Global Studies and Languages faculty reassigned to other HASS departments

GSL director says current majors, minors, and concentrations will “remain unchanged”

All Global Studies and Languages (GSL) faculty have been reassigned to other Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences departments as part of a restructuring of the GSL program, effective last week. Administrative staff will remain in their current positions and oversee GSL majors, minors, and concentrations. 

The decision was made by Melissa Nobles, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and announced Aug. 26. The Tech first covered Nobles’s proposal in May.

“While the Global Languages program will not be hiring and promoting professors, it will continue to hire and promote lecturers and senior lecturers, and will continue to offer the same array of languages taught by exceptionally skilled and dedicated language instructors,” Nobles wrote in an email to The Tech.

Nobles expressed an “intent … for little impact on language classes this fall” and stated that classes “currently taught by senior lecturers or lecturers” should not change while “some faculty will teach the same or similar classes.''

Emma Teng, professor of Asian civilizations, will serve as director of GSL for the next two years. She affirmed in an email to The Tech that current GSL majors, minors, and concentrations “remain unchanged.”

Nobles added in a follow-up response to The Tech that the GLS department “will be assessing the advanced class offerings in the longer term, to ensure that students will be able to meet the major and minor requirements.”

In her email announcement, Nobles reiterated that the move was motivated by “long-standing organizational issues, including the unit’s relatively small faculty size, and internal personnel matters” and “driven by a commitment to maintaining and advancing a strong language instruction program in SHASS.”

The announcement of the restructuring followed a committee-reviewed consultation process by Associate Dean Agustin Rayo. According to Nobles’s announcement, the process consisted of discussions with “all relevant stakeholders”: GSL faculty, instructors, staff, and students as well as other SHASS faculty and committees.

Ian Condry, professor of Japanese cultural studies, described the transfer of his affiliation and funding from GSL to Comparative Media Studies and Writing, where he had a joint appointment, as “pretty logical” and “smooth” in a phone interview with The Tech. “[For] the senior faculty, most of us were already half affiliated with other departments,” Condry explained.

Condry expressed concerns over having a program now consisting of only one faculty member and mostly lecturers. “It would be better for languages to be integrated with the intellectual and teaching projects of faculty,” Condry stated. “My concern is that that aspect of the reorganization has not been clarified.”

“The other concern I have is whether this will make the minor in languages more difficult for undergraduates,” Condry continued. Condry said that Nobles’s announcement did not give him any additional information on the future of GSL majors and minors.