Program cuts at Concordia won't affect popular language-immersion camps

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Recent programing cuts at Concordia College aren't expected to affect the school's popular language-immersion camps.

The college announced Jan. 29 it would be discontinuing nine majors, including French and German, due to lack of student interest in an effort to cut $2.7 million in costs. (Read more on this below.)

These cost-cutting measures aren't expected to affect programs at Concordia Language Villages, the college's cultural-immersion programs that provide educational opportunities for kids and adults at a "camp" near Bemidji. The Villages have the goal of giving people a deeper understanding of the 15 languages offered.

And of the languages offered, French and German are two of the most popular programs, Forum News reports.

Christine Schulze, the executive director for the Language Villages, told the publication the program employs Concordia professors, but their contracts are "distinct from their duties on campus."

The Villages also employ 30-50 Concordia students, and Schulze told Forum News they plan to continue to do so, noting Concordia College still plans to offer French and German classes and minors.

Over the years, the Villages have gained quite the reputation and a long list of distinguished visitors, including the ambassadors of several European nations. According to Concordia, Chelsea Clinton and film director Alexander Payne are among notable former villagers.

Concordia's program cuts

Concordia College announced it would be closing nine majors to new students as of Jan. 29. The majors include: classical studies, classics, Latin, Latin education, French, French education, German, health and humanities.

It also said it's closing the Scandinavian studies concentration to new students.

“It’s very sad that the college doesn’t stand behind languages,” Dr. Mary Rice, Concordia’s chair of World Languages and Culture, told The Concordian (the college's student-run newspaper).

She says the Language Villages aren't comparable to what the college does, adding: "They do a fabulous job at what they do, but what we do and they do are vastly different. They don’t have the depth of college language courses."

These programing cuts affect 38 students, including 12 who are expected to graduate in May. But the school says it will work with the remaining students over the next two to three years so they can complete their majors on time.

The college will still offer some classes relating to these majors and will still offer minors in classics, French and German.

These cuts could also mean instructors may lose their jobs by the end of this school year, Forum News Service reported, although tenured professors will get a year's notice.

Despite an uptick in freshman enrollment for the 2015-16 school year, Concordia College is still struggling with previous years of low enrollment, Forum News Service noted. Last April, the college cut 5 percent of its workforce – roughly 31 full-time employees.

A letter published in the Forum details more about the recent programing cuts.

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