Budget Cuts at University of Florida Affect Language Programs

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Thu May 15 15:37:23 UTC 2008

Budget Cuts at University of Florida Affect Language Programs

The University of Florida has recently taken $47 million in cuts.
An article on this is in the Chronicle, at:

The President's plan for cuts falls disproportionately heavily on the
Humanities, in particular on the language programs. As a linguist in
Romance Languages (Spanish), I fear that these proposed cuts will
permanently damage our ability to provide quality education in linguistics,
especially for those interested in languages other than English.

The proposed cuts include:

Elimination of PhD program in French
Elimination of PhD program in German
Elimination of PhD program in Philosophy
Elimination of language instruction in Vietnamese and Korean
The current departments of African & Asian Languages and Literatures,
Germanic & Slavic Studies and Romance Languages and Literatures will be
reformulated into a Department of Modern Foreign Languages and a Department
of Spanish Language and Literature

Many members of the humanities faculty are concerned with the elimination
of the PhD programs in particular. In the case of French, it is one of few
in the nation to offer a French linguistics track at the PhD level, and
this will be lost. Also lost will be the possibility for doctoral students
interested in cross-linguistic Romance to benefit from collaboration with
both Spanish and French faculty. Many of us are also dismayed by the
bundling of all modern languages--except Spanish--into one department,
which sends a message to students that languages are not as diverse or as
important as we all know them to be.

Many feel that the faculty and chairs were not adequately consulted (see
http://www.gainesville.com/article/20080509/NEWS/805090323/0/FRONTPAGE ),
and are asking for support from the professional community to provide
evidence that such cuts are damaging to UF's reputation and therefore
detrimental to the long-term health of UF as an institution of higher
education. We would like the time to help come up with other solutions. If
you would like to comment on these cuts, please visit
http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/antes/Comments%20French%20PhD.html .

Thank you for your support,

Jessi Elana Aaron
Assistant Professor, Spanish Linguistics
Romance Languages and Literatures
University of Florida


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