Foreign language options limited at FAMU

The required textbook for the Spanish courses at Florida A&M University.
Photo submitted by Alyssa King

Florida A&M University offers only two foreign languages for students, which leaves some in a predicament. Not all students want to take either French or Spanish, but because of a shortage of qualified faculty, they have no other choices.

The Department of Foreign Languages says that they are committed to cultural diversity by means of its course offerings, special programs, and recruitment efforts.

Although the department prides itself in being culturally diverse, it no longer offers American sign language, which was available as recently as two years ago.

A shortage of faculty in the foreign language department could explain the ilmited offerings. There are only six professors in the department.

Because of the insufficient amount of professors, it limits how many courses can be offered in any one semester.

“If there were more professors I would imagine that the school would offer more foreign language courses besides Spanish and French,” said FAMU student ReCheyla Codwell. “I think the other schools around offer more foreign language courses, I think it would be vital for FAMU to hop on the wave.”

Tallahassee Community College offers five different languages and Florida State University’s curriculum consists of seven different languages. FAMU offers the least variety in Tallahassee.

“If the school offered sign language, I would definitely take it,” said FAMU student Aubria Thomas. “I think it’s good to have diverse areas to study instead of the basics.”

Many students ehoed what Thomas said. The lack of options leaves students in a bind.  

For some FAMU students, a foreign language credit is required for graduation but with the lack of variety, some students go to other colleges to fulfill the credit.

“I took my foreign language credit back home during the summer,” said Evelyn Johnson. “I took Spanish in high school so I wanted to learn something different and I wasn’t interested in doing French, so I had no other option but to go somewhere else. I know of a couple of students who did the same thing. I hate that I had to go through all of that for a class. I wish more was offered here at FAMU.”

Hearing “I wish more was offered here at FAMU” is quite common.

Many students hope to see FAMU broaden its faculty so more language options can be added.

For now, the department is encouraging students from all majors to take a class in either Spanish or French.