Languages

MLA Meeting That 'Never Was Nor Will Be'

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The "MLA 2010 Mankini" is one of the creations for the Modern Language Association meeting that "never was nor will be."

The association's December 2009 meeting was the last one to be held between Christmas and New Year's Day. The MLA doesn't reconvene until January 2011 in Los Angeles, leaving 2010 as the year without an MLA meeting. Horrors!

Some unknown scholars have created an MLA 2010 Web page that clearly differentiates it from most of those at the real meetings with these three bullets:

Outsourcing Language Learning

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A decade after Drake U. pioneered system favoring native speakers over traditional faculty, a few other colleges are trying the approach and the university is taking its concept online.

State of Humanities Departments

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Major study documents reliance on those off the tenure track, the favorable ratios of tenure decisions, the dominance of publications in those decisions, the popularity of minors and majors, and more.

Turning Off the Lights

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What's it like to be a liberal arts college's last classicist -- a one-person department a college decides it can live without?

A Strategic Leap Online

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Middlebury College has been known for years for immersion-based language instruction and liberal arts education. So when the college announced on Wednesday that it is partnering with a for-profit company to build an online language program aimed at middle- and high-school students, it raised some eyebrows.

Left Out of Gen Ed

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When colleges and universities revamp curricular requirements, disciplines can become winners or losers. Those fields that are required (or that have many courses that meet requirements) enjoy assured enrollments. So when a college votes down a foreign language requirement, as faculty members did last year in the arts and sciences college of George Washington University, that can be a blow to those who teach languages.

Languages Plus

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Timothy A. Bennett strives toward a new vision for the foreign language department. “You can think of a university as a little continent full of different kingdoms,” said Bennett, chair of the foreign languages and literatures department at Wittenberg University, a Lutheran liberal arts college in Ohio. “I’d prefer that language departments suffused the curriculum rather than just be another kingdom among many kingdoms.”

Tweetup at the MLA

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PHILADELPHIA -- A tweetup -- that is, a gathering of Twitter users -- tends to be a casual affair, more likely to occur in a dive bar than at an open bar. So those attending a late-night tweetup at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association were in for a surprise.

Bleak News on the Front Lines

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PHILADELPHIA -- Already down hundreds of job openings, the Modern Language Association discovered, at its annual meeting here, that it was also down hundreds of graduate students.

Attendance dropped from the 8,000s to the 7,000s -- and much of the drop appeared to be among those entering the profession. With convention job interviews thin on the ground, many grad students and new Ph.D.'s found somewhere else to go in the week after Christmas.

Raising the Bar

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California's community colleges toughen graduation requirements. Some see changes as overdue; others fear standards are too high.

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