Left speechless

June 20, 2013

As a University of Salford student I want to express my opposition to the closure of its modern languages courses and explain why I think the university is making a grave mistake.

Salford says the cuts will help it improve, but how can closing some of its best departments achieve this aim? The university is part of the European Translation Network, one of the few UK institutions to have the privilege, and its modern languages courses are well respected and produce high-quality linguists. Such a reputation isn’t built overnight – but it can be discarded that quickly, it seems.

Salford claims that it wants to focus on courses with high graduate-employability rates, even though its own website states that employers “are increasingly looking for graduates who not only have high-level oral and written communication skills in more than one language, but who also have the analytical skills to deal with complex information and carry out mediation tasks in an international multilingual environment”. How does it square this circle?

Salford also fails to mention the other options it considered. Several strategic plans were put forward but all were rejected. What were these proposals and why were they shunned? If applicant numbers are falling, the university should be looking to bolster its marketing and use the good name of its modern languages provision to arrest the decline. Even if the department is losing money, other universities make it work: why can’t Salford?

Paul Hambling
University of Salford

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Reader's comments (1)

I can't speak for languages recruitment but I understand numbers for linguistics recruitment were up this year - I am pretty sure it would not be hard to generate a bit more interest in language courses given everything you mention above and Salford's generally good reputation for translation and interpreting. Salford can do two things for smaller courses: just cut and penny pinch OR see the bigger picture and use these smaller yet excellent courses to build its brand and show the country how high standards are on its courses in general. This adds value in other ways than a fee income does. Teaching well costs nothing but a little time and a good dose of passion. These courses should be kept open and can be without spending ridiculous amounts of money. I hope the university changes its mind.

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