Cuts Felt in Foreign Language Department

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Imagine going to a foreign country and not being able to order dinner, ask for directions, or find the nearest restroom.

Foreign language conversation classes at GCC have allowed would-be travelers as well as more serious language learners to hone their language skills.

But, unfortunately these classes were in danger of being dropped from the schedule, until they were converted from the credit curriculum to the auspices of Community Services.

With budget cuts being applied to nearly every department of the college, the Foreign Language Department was pressured to drop the Basic Conversation, non-transfer, classes from the schedule.

At the urging of Dr. Teresa Cortey of the Foreign Language Department, the classes were saved by shifting them to Community Services and continuing to offer them evenings and Saturdays on campus.

Through Community Services classes pay as they go and do not rely on state funding like the credit classes.

This also allows for more flexibility in the number of students required to go ahead with a class.

The classes that were removed from the credit schedule were basic conversational courses in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Armenian. Moving them required a few changes within the structure of the classes.

Curriculum changes were required to reduce the hours for the classes. But foreign language majors, should not be concerned.

“The regular credit program has not been affected, ” said Jean Perry, chair of Language Arts.

“It isn’t as bad as it sounds, ” said French Professor Cortey. “The administration is foresighted and sensitive to our needs by preserving our credit program and offering us another avenue for our non-credit program.”

The courses are offered for two-hours on week nights, but starting on Sept. 20 three-hour sessions will also be held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. They will run to Oct. 25.

The week night classes are $79 and the Saturday classes are $139.
Cortey said that no one should fear that foreign language classes will be cancelled due to budget cuts. The regular credit courses are still scheduled.

The difference is that the Community Service classes are open to anyone in the community.

For those who are interested in attending the new basic conversational classes, contact Kathy Sifer at (818) 548-0864, ext. 5015 or 5016.