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WELCOME TO Language Futures : Languages in Higher Education 2012. 5th & 6th July 2012 Edinburgh #LLASconf2012. Shaping the Future of Languages in Higher Education. Jim Coleman, The Open University Chair, UCML. Language Futures, 5 July 2012. UCML. University Council of Modern Languages

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Welcome to language futures languages in higher education 2012

WELCOME TO Language Futures : Languages in Higher Education 2012

5th & 6th July 2012



Shaping the future of languages in higher education

Shaping the Future of Languages in Higher Education

Jim Coleman, The Open University

Chair, UCML.

Language Futures, 5 July 2012

Welcome to language futures languages in higher education 2012

  • University Council of Modern Languages

  • Founded 1992/93

  • Over-arching body representing languages, linguistics and area studies in UK higher education

  • Members include virtually all departments and associations, teaching and research

  • UCML distinct identity in the four UK nations

  • Half-way through my mandate as elected Chair

The uk context
The UK Context

  • European Union/Council of Europe policies

  • ‘Subsidiarity’ principle: education is devolved to member states

  • Within UK, education and higher education are devolved to the four nations – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

  • England is just one small country

Ucml 2011 12
UCML 2011-12

  • Promoting coherence and shared identity across membership

    • through visits

    • through improved communications

  • Effective partnerships and networking with over 30 other organisations

  • Enhanced website (ongoing)

    • News: regular updates

    • Languages education

Ucml 2011 121
UCML 2011-12

  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ucmluk

  • Regular updates

    • on UCML

    • on other language-related events, reports, links

  • Twitter under development

Ucml 2011 122
UCML 2011-12

  • Plenaries on future policy, research assessment, graduate employability, the year abroad

  • Contributed to campaign to retain funding for British Council to manage assistantship scheme

  • Confidential liaison with individual departments and universities

  • Co-sponsoring events and activities – Thriving in difficult times 2011 and 2012, 2011 LLAS survey of non-specialist language learners

Ucml 2011 123
UCML 2011-12

  • Writing articles for The Linguist, Liaison

  • Contributing to broader campaigns

    • Speak to the Future

    • Language Rich Europe

  • Responding to consultations, etc. – see reports on homepage

  • Shaping the Future of Languages in Higher Education


Shaping the future
Shaping the Future


  • Research

  • Studying Languages

  • Subject Associations

  • Language Centres and Departments

  • Expanding Horizons (toolkit and resources for building relationships with external organisations and stakeholders)

  • Strategic audit tool

Shaping the future1
Shaping the Future


  • International curriculum collaboration

  • What internationalisation means

  • How languages contribute

  • Intercultural communication as a discipline

  • Work or study abroad and employability

  • Erasmus

  • Languages and incoming international students

  • Collaborating with non-language departments

Shaping the future2
Shaping the Future


  • Reading list

  • Summary of reports

  • Language graduate skills template

  • Careers resources for students and tutors

  • Careers liaison roles and agreements

  • Labour Market Intelligence: language graduate employment

Shaping the future3
Shaping the Future

Employability (continued)

  • CBI Skills Surveys 2011 and 2012

  • BCC report 2012

  • CIHE report

  • Costing Babel 2012

  • The economic case for languages 2011

Shaping the future4
Shaping the Future

These are community-generated materials

Please tell us (p.m.moores@aston.ac.uk)

  • How you have been using these resources

  • What the next stage in developing them should be

  • If you would like to contribute

    Effective campaigning – the year abroad

The year abroad ucml concerns
The year abroad: UCML concerns

The English Context from 2012 entry (‘new-regime’ fees)

  • Zero funding available from Government student finance

  • HEFCE reduced budget, wider responsibilities

  • Most universities unwilling to forego fee income from year abroad students

  • BIS-UUK Group chaired by Prof Colin Riordan (Essex VC), reported March 2012, published May 2012

  • Support from all parties for outgoing mobility, but employability evidence seemed thin (March 2012 House of Lords report)

The year abroad employability
The year abroad: employability

Quantitative evidence exists from

  • FDTL Residence Abroad Project 2001

    • UEA 842 graduates (1959-1999)

    • Portsmouth 275 graduates (1973-1999)

  • Portsmouth-Open University Senegal study 2009

    • 45 graduates (1985-2010)

  • BA-UCML-Thirdyearabroad.com study 2011

    • 576 graduates

The year abroad old regime
The Year Abroad: old-regime

Current funding arrangements in England

  • Valid until 2011 entry, ‘old-regime’ students

  • i.e. abroad in 2012/13 and 2013/14

  • Assume language specialists (Band C)

  • Applies only to full year abroad, otherwise fees as for UK study

The year abroad ucml targets
The Year abroad: UCML targets

  • Minimise disincentives to year abroad

    • Fee cap/waiver for students

    • Fee compensation to universities

    • Access to fee loans

    • Public backing from Government, employers, universities and graduates, supported by quantitative and qualitative evidence

    • Level playing-field between Erasmus and other work/study abroad

The year abroad ucml lobbying
The Year Abroad: UCML lobbying

  • Strategic approach

    • Media: BBC and THE

    • UCML plenary June 2011

  • Hard data

  • Networking and social media

  • Parliament: House of Lords

  • British Academy

  • Single message from the whole sector – no tribalism

The year abroad ucml lobbying1
The Year Abroad: UCML lobbying

  • British Academy-UCML Position Statement March 2012

  • Valuing the Year Abroad

  • Document (and YouTube links) at www.britac.ac.uk

  • 100 Best case studies at www.thirdyearabroad.com/graduates.html

  • absolutely wonderful resource: over 80,000 hits in 7 weeks

Welcome to language futures languages in higher education 2012
The Year Abroad new-regime(England only: subject to confirmation by HEFCE Board)Access to fee loans, Government and UUK endorsement

The year abroad what next
The Year Abroad: what next?

  • How are English universities reacting?

  • Tactical – all placements are study placements

  • Strategic – get global work placements included – data needed (only about 4-5% of total year abroad numbers)

  • Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland no targeted support, so each university setting own fees between zero and £4500

Recruitment challenges
Recruitment challenges

  • HESA applications data as of May 2012

  • Applications > offers > acceptances > admissions

  • All subjects

    • International students up 10%

    • 17- and 18-year-olds virtually unchanged

    • England down 10%

    • Older students down 11%

  • European Languages down 11.6%

  • Non-European Languages down 20.8%

Recruitment challenges1
Recruitment challenges

  • German down 24.7%

  • French down 14.6%

  • Spanish down 12.0%

  • Chinese down 5.6%

  • Japanese down 34.5%

  • But these are single languages…

Recruitment challenges2
Recruitment challenges

  • Total single Eur. language applications 7475 (-16.3%)

  • Total ‘Combinations within European Languages’ 8962 (-8.9%)

  • Total ‘Others in European Languages’ 5380 (+0.2%)

  • Shift from Single to Joint/Combined

  • ‘Others in European Languages’ up 14.2% since 2010

  • Overall drop 2011-12 is just 9.6%

  • Languages generally high conversion rate appl>admissn

  • Don’t panic – monitor trends

Ucml ongoing challenges
UCML ongoing challenges

  • Monitoring of student numbers

  • Capturing language student numbers from drop-in to 100%

  • REFable data on study abroad and employability

  • Collaboration to maintain diversity and geographical spread of provision

  • Links between language providers and local SMEs

  • Normalisation of language skills for all graduates

  • Sustainable outreach after Routes Into Languages

Ucml 2012 13
UCML 2012-13

  • Plenary on inter-departmental collaboration

  • Two-part HEA/UCML/AULC survey of non-specialists

    • Summary of non-specialists in Coleman, J. A. (in press). Non-specialist linguists in the United Kingdom in the context of the Englishisation of European Higher Education. Fremdsprachen Lehren und Lernen, 41 (2)

  • Longer term need to address the gap between UCAS/HESA data and other surveys

A bright future
A bright future

  • Specialist student numbers up each year since 2004

  • Non-specialist numbers increasing

  • Total year abroad numbers increasing

  • Outgoing Erasmus numbers up each year since 2006

A bright future1
A bright future

  • Languages and international experience increasingly seen as an essential part of university study and a competitive selling point, e.g.

    • Essex setting year abroad fees at zero, Portsmouth at 10% of maximum

    • Aston and Durham offering free Language Centre courses

    • Central Lancashire offering study abroad to all students

    • UCL insisting on pre-graduation language study

A bright future2
A bright future

  • ‘I am confident that under the new fee regime, with students ever more aware of university education as an investment, the demonstrated employability advantages of acquiring language skills will attract growing numbers of specialists in other disciplines to add one or more foreign languages to their Curriculum Vitae’

    Fremdsprachen Lehren und Lernen, 4(2), in press

A bright future3
A bright future

  • ‘I remain convinced that a degree involving languages remains an excellent investment, and that future generations of students are wise enough to recognise that’ (The Linguist, August-September 2012, p.14)

A bright future4
A bright future

Provided we

  • Continue to work together without tribalism

  • Continue to work actively within our institutions to promote the centrality of language skills for all graduates and for internationalisation

  • Continue to work actively with external partners to promote language and intercultural skills for all UK citizens, in schools and in business

  • Use social media to promote the sharing of positive information and rationales concerning language study

Thank you
Thank you


formerly known as


Welcome to language futures languages in higher education 20121

WELCOME TO Language Futures : Languages in Higher Education 2012

5th & 6th July 2012