The Department of Modern Languages has been a source of frustration for many Spanish majors as of late. Unfortunately, much of this is self-inflicted. Now, the department appears to be making things even worse for senior Spanish majors on the way out.
In our Oct. 30, issue we shed light on the adverse effects the study abroad requirement is having on recruiting new Spanish majors. Dr. Eric Dickey, who teaches Spanish and French classes, said that “since the requirement was implemented about two years ago, the number of Spanish majors has drastically reduced.” While the department is looking at eliminating the requirement, it has already turned many would-be Spanish majors and minors away.
The latest development that has angered those who’ve spent years in the Spanish program is disheartening to say the least. By suddenly withholding the funds to offer upper-level Spanish elective classes, the Department of Modern Languages has put seniors in an ambiguous position. In addition to turning off those who’d been thinking about studying Spanish at Northwest, they’ve now succeeded in alienating those who’ve spent significant time and money on the program.
Many may find it hard to understand how this situation could have a drastic impact on a student’s potential graduation. Like most majors here at Northwest, Spanish majors are required to complete an upper-level elective before receiving their diploma. Seemingly without warning, senior Spanish students arrived at school this fall and were hit with a grim revelation: it would be almost impossible for them to graduate in spring as they had planned.
Financially, this could have a serious impact on the accomplished Spanish students at Northwest. Staying an extra semester or two could incur hefty costs on the students. Additionally, forcing students to stay here longer could put a hamper on many of their future plans, including costing them the chance to walk at graduation with their friends.
As with the study abroad issue, the Modern Language department’s woes are self-imposed. If funds were not going to be available for this upper-level class, the students who banked on taking the class their senior year should have been informed. Now they’ve been put in a bind with essentially no way out.
Transferring is out of the question, as Spanish students cannot be sure all of their credits will transfer to their next school. Furthermore, Northwest certainly doesn’t want students who’ve spent most of their time and money as a Bearcat to get their diploma elsewhere.
For Kirsten Hudgens, the Spanish minor interviewed in the A1 story, dropping her minor would be a damaging decision. Simply abandoning the program she’s spent thousands on over the years should be a decision no student should have to make.
The funding problem in the Spanish program is real. No one can doubt that. However, one can’t help but wonder about other things the University has spent money on recently that could’ve have been better spent on maintaining the Spanish department. The considerable resources allocated for campus aesthetics comes to mind.
We applaud the efforts of Spanish students to bring a petition to department chair Michael Hobbs. The position the Modern Languages department has put these students in is outrageous. Hopefully, the University responds to this petition and does everything it can to rectify the issue.