around where I can continue Italian to a higher level and I believe the University has a responsibility to provide such learning opportunities for their students and the wider community.

  38. Michael Loughridge says:

    i used to be proud to be British. Now I am humiliated that one UK language department after another is closing because the one-time supply of eager young linguists has been choked off for years by the inability of the school system to cope with language teaching (Europeans seem to manage that AND maths and science!) and by the business fixation of politicians of both major parties. Back we go to the nation of grocers! Please don’t make Bath’s distinguished language school one more victim on the way there…

  39. Karen Harrowing says:

    As an alumna of the University of Bath, and a previous employee, I was extremely upset to hear that there are plans to reduce access to languages at Bath, and particularly as a current student of the community courses. Given that it was at the University of Bath that I was first exposed to the concept of lifelong learning, it is so disappointing that the University is taking a such a short term view at this time. Taken together with the fact that my career has taken a pathway into quality systems, it is truly disappointing that the opportunities for continuous improvement and personal fulfilment are being sacrificed on the basis of a notional calculation of ROCE. One has to ask is the University using a balanced scorecard of metrics to measure quality? The role of a learning organisation is not to be an academic sausage factory, but to be a place on enlightenment in which people can grow and learn.

    I note that the Charter of the University states that the Court shall be the formal body representing the interests of the Universities constituencies and shall have the power to make representations to the Council on any matters affecting the University. I call through this feedback that there is an open an honest approach to the consultation process, that is both within the letter and sprit of the Charter, namely within a cycle that means the various structures in the University can hear clear representations on both sides.

    As a resident of Bath I have been forgiving of the increased traffic, including endless bus chains on Bathwick Hill and I have accepted the increased numbers of undergraduates in the city who added to the litter problems and have some fairly unsociable behaviours (especially during freshers week). However, I find it unforgivable that as a hard working, tax paying resident of Bath I am likely to be deprived of an opportunity to learn French in a style that I find rewarding and satisfying.

    All this at a time when we embrace our links with Europe and welcome the Bath Boules Festival, which raises funds for Bath charities …. free to everyone to attend. Cultural integration to aspire to.

    Karen

  40. Lily Morris says:

    I’ll start in 2011, when I was applying to universities: I wanted to come to Bath over anywhere else due to language offer. It’s Bath’s unique selling point, in my opinion – none of the other universities I looked at offered the ability to do a language alongside my degree from the first year, with some actively discouraging extracurricular language study. That is: I came to Bath almost entirely because of the FLC offering. I have always believed that languages open doors and so I was keen not to stop language learning when I left school. Arriving at Bath in 2012, I chose to pick up German, which I had taken at GCSE, and went into stage 3, taking a 3-credit unit in the first year. I found it difficult to balance language deadlines with reading for my ‘main units’ and therefore chose to take 6-credit German in second year. Being able to learn a language for course credit has been incredible: the wider reading I do for my language feeds into my Politics courses, and vice versa. Another benefit of the 6-credit courses is that the workload is spread throughout the semester far more equally than it tends to be in ‘main units’, through continuous assessment and weekly homeworks. The smaller classes also offer a far more personal learning experience than large lectures: it’s very easy otherwise to spend a week studying and not really talk to people, because reading and writing are by their nature fairly solitary pursuits.

    Because I’d done those German courses, I was able to study abroad in Germany for my third year: that year of learning was absolutely incredible and is one of the best things I’ve done as a Bath student. I was able to broaden my academic horizons and gain the confidence necessary to success in the final year, after suffering from a nervous breakdown in the second year. It’s not an overstatement to say that, without that year out (which I was only able to do because of FLC courses), I probably wouldn’t have felt able to complete the degree. In my final year I have taken Stage 6 German for 6 credits, which involves translating into German in exam conditions: this is an intellectual challenge which uses my brain in a way unlike anything else I do at university and which I have really relished. It has meant that I am able to leave university with functional fluency in a foreign language, massively opening up my future opportunities.

    There’s also the ‘value for money’ aspect: in a course taught largely through large lectures and self-directed reading, it can be very easy for PoLIS students to feel like we get a raw deal compared to friends in other departments. Taking FLC courses mitigates this.

    Even if the changes to the FLC are necessary, this September is far too soon to introduce them. Many prospective students have applied to study at Bath based on the availability of FLC courses, and many current students chose to come here due to the courses. To apply the cuts from this September would pull the rug from under those students’ feet.

  41. Sophie Demellweek says:

    To whom it may concern,

    I have just finished my first year at Bath studying Natural Sciences and taking six credit German as part of my course. I am quite frankly shocked and appalled by the proposed restructuring of the FLC and the obvious and catastrophic effects it will have on students of the University, staff of the University and the wider community. I am writing to the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation regarding this issue but I summarise my main points below:

    – Students currently at the University were promised provision by the Foreign Languages Centre to study six credit languages before they came to Bath and some (including myself) chose UoB for this reason – to take this provision away now would be an alarming breach of trust for a University that prides itself on student satisfaction.

    – Moving on from this – news travels fast. With many of us sharing this petition on social media to be read by hundreds of bright Sixth Form students picking Universities to apply to, the news speaks volumes about the University’s values. Not only will students be put off by a weaker language provision, they will also think twice given the deception I have previously mentioned – no one wants to risk picking a University only for key factors to be taken from them upon arrival.

    – Lastly, language learning is so key to understanding other cultures and breaking down international barriers to communication and understanding. Language skills make students well rounded and employable. Following the proposed changes, it’s only a matter of time before student satisfaction figures and indeed employment statistics take a hit. Surely not a wise choice from Senior Management’s point of view?

    I hope the University seriously considers the wide ranging effects these changes will have – including – directly or indirectly – on the reputation of the institution and therefore admissions and that Senior Management do the right thing in reinstating all previous six credit options for students along with language provision for the community.

    Regards,
    Sophie Demellweek

  42. Sarah Kelly says:

    A critical factor in my university choice was the opportunity to carry on with my study of Spanish, a language that I love learning and was incredibly keen to continue at university. When applying for Bath it was made clear to me the ease with which I could continue learning Spanish as it would be an optional module available to me from stage 4 through to stage 6. Now, after selecting Spanish stage 5 as my optional module for next year, only 3 months before the start of next year, I am outraged to find out that this will no longer be an option for me. Not only should this change have been made aware to me and many others long ago, but also these cuts are depriving students of the opportunity to develop their language abilities which, currently, are highly sought after and desired abilities in the world of work. I and over 2000 others have signed the petition against these changes and I hope and expect to receive a response of some kind from the university either reverting these changes or explaining why they are necessary.

  43. Clarice do Amaral Corfield says:

    I have been attending German classes ( Deutsch ohne Grenzen) at Bath University for over 10 years. This course is unique.It is not only of a very high academic standard but Dr. M. von Papen is an inspirational lecturer. She prepares fantastic sessions which very cleverly generates most interesting discussions on the most varied themes interspersed with the teaching of German. I doubt very much that we could find such a fantastic course anywhere in the UK. I cannot believe Bath University is considering stopping it!!!!!

  44. Anthony Corfield says:

    Deutsch Ohne Grenzen should not be axed. It is exactly as the group is named; German without limits. This reflects the varied structure and participation of the group and its members. All of the group have “top rate” spoken German and this allows range of activities using the language. Active discussion of current topics in the news, or issues that are part of German or British life is a fundamental facet of the meeting each week. Detailed consideration of the language in terms grammar, use of phrases and structure of written text are all part of the course and are discussed through articles taken from regular, established and high quality journals and newspapers such as “Der Spiegel” or from literature together with media presentations in television and online sources. Our “moderator”, Dr Manuela von Papen, ensures that everyone contributes, although this is usually a formality and all members have their own input during each meeting. It is also relevant that there is a wide age range and a variety of “needs” to speak and read German. Whether it is at the student/study level, or at the senior, employment – interactive requirement, the spectrum of ages and interests makes a significant contribution to the range of discussion that flows. There is no doubt that the benefits to each participant are very real and ongoing. Week on week there are always new and often unexpected outcomes. Dr Manuela von Papen, our moderator, plays a major, expert role in ensuring that everyone has something “to take home”. A sense of humour also plays a real part in each and every session. This is shared by all of us and works in both directions – British-German and vice versa, not always and easy task, but a very positive reflection on the success of Deutsch Ohne Grenzen. The loss of this facility will be huge loss and disadvantage to the participants and our moderator. It is inconceivable that the University of Bath can afford to ignore such a valuable asset.

  45. Heloise Lepoutre says:

    And Bath University is supposedly an international University ?

    I have been learning Chinese Mandarin for 2 years now and I was taking it as 6 credit units. I am told I can no longer carry on learning in my final year? This is very dissapointing. Surely cuts can be made elsewhere. Sacrifying languages is not the way to go

    If only I had known this would happen i would of considered attending another university. One thing i am certain of is that I will not encourage any students to attend Bath University. As it will no longer provide the international experience.

  46. Patricia Harbord says:

    The University is clearly letting down a number of its current and future students, as well as the wider local community. Anyone considering studying any subject here should evidently think very carefully about it, as before they have finished their course they may discover that the University has arbitrarily withdrawn teaching of an important element of it. Meanwhile Bath residents can see from this decision how little of its substantial financial surplus the University is prepared to commit to providing opportunities for members of the local community to enrich their lives through education.

    Bath University gives every appearance of regretting the referendum decision to leave the EU, as the home page on its website has a prominent photo with a link to a statement by Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK, who said: ‘Leaving the EU will create significant challenges for universities. . . . Throughout the transition period [for leaving the EU] our focus will be on securing support that allows our universities to continue to be global in their outlook, internationally networked and an attractive destination for talented people from across Europe. These features are central to ensuring that British universities continue to be the best in the world. We will [. . .] prioritise securing opportunities for our researchers and students to access vital pan-European programmes and build new global networks.’

    If Bath University subscribes to these goals, how do they imagine they are possible if Universities such as itself do not provide language teaching above Stage 4? Perhaps they really subscribe to the view that all foreign academics ought to speak English anyway, so it’s not worth anyone’s while to make an effort to understand and be understood better by anyone from a different culture through learning their language? Perhaps the University is of the view that if Johnny Foreigner can’t understand what you’re saying, the solution is just to SPEAK A BIT LOUDER?

    Can I suggest some amendments to the University website which will help to avoid accusations of institutional hypocrisy:

    1. Stated values and ‘prized attributes’

    a) Where the website states:

    Our values are evidenced in our commitment to:
    * quality and excellence
    * encouraging high aspirations

    amend to ‘quality and excellence (except in the area of language teaching)’ and ‘encouraging high aspirations (except in the area of language teaching)’.

    b) Where the website states:

    ‘Prized attributes
    The attributes that our community prizes are:

    . . . . The determination to excel: . . . [we are] united in our drive to achieve greater international prominence and higher standards. . . . .

    An international perspective:. . . placing research and teaching in an international context and forming strategic alliances with leading international partners.’

    To both of these clauses should be added: ‘but we are not prepared to invest much in promoting the learning of foreign languages above a fairly rudimentary level.’

    2. The page headed:

    ‘Courses for the General Public’

    The large sub-heading at the top of the page:

    ‘You can rely on our language courses!’

    will clearly have to be deleted unless it is intended to elicit hollow laughter.

    On the same page, the sentence:

    ‘There are many opportunities for members of the local community to get involved with events, activities and courses on campus. ‘

    should be amended to ‘The University is committed to reducing opportunities for members of the local community to get involved with events, activities and courses on campus, and is currently focusing on reducing the range of foreign language courses previously offered.’

  47. Maria Assunta Lombardo says:

    The courses ran by FLC have always been very popular and have given the invaluable opportunity to learn and master a foreign language to many students of all ages. As a leading Institution boasting a remarkable international reputation, the University of Bath should support and enhance foreign languages learning to offer its students the change to have better career opportunities in future and to explore new cultures.
    I taught Italian at Bath University for 11 years and I remember that the courses organised by FLC were highly valued by undergraduate, postgraduate and community courses students.

  48. Richard Tomlinson says:

    Having studied German at the University of Bath for two years, with the hope of continuing, I find the proposed reductions very disappointing. The provision of language study promotes personal development along with widening cultural harmony and understanding. Maintaining these courses as they are, the university adds to their quality as an educational provider, encourages and stimulates their students further and extends opportunity to the local and wider community. Please reconsider.

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