- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Missouri State University wants to revamp its undergraduate program in foreign languages because so few students are taking French and German.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Governors voted last week to reduce the program from the current nine degrees in French, German and Spanish to a single degree: the bachelor of science in modern language. The university currently offers a bachelor of arts, a bachelor of science and a bachelor of science in education in the three languages.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education must approve the change, The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://sgfnow.co/1hK6vTp ).

Jason Jolley, head of the university’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, said the school hopes to have approval by April so the new degree can be added to the fall course catalog.

Fewer than 10 students graduate with a bachelor degree in French and German on a three-year average, Jolley said, adding that few public high schools even teach German anymore.

Spanish is still popular, with 33 students earning a bachelor’s degree in that language last year, Jolley said. Many students seek a double major with Spanish and another field of study.

“It is clear to a lot of people that Spanish has a real pragmatic application in a lot of fields,” he said.

The emphasis in language courses has been shifting from a traditional focus on literature to language and proficiency. That emphasis will continue with more time spent in areas such as interpreting and translation, Jolley said. The proposed restructuring will not affect faculty or staff.

The restructuring also won’t affect the Foreign Language Institute, which Missouri State established last year with Drury University, Evangel University, Ozarks Technical Community College and Southwest Baptist University. The institute offers languages that are not offered because of low enrollment, including Italian, Portuguese and Chinese.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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