Robert Peckham and the French language Program

It is unfortunate that the University of Tennessee at Martin has decided to abandon its French program, despite the two-year effort by its own French professor, Robert Peckham, to save it.  According to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s September 21, 2012 issue, the university refused Peckham’s bid to merge French and other language departments into one single foreign language program, a tactic that recently has been used successfully by some universities facing similar cuts.  Cited for the reason behind the dismantling of the French program was the fact that it had failed to produce more than ten majors a year over the previous five years.  Peckham vows to remain an advocate for foreign languages. Goodness knows that in this climate, he needs all the support he can get!



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2 responses to “Robert Peckham and the French language Program

  1. TennesseeBob Peckham

    While I take issue with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for a meaningless graduates benchmark (they want 10; the national average for French is 3.04), the main reason why we tanked was that colleagues would not accept an umbrella degree option (BA in Foreign Languages, with specialization in…). There are dozens of great foreign-language programs thriving with this degree, as you can see in the recent archives of FLTEACH. I will continue as a foreign-language advocate, though I will be minus my classroom.

  2. Robert Peckham has been an incredible resource for teachers of ALL languages. It is horrifying to me that this institute did not recognize the wisdom behind his suggestion. This is a terrible loss to the students of the University of Tennessee AND to language teachers throughout the world. This professor has an international following who have benefited from his knowledge, enthusiasm, perspective and day-to-day connection with real students. While he can maintain his connection to the language-teaching community, it is tragic that UT Martin does not realize the magnitude of its loss.

    Laurie A Clarcq
    and High School Spanish teacher at Marcus Whitman H.S. in Rushville, N.Y.

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