Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

New Path for MLA Leader (Rosemary Feal announces her departure)

“The Modern Language Association looked a lot different in 2002, when Rosemary Feal became its executive director — the first from Spanish or any foreign language. The association’s council, or governing board, for example, was made up largely of tenured faculty members from elite institutions. Today, the association’s council is much more diverse and languages other than English are even more central to the MLA’s mission.

In terms of foreign languages, the MLA has developed a language consultancy service that dispatches scholars to institutions wishing to develop what Feal called 21st-century programs, as opposed to more traditional ones. These experts help departments restructure their curricular offerings and academic staffing to better serve the needs of today’s students, Feal said. MLA’s 2007 report “Foreign Languages and Higher Education: New Structures for a Changed World” remains influential in such efforts.”

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Languages do matter!

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