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The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Changes in Language Requirements for the Class of 2027: A Welcomed Challenge

Upperclassmen at Colgate University likely came to college with a few years of a foreign language under their belt, enabling many to check off that graduation prerequisite before they ever stepped on campus. For Colgate students in the Class of 2027, however, a new language requirement has caused much discussion.

Yukari Hirata, the Harrington and Shirley Drake chair in the humanities, professor and chair of the department of East Asian languages and literatures, director of the linguistics program and co-director of the center for language and brain, explained Colgate’s new language policy.

“All students will be expected to take a language course, regardless of their prior experience in learning languages,” Hirata said. “Previously, many students did not have to take any language course at Colgate if they had some years of study experience in high school or earlier.”

Hirata elaborated on the need for students to take college-level language courses, and the factors that differentiate them from grade-school classes.

“A different level and different nature of language learning takes place at Colgate. We see that as a highly valuable experience, regardless of individual students’ previous experience with language study,” Hirata explained. 

The new requirements could potentially also help to bolster language course attendance and interest. The Colgate Language Department is prepared for any such changes.

“There may be some increase in some language programs, but the changes seem to be manageable within our earlier modeling/predictions,” Hirata said.

The students in the Class of 2027 have varied feelings about the new policy, but many appreciate the chance to learn a new language. First-year students Livvy Fletcher and Alyssa Shula both value the opportunity the language requirement has created.

“The language requirement is good because it gives people the opportunity to continue and expand upon a language that they may have already spoken or pursue a new one,” Fletcher said.

“I actually like the new language requirement because I think having at least some background in a language different from your native one is important,” Shula added.

The new requirements align with Colgate’s stated mission to “develop wise, thoughtful, critical thinkers and perceptive leaders” and create a community that “respects the complexity of human understanding.”

“Language learning is valuable not only for its utility, [for instance, it’s] convenient to be able to talk with people who only speak a certain language, but also for understanding different cultures and perspectives in the world and for understanding yourself and your own place in the world,” Hirata said.

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About the Contributor
LJ Coady
LJ Coady, Baker's Dozen Editor (Fall)
LJ Coady is a junior from Houston, TX concentrating in political science with minors in history and religion. She has previously served as a writer for the Baker's Dozen, Arts & Features, News, and Commentary sections.

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