Messages of support from the petition

Last week, a new petition was set up to save the languages department at the University of Birmingham – you can find it here. This petition is broader in scope than the previous letters and counter-proposals, which were directed to students and alumni.

The petition exceeded its target of 1,000 signatures within 48 hours, and continues to grow.

Below is a collection of comments left publicly on the petition, supporting the campaign to resist the restructuring here at UoB.

“Expertise in language teaching is vital to the student experience. The Modern Languages department at Birmingham has a reputation for excellence in both its teaching and research. They should both be properly supported and experience respected. (I write this as a Senior Lecturer in French, Royal Holloway).” – Ruth, London

“As a former undergraduate student of Modern Languages at Birmingham (Spanish 1973-77), and former Cowdray Professor of Spanish at the University of Leeds (2003-2013) I am appalled by this proposal.” – Paul, Mexico

“This doesn’t make sense. If you want to improve research ratings, you need to support existing staff to help them meet research objectives, not make them redundant then hire new ones. That is not what a university of Birmingham’s standing should be doing.” – Anna, London

“Language studies should not just be about research (or even, mostly, about research): it should be driven by the desire to teach another generation the invaluable cognitive and linguistic skills needed to engage and communicate effectively with other people from around the globe. As a former language student, I can say with absolute certainty that languages not only opened doors for me in the labour market, but also opened my mind to new worlds and possibilities.” – Anne, Solihull

“What richness will be lost without good quality language teaching in schools , universities and elsewhere. Far more than just speaking. Insight into other cultures and ways of thinking. Best education there is” – Stephanie, London

“Language learning – and learning about other cultures and world-views – is vital, culturally and commercially. Birmingham, as an outward looking city of science, commerce and the arts, should be a centre of excellence in language teaching – and it currently is, with the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham teaching a wide range of languages. My studies there (BA and PhD) set me up for my career, and I know this is true for many hundreds of other graduates. Birmingham needs a strong languages department with language teaching at its heart – and it appears that the current proposals go in the opposite direction” – Julian, Bromborough

“Why make cuts if the launguage teaching has proved to be internationally excellent recently? Surely this should be celebrated” – Anita, Singapore

 

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