SAVE THE FOREIGN LANGUAGES AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

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The Stony Brook University administration has undertaken a series of firings and other decisions that are devastating for foreign language teaching and learning and foreign language area studies at Stony Brook. These firings represent an unmotivated decimation of one of the core areas of any major university, with terrible consequences for Stony Brook’s and SUNY’s reputation, quality of education, community service (teacher training), and research across the Humanities and Social Sciences. The negative consequences will reverberate for generations.

1) Firings. In summer 2017, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, Sacha Kopp, issued termination notices, effective at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year, to two tenure track faculty, five foreign language lecturers (in French, Italian, Russian, and German), and all adjuncts involved in language teaching. This was done ignoring objections from across the College and University, and contrary to a range of alternative proposals carefully prepared by a group of CAS chairs and faculty. It was argued that this move would “uphold our position of academic excellence” and “best provide for the success of our students during a time of constrained resources” (August 10, 2017 email from Dean Sacha Kopp), although in a subsequent Stony Brook Statesman article from Jan. 21, 2018, [http://www.sbstatesman.com/2018/01/21/foreign-language-programs-face-personnel-cuts-in-department-merger/ the Dean’s office surprisingly and mysteriously states “the claim that the university is in fiscal crisis is inaccurate”. Under severe pressure from within and outside the College and University, the administration reinstated two tenure track faculty and 1 lecturer. The University now needs to reinstate the other four foreign language lecturers that were fired.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO REINSTATE THE TERMINATED FOREIGN LANGUAGE LECTURERS AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

Consequences
The loss of these lectures effectively means the end of the language majors and minors in German, French and Russian, and the loss of vitality of the Italian program. Furthermore, the French teacher education program would effectively be terminated. Stony Brook students will no longer be able to major in languages, a requirement for language teacher certification, or to complete an MA in teaching.

• Current plans call for tenured research faculty in various departments (Philosophy, Linguistics, Comparative World Literatures, English, Women and Gender Studies, etc.) to give up the unique specialized undergraduate and graduate courses they offer to take on introductory language courses, solely because of their working knowledge of a language, and contrary to all known pedagogical practice.

•  Stony Brook’s renowned language teacher preparation programs are now in severe jeopardy.  Stony Brook is the only public institution of higher education on Long Island (pop. 3+ million, 124 school districts) providing K-12 teacher certification in all of the following languages: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean.  With these cuts, language majors, as well as language teacher preparation programs, are doomed to elimination, despite the need for SUNY or NYSED approval for such changes.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO REINSTATE THE TERMINATED FOREIGN LANGUAGE LECTURERS AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY AND SAVE FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER TRAINING ON LONG ISLAND

2) The Language Learning and Research Center (LLRC) has been dissolved, leaving no resource for the creation of online, distance, and summer language courses; the organization and proctoring of language placement and challenge exams; the development of language and technology research projects; the development of new language programs; the preparation of language area grant proposals. The LLRC Steering Committee’s letter (8/3/17) to the Dean about the fate of the LLRC was ignored, as were various faculty proposals for cost-saving reorganization of the LLRC.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO REESTABLISH THE LANGUAGE LEARNING AND RESEARCH CENTER TO OVERSEE FOREIGN LANGUAGE PEDAGOGY AND RESEARCH

The actions taken by Dean Kopp and their consequences, as well as the lack of good faith consultation, refusal to consider viable alternatives, contempt for usual practices of shared governance, have led us to take this extraordinary step of creating this online petition.  We call for faculty-administration cooperation on rebuilding the foreign languages at Stony Brook by retaining all Foreign Language Lecturers and reestablishing the LLRC or an equivalent unit.

SIGN THIS PETITION TO REINSTATE THE TERMINATED FOREIGN LANGUAGE LECTURERS AT STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY AND SAVE THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAMS AT STONY BROOK!

    

 



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