USD French Program to go on Hiatus
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USD French Program to go on Hiatus

The USD College of Arts and Sciences has elected to discontinue its French program due to a failed search for a French instructor over summer 2019 and low enrollment across the program.

Marius Conceatu, a former French professor, was unable to return to USD for the 2019-2020 school year. USD searched for a candidate to take his place over the summer but was unsuccessful in finding a replacement. USD worked with SDSU and Kim Albracht of the Gallagher Center to provide online French instruction.

Robert Turner, interim chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, said students majoring or minoring in French after the current semester will be offered the courses needed to graduate. Once these students finish their studies, the program will be put on hiatus.

“This is something that we in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics feel deeply, but the Board of Regents has made clear they are concerned about low performing programs and with resources limited across the entire university, it isn’t a surprise that this happened,” Turner said in an email to The Volante.

Blake Jeffers, a senior media & journalism major, is one of three students currently taking French online. He said he worries the absence of the French program may cause enrollment issues with other language classes, particularly Spanish.

“My biggest concern is the pressure it’s going to put on Spanish teachers,” Jeffers said. “Most arts majors require two semesters of a language, and if Spanish is a majority, which it is, most of these students are going to be forced to either waitlist or wait several semesters to finish their generals.”

Keith Grant, a sophomore media & journalism major, is taking French for general education requirements. He took French online through SDSU in Fall 2019 and is now studying the language through Northern State University. Grant said learning a foreign language online can be difficult. 

“I’m not comprehending as much. If I have a question, I have to wait for my professor to email me back,” Grant said. “It’s hard to learn how to pronounce a word because I have a teacher that either tells me over a video or tells me to go research it. It’s difficult because I’m not hearing French all the time in a classroom; I’m hearing it through headphones.”

USD has a five-year window in which it can reactivate the French program. After this time, USD would have to get new authorization to offer French as a degree program.