SGA distributes survey to alums on world languages

Sofia Rositani Reporter

At other Connecticut colleges, achieving competence in world languages is not a requirement, but at Southern, it is.

A recent survey conducted by the Student Government Association was meant to see if the requirement is helping or hurting students.

“Student government has been hearing concerns from students on campus about the world language requirement kind of impeding their success on campus,” President of the Student Government Association Alexis Zhitomi said.

Along with current student concerns, SGA recently distributed a survey to alumni who graduated in the past year to see if being required to reach the 200 level in world language has been beneficial. According to Zhitomi, SGA is an organization on campus that “represents the 7,000 undergraduate students’ voices,” so the results are intended to reflect students’ best interests. SGA members said it has not collected all the data yet for the survey so the results should be out within the next two weeks. The questions on the survey asked if alumni are currently using the language they were required to learn in college in their profession, if it has positively influenced them in their work or personal life and how well they can understand and speak the language. According to Zhitomi, the reason SGA picked a survey was because the faculty wanted to see quantitative data rather than qualitative data.

“I think some students,” she said, “may find it aggravating to come to a university and basically retake classes, in a sense, that they did in high school already.”

She also said it may have an impact on how many classes students must take in their tiers and the requirement they must take in order to graduate. Some students said they like that the requirement is up to 200, such as psychology major Kira Fields, a freshman.

“It’s good to learn about other languages and different cultures so I think it’s good that we have such a high level,” said Fields. “We have a very diverse campus, so a lot of people probably feel more welcomed even though they can test out of it usually if that’s their native language, but I think it’s good.”

If the survey comes back with reviews saying that the alumni did not use anything they learned from the language classes, the school may make efforts to lower the requirement. Like Fields, sports management major Kiania Slaughter, a freshman, said she is against the idea of dropping the level to a 101 class.

“I don’t want to be put on the same level as the other colleges like Central and UConn only stopping at 101. That means we are all at the same range,” said Slaughter. “I would rather have an advantage when I am going to a job interview that needs a bilingual person to have more knowledge of that language and beat out my competition.”

While Slaughter and Fields are for Southern keeping the language requirement to 200, history major, Ethan Rankowitz, a sophomore, said the requirement offsets the student’s degree and pushes the student back to stay at Southern longer then they must. Economics major James Clary, a senior, also said that he thinks the language requirement should be completed at the 101 level because it is only necessary to know the basics of a new language.

“I think that it should go down to 101. I placed into Spanish 200 because I knew Spanish before that,” said Clary. “When I realized that people have to take Spanish 100, then 101 and then 200, it seems like a little too much.”

Photo Credit: Jacob Waring

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