Prevent language death

July 31, 2014

In June 2013, the University of Salford announced that it would close its modern languages department. Following the local University and College Union branch’s resolution to support colleagues through industrial action, the university suspended this decision and established an independently chaired review.

The review’s report in February was positive, recommending retention of two-language programmes and appropriately designed joint degrees. In addition, it recommended that postgraduate courses in translating and interpreting should be retained in view of the quality and sustainability of this portfolio.

Senior management at the university then instituted a second internal review without an independent chair or representation from languages staff. Staff were told that the final decision was based on this second financial review, although the university has refused to make the review’s details public, citing reasons of commercial confidentiality.

The UCU believes that redundancies will follow, therefore we call upon the university to disclose the evidence and full reasons behind the decision. We remind Martin Hall, the vice-chancellor, that he gave assurances that the review took as its starting point the maintenance of modern languages at the university.

We believe that the potential closure contradicts the university’s strategy of “commitment to the value of global citizenship and internationalisation”.

Elizabeth Andersen
Head, School of Modern Languages
Newcastle University

Mona Baker
Professor of translational studies, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
University of Manchester

Henk de Berg
Department of Germanic studies
University of Sheffield

Anthony Bushell
Professor of modern languages
Bangor University

Sarah Colvin
Schröder professor of German
University of Cambridge

Mary Cosgrove
Professor of German studies
University of Warwick (from January 2015)

Peter Davies
Professor of modern German studies
University of Edinburgh

Wini Davies
Reader in German
University of Aberystwyth

Lucile Desblache
Reader, director of the Centre for Research in Translation and Transcultural Studies
University of Roehampton

Jorge Diaz-Cintas
Centre for Translation Studies
University College London

James Dickins
Professor of Arabic, deputy head of school, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
University of Leeds

Said Faiq
Professor of translation and intercultural studies
American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Federico Federici
Senior lecturer, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Durham University

Allyson Fiddler
Department of European languages and cultures
Lancaster University

Steve Giles
Emeritus professor of German studies and critical theory
University of Nottingham

Claire Griffiths
Head of modern languages
University of Chester

Terry Hale
School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures
University of Hull

Theo Hermans
Professor of Dutch and comparative literature
University College London

Amanda Hopkinson
Visiting professor, School of Arts and Social Sciences
City University London

David Johnston
Professor of Hispanic studies, School of Modern Languages
Queen’s University Belfast

Francis Jones
Reader in translation studies, head of translation and interpreting
Newcastle University

Susanne Kord
Professor of German
University College London

Duncan Large
Academic director of the British Centre for Literary Translation
University of East Anglia

Kirsten Malmkjaer
Head of the Research Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies
University of Leicester

Jeremy Munday
Professor of translation studies
University of Leeds

Bill Niven
Professor in contemporary German history
Nottingham Trent University

Stephen Parker
Simon chair for German studies
University of Manchester

Loredana Polezzi
Department of Italian
University of Warwick

Julian Preece
Professor of German
Swansea University

Anthony Pym
President of the European Society for Translation Studies

Ritchie Robertson
Professor of German
University of Oxford

Margaret Rogers
Emeritus professor
University of Surrey

Eve Rosenhaft
Professor of German historical studies
University of Liverpool

Myriam Salama-Carr
Professor of translation studies
University of Salford

Christina Schäffner
Head of translation studies, School of Languages and Social Sciences
Aston University

Ricarda Schmidt
Professor in German
University of Exeter

Abdullah Shunnaq
Director of Languages Center
Yarmouk University, Jordan

Graham Turner
Director of research, School of Management and Languages
Heriot-Watt University

Robert Vilain
Head of school, School of Modern Languages
University of Bristol

Janet Watson
Leadership chair for language at Leeds, School of Modern Languages and Cultures
University of Leeds

Dan Wilson
Professor of German
Royal Holloway, University of London

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