The Middlebury Institute recently adopted an innovative new policy that grants its policy and management-focused degree programs greater flexibility to set requirements regarding language proficiency that more closely reflect the needs and goals of students.
“For many years, faculty and program chairs in several of our programs have advocated for building more flexibility into our language requirements,” said Dean of the Institute Jeff Dayton-Johnson. “Where language proficiency is clearly an integral part of the degree, it will remain so. In some programs, though, advanced content-based language study will continue to be a feature of the path for many students, but not the exclusive pathway to degree completion.”
With enrollment at institutions of higher education falling nationally, it’s clear that graduate schools in particular must be nimble and flexible in meeting the needs of both their students and the employment marketplace. “We believe that granting individual degree programs greater flexibility in determining the language component of their programs will expand access to the Institute’s degree programs to new populations of students and help to ensure a bright future for MIIS,” added Dayton-Johnson.
The amended language policy allows individual degree programs to petition to modify their language requirements. Petitions will be reviewed by faculty and administration leadership, and programs that wish to modify their requirements will have to make a case for the change. All programs must be structured in a way that allows students who want to pursue advanced language studies as part of their degree to do so without requiring additional time on campus or incurring additional costs.
“Besides giving students more flexibility to shape the curriculum to meet their individual needs, this change will give us the ability to shift resources away from lower-level language instruction to advanced language instruction for those students who are aiming for careers that require those skills,” said Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management Fernando DePaolis.
“This change has the effect of opening up more pathways, expanding the pool of potential students who can benefit from a MIIS degree while maintaining the Institute’s historic commitment to being a national and international leader in advanced language training and content-based instruction,” said Dean of the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education Laura Burian.
Dayton-Johnson emphasized that “Our goal with this evolution of the Institute’s language policy is to give students greater flexibility to focus their time at MIIS on acquiring the skills that will be most beneficial to them in their future careers.”