As more and more foreign language departments disappear from institutions nationwide, Ithaca College is expanding its language departments.
In the past five years, enrollment in language programs at the college has remained steady, and the number of students majoring in a language has increased from 51 to 63 between 2006 and 2010. The language and literatures department will be hiring three full-time faculty and fill two existing positions to accommodate student interest.
Learning a second language is crucial to being successful in this economy. More companies are likely to hire someone who can speak a language in addition to English. We no longer live in a strictly English-speaking economy, and if we want to succeed, we have to increase our skills. Foreign languages also give us a way to understand and appreciate other cultures.
Other institutions across the nation have made severe cuts in language departments — especially in the romance languages. Cutting foreign languages is the wrong move. The college made the right decision in growing its foreign language department, but more students should be required to learn a second language. Students do not need to be fluent in a second language, but they should know enough to speak it when they leave college. Additionally, language departments such as Arabic and Chinese should be expanded and promoted more as a way to stand out in a job search.
More students need to know that languages shouldn’t be foreign.