More than half of U.S. universities surveyed by the American Association of University Professors in 2015 said they would no longer require a foreign language teacher to complete their degrees, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Association of American Universities.
The results mark a dramatic shift from a decade ago, when roughly a third of the universities surveyed required foreign language teachers to complete a degree, according the study.
Only 5 percent of universities surveyed in 2014 did not require a language teacher.
The findings come as the Obama administration is mulling whether to expand the number of students who can graduate from the U.N. and other international programs to 10 percent, from 4 percent currently.
The U.K. government is also considering a plan that would allow students to transfer into other universities without first completing a language training course.
A second study released Tuesday showed that while most American universities have taken steps to improve their teaching environment, a small number of institutions have continued to rely on foreign language instructors for classes.
The American Association for University Professions, which represents American universities, said that for the past two years, its students have spent more than half their time on assignments and tests, rather than doing homework.
“There is a lot of talk about how the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, or the sciences need more of a role, but this is the only sector where there is no room for any sort of meaningful change,” said Anne Crain, the association’s vice president for education and higher learning.
In the past, the majority of U,S.
schools had at least one foreign language instructor, but many schools have been forced to scale back that role in recent years.
Last year, for example, the number required to teach in the English department at Harvard University dropped to one teacher.
A survey of more than 6,000 students at 21 U.C.L.A. campuses conducted by the association found that fewer than half, or 39 percent, of U.,S.
students said they were satisfied with their teachers.
Nearly half, 47 percent, said they felt their teachers were too “narrow-minded” in their demands, and only 5 percent said they trusted them to “follow their own heart and not impose anything on you.”
In a statement Tuesday, the Association for American Universities called on colleges and universities to provide “appropriate support” to foreign language learners who want to pursue degrees.
“It is imperative that we are supporting students with disabilities who are working to get the skills and education they need, and are also able to earn the skills they need,” the statement read.
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