Review of Modern Languages in Higher Education - Invitation to Heads of HE Modern Languages departments

News summary

A review has been commissioned by HEFCE to investigate the health of modern foreign languages provision in English higher education (HE).

The review, led by Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost, UCL, will make recommendations to HEFCE, Government and other partners aimed at the long-term sustainability and vitality of modern foreign languages. It will look at recent languages policy and the impact of investment in this area.

The review will include:

  • an analysis of data including HESA data, leading indicators of demand, destination of leavers from HE data, National Student Survey data, and evidence on the extent and planned changes in the patterns of supply
  • the performance of languages in the Research Assessment Exercise 2008
  • how the Research Excellence Framework is likely to affect language sustainability and future patterns of provision
  • the relationship between research (and researchers) and what is taught
  • the impact of emerging economies on the provision of languages
  • whether existing languages provision meets the future needs of the discipline, its students and their prospective employers
  • the ways in which languages provision in HE might and should respond to the changing academic, economic, political and social challenges of the 21st century.

An interim report is expected by 31 July 2009, followed by a final report to HEFCE's Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects advisory group, Government and other relevant stakeholders in September 2009.

As part of the review process, a consultation event will be held at Birkbeck College in London on Wednesday 1 July. The day will be divided into two distinct sections, with the morning session for representatives from modern foreign languages in English universities; and the afternoon for representatives from the subject associations and learned societies. This is to ensure that we have as much time as possible to focus on the needs and interests of these different constituencies within the sector. Invitations will be circulated by email in the next week; places are limited and early booking is advisable. The consultation event will be supplemented by an online survey, which will allow for the collection of responses from individuals who are unable to attend the event itself. Further details will be circulated with the consultation invitation.