GU Partners with Johns Hopkins to Offer New Languages

Up to 25 students in good academic standing in Georgetown College, the School of Foreign Service and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will be able to enroll in Burmese, Hindi/Urdu, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese language classes at the Washington, D.C., campus of The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies beginning this fall.

The partnership between Georgetown and SAIS will allow students at both schools to enroll at the other institution for language courses not available on their own campus. Students will register for SAIS classes through Georgetown’s preregistration system.

Georgetown students may take courses for a grade only, which will appear on their transcripts and count toward their degree and credit requirements, but SAIS courses will not be factored into students’ Georgetown GPAs.

Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Strategic Planning for Georgetown College and associate linguistics professor Jeff Connor-Linton brokered the agreement with SAIS Director of Language Studies Program Marco Campos (GRAD ’03) to strengthen language instruction at both schools.

“This is a great opportunity for Georgetown students to be able to take languages that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to take,” Connor-Linton said.

Campos said the new program is a good opportunity for students at both schools.

“As a Georgetown alumnus I am thrilled that both schools have joined efforts to share their strengths in language teaching for the mutual benefit of our students,” Campos wrote in an email to The Hoya.

SAIS students will be able to take advanced Arabic, advanced German, Hebrew, advanced Italian and Turkish language courses with Georgetown College’s Faculty of Languages and Linguistics.

Campos said SAIS classes focus on the social, cultural and political features that relate to the regions in which the languages are spoken.

“Class activities normally include debates on current events,” Campos wrote.

Senior Associate Dean Sue Lorenson said that Georgetown is limited in its language offerings because of the language requirement in the College and proficiency in the SFS.

“Georgetown’s reputation for language instruction is excellent, partially because we are not in the business of offering ‘languages on demand,’” Lorenson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “When we offer a language, we want to make sure that the instruction is at a level of quality consistent with that of Georgetown’s other language offerings and of a duration such that Georgetown College students can meet the core language requirement and SFS students can meet the proficiency requirement. This has understandably limited the number of languages that Georgetown is able to offer.”

Lorenson said she does not anticipate dramatic changes in the language course offerings within the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics.

“Like any dynamic university, Georgetown is continually reassessing its curriculum. Though Georgetown is unlikely to offer one-off courses in any particular language, we should expect that Georgetown’s language offerings will evolve over time,” Lorenson wrote.

SFS Academic Council member Roopa Mulpuri (SFS ’18) said she has consistently pushed through the Academic Council and the Georgetown University Student Association Senate Subcommittee on Curricular Reform for Georgetown to add new languages to its curriculum.

“My personal initiative has been trying to get Hindi language classes to Georgetown, and I’m hoping that because more students will take language classes [with the new SFS language minors] that this will increase the opportunity to bring new languages and language studies to Georgetown,” Mulpuri said.
Georgetown University South Asian Society President Bhavya Jha (SFS ’17) said that she welcomes the SAIS partnership.

“When I came to Georgetown as a freshman, there was barely any conversation about South Asian languages and regional classes, and I’m definitely glad to see the changes coming about slowly but surely,” Jha wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Having done CLS (the Critical Language Scholarship), I was excited to work with CLS alumni funds and SAS to host an open Hindi-Urdu hour on Wednesdays followed by on-campus, personalized Urdu reading and writing classes.”

Jha said she plans on working with SAS Vice President Monica Mahal (COL ’17) to craft a list of SAIS classes to circulate among students interested in South Asian languages during the pre-registration period.

Jha said she hopes the opportunity to take SAIS classes will eventually be open to students across all schools and plans to meet with administrators to establish a South Asian studies department.

SAS Public Relations Director Asha Thanki (SFS ’17) said that Georgetown should eventually integrate South Asian languages into the curriculum and count grades toward student GPAs.

“It’s good that students have this opportunity, though the work of the university to integrate South Asian languages into the academics should not end here,” Thanki wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We hope to see these languages taught on Georgetown’s undergraduate campus, and we’d like to see those grades count towards students’ GPAs.”

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