WEIRENS | Language Requirement: Too Much, Much Too Late?

I believe the ability to develop language skills at Cornell depends far more on the knowledge that students have brought to Cornell, and it is not enough to set them up for practical success in language studies.

SWASING | ASL at Cornell: It’s More Than a Language

Taking ASL has opened a whole new world of rich culture and community for me that I had previously never even known existed. I have been able to take part in several opportunities outside the classroom as well, enabling me to use my language skills in a real-world setting. These opportunities include attending several ASL lecture series events, enjoying a Deaf comedian’s stand-up routine and watching famous Deaf poets take the stage in various Cornell auditoriums. 

KENKARE | The College of Arts and Crafts

Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences boasts 40 majors, 59 minors and more than 41 foreign languages. It offers a dazzlingly vast array of subjects, a striking testament to the academic diversity that is representative of Cornell as a whole. I am extremely proud of my college; at very few other academic institutions could I sprint from an Italian discussion to an Oceanography lecture, only to backpedal to retrieve the planner I forgot in my government seminar. The College of Arts and Sciences’ academic breadth is its mark of distinction, its greatest strength. However, this breadth also represents the college’s greatest weakness.

EDITORIAL: Arts Faculty, Don’t Gut the Language Requirement

The Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee’s recommended changes to the College’s language requirements, in particular the halving of the credit requirement from 11 to 6, are misguided and should not be adopted by the arts college faculty today. Foreign language is and should remain an integral part of a liberal arts education, and the proposed changes will only do a disservice to students and departments throughout the college. The committee (on which no language professors sit) notes that students often find the current requirements burdensome; many students aim to take a single intermediate-level semester of a language they studied in high school, and some even transfer out of the College to avoid those courses. While this may be true, the response to such apathy should not be to lessen what is expected of undergraduates. If students have issues with foreign language classes at Cornell, those issues should be addressed, not swept under the rug by lowering the requirements altogether.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On proposed curriculum change to language requirement

To the editor:

We, the undersigned, as members of the Cornell community and as faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, are alarmed by the proposed changes to the language requirement for the College of Arts and Sciences suggested by the Curriculum Committee. These changes are wide-ranging and, in our opinion, dramatically antithetical to the mission of the College. For this reason, we believe that further discussion must be held that include the opinions of the many members of the faculty who oppose the proposed changes. We are unsettled not only by the changes themselves, but by the distinct lack of familiarity demonstrated in the document with the global mission of our classes. For as long as we have been teaching at Cornell, our classes reflect the dynamic interplay between language and culture.