From the Chronicle of Higher Ed: Foreign-Language Enrollments Drop After Years of Increases

By Maddy Berner

Enrollments in foreign-language courses at American colleges have declined after nearly 20 years of growth, falling 6.7 percent from the fall of 2009 to the fall of 2013, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Modern Language Association.

Rosemary G. Feal, the association’s executive director, speculated that several factors could have played a role in the decline, including rising student interest in career-oriented subjects such as business in the wake of the recession. Those studies leave less time for language classes, Ms. Feal said.

The MLA’s report was based on a survey of 2,435 American colleges and universities that offer programs in languages other than English. The report compares foreign-language enrollment data from two- and four-year institutions, as well as graduate programs, from 2009 to 2013.

Enrollments in language courses at two-year, four-year, and graduate programs all dropped over that four-year period. Graduate enrollments suffered their second such decline, falling further after a drop between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2009. All but five of the commonly taught languages at this level experienced double-digit losses.

Across all institution levels, Spanish and French continued to be the two most-studied foreign languages, with Spanish posting higher enrollment numbers than all other languages combined. However, the new data are significant because they reflect the first decline in Spanish enrollments at every institutional level in the history of the survey, with the numbers falling 8 percent over four years.

Ms. Feal attributed the decline to the rising number of other languages being offered in both high school and college, and she added that colleges are doing a better job of promoting other languages. The new survey covered 34 languages that were not included in the previous one.

Read more here 

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Program helps female scholars make global impact

The JFEW/SUNY International Relations and Global Affairs Program is looking to diversify leadership across the world by developing strong and knowledgeable women. Female students don’t have to be the traditional international-relations student to apply to the program − they just need desire and passion to make an impact.

“When you look around the world today you can see, yes, there are women heads of state, women in business leadership roles, but how’s that breaking down diversification-wise?” said Erin Jennings, senior assistant director of student experience at the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. Jennings is also the former campus liaison for the program.

“They’re the groundbreakers and we would like to build upon that success by inspiring young women today to pursue those kind of careers, to think of themselves as global leaders in all sectors,” Jennings said.

The program, sponsored by the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women (JFEW), runs for two years, starting in the beginning of the student’s sophomore or junior year. JFEW developed the program with SUNY for women. The program is competitive: Only 10 Binghamton University students are recruited for each cohort.

Read more here

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Basic Conversational Chinese language course being offered

The Center for Innovative and Continuing Education will sponsor a six-week language course beginning Wednesday, March 11. “Basic Conversational Chinese” will consist of 12 hours of instruction, to be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on six Wednesday evenings, March 11 through April 22, at the University Downtown Center. Note: Class will not be held Wednesday, April 8.

The course is designed for those who are planning to travel or conduct business in China, or for anyone who has an interest in learning Chinese. In addition to learning useful everyday phrases and how to pronounce Chinese names, the course will cover the use of proper manners and Chinese culture. In addition, participants will be introduced to the standard spelling system for writing Chinese phonetically in the Latin alphabet.

The registration fee is $129. This non-credit program is designed to help students enhance their foreign language skills and cultural knowledge. Successful graduates will be awarded a Binghamton University certificate of completion.

To register, go online. For more information, contact the Center for Innovative and Continuing Education at 607-777-2792 or via e-mail.

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Make it Happen: International Women’s Day Exhibit in Bartle Library

The Glenn G. Bartle Library celebrates International Women’s Day with “Make it Happen,” an exhibit featuring books, posters and campus activities that promote women’s equality. International Women’s Day activities of the Binghamton University Globalistas are highlighted, along with the history of International Women’s Day as an international endeavor. Posters from China featuring the event, which was made a national holiday there, are also included. Numerous books on the topic of women’s studies written by University faculty are displayed, along with feminist campus publications such as “Hera.”

This exhibit can be found on the second floor of the Glenn G. Bartle Library.

For more information about the Library, go online.

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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – How This Applies To Language Learning

“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is  the title of a very successful self-help book by a man named Stephen Covey.

How does a book about management and leadership skills lend itself to language learning? In this week’s video I explore each of the seven habits that Stephen Covey came up with and discuss how each of them are relevant in helping you become a more efficient language learner.

Watch Steve Kaufmann’s video here

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Comparative Chinese Diasporas: Race, Gender, Citizenship and Identity in Cuba and Mexico

Kathleen Lopez from Rutgers University and Julia Maria Schiavone Camacho from Sarah Lawrence College will appear on a joint panel at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, in LH-3. A reception will follow.

Schiavone Camacho will speak about “Transpacific Journeys of Chinese Mexicans” and Lopez will speak about “Chinese Cubans and the Second Generation.” They will both discuss their research on the Chinese diasporic experience in the Americas. By comparing and contrasting the local contexts of Cuba and Mexico, they will explore questions of race, gender, citizenship and national and diasporic identities.

This event is part of the “China in Latin America: Expanding Dimensions of South-South Development” Dean’s Speaker Series. It is co-sponsored by the Sociology Department, Latin American and Caribeean Areas Studies (LACAS), Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), Asian and Asian American Studies, Institute for Asia and Asian Diasporas (IAAD) and the History Department.

For more information, contact Ana Maria Candela or Lisa Yun.

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IASH Fellows’ Speaker Series

Yang Zhan, Graduate Fellow for Anthropology will present “Reinventing Working Class: “Dignity Politics” and Social Entrepreneurship in a Chinese Migrant Workers’ Community in Beijing” at noon Wednesday, Feb. 11, in LN-1106, IASH Conference Room.

Just as China comes to be the site of “world factory” in the global system, relying on its huge supply of cheap labor, it is becoming oblivious to the Marxist concepts such as labor and class, which were once its dominant discourse. Believing that those political economic terms are more relevant today than any time in the past, some have tried to reintroduce these terms in a critical analysis of China’s society, even though this effort has been confined to a fringe of the academia. It remains to be a question how the framework of class analysis can be combined with the practice of labor organizing and radical politics in contemporary China.

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Opening reception for “Face to Ground: Mirko Ilić” exhibition

mirko-info

The Binghamton University Art Museum has organized an exhibition of designs by the esteemed illustrator, designer and multimedia artist, Mirko Ilić. Curated by Assistant Professor of Art and Design Blazo Kovacevic, this is the first exhibition of its kind at the museum. The opening reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the University Art Museum and will feature a gallery talk by the artist. The exhibition will be on display Thursday, Feb. 12 through Saturday, March 14 and will feature comics, illustrations, graphic design and multimedia.

Read more about the exhibit here

For directions and museum hours go online.

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State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico

1415_mast_natlsymphonyorchestraofmexico

The State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico returns to the Anderson Center stage under the direction of Enrique Batiz, one of the most famous orchestra conductors in Latin America, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, AC-Osterhout Concert Theater.

The orchestra was founded over 40 years ago at the initiative of Batiz and the State Government of Mexico to promote music as a means of union and identification among Mexicans.

The program includes Enrique Granados’ “Three Spanish Dances,” Manuel Ponce’s Violin Concerto (Dalia Kuznecovaite, violin) and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 73.

Tickets are $45, general public; $40, senior citizens; and $22, students. Group rates are available by calling the box office. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 607-777-ARTS or go online.

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International Coffee Hour Friday

Good company and complementary refreshments! Relax at this month’s International Coffee Hour from 3:30-5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, in UU-Old Union Hall. International Coffee Hour is held each month during the academic year, providing a space where the entire Binghamton University community can meet in a relaxed atmosphere. International students, U.S. students, faculty/staff and community members are all welcome. Coffee hour participants also have the opportunity to learn about the event’s sponsor. This month’s sponsor is the Division of Advancement. For more information, go online.

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