31 October 2011

This year has seen a significant increase in the number of students studying a language at The University of Queensland – skyrocketing to over 3,500 enrolments.

QTAC applications predict that The University can expect another record number of enrolments in Semester 1, 2012.

The increase is contrary to reported national trends.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Nancy Wright said she is delighted to see the focus on second-language learning and emphasised languages was a growing area in the Faculty.

“The Faculty is committed to supporting language teaching. 6 academic positions are currently being advertised,” Professor Wright said.

Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Fred D’Agostino said the growing student numbers are attributed to a number of factors.

“One factor is the Federally-funded Brisbane Universities’ Languages Alliance (BULA), giving students from UQ, QUT and Griffith the choice to study 10 different languages,” Professor D’Agostino said.

“Another is the increase of multiple pathway programs, such as the Bachelor of International Studies or the Diploma of Languages which grew 53 % from 2010.”

The significant growth in language course enrolments also highlights that students see a second language as a valuable asset in the current global job marketplace. (Incidentally in 2010, 8 Australian Government Ambassadors were UQ Arts alumni).

Professor Nancy Wright said topping the language list at UQ is undergraduate studies in French, which has grown dramatically since 2007, increasing by 72% to 882 students.

“Chinese is also enjoying an increased demand from students. From 2007, undergraduate Chinese has attracted a 90% increase in student growth,” Professor Wright said.

Numbers are also up for the students studying extended majors in languages across the Bachelor of Arts at UQ. Organising their studies in this way, students are able to study extended majors in core languages to increase their language skills.

Professor D’Agostino, believes the dramatic increase in student numbers reveals the effectiveness of UQ’s broad languages strategy.

“The strategy incorporates important developments that have matured in the last 3 years,” Professor D’Agostino said.

“It includes three elements; the LOTE bonus scheme, the Diploma of Languages and the BULA – all of which encourage students to either start or continue their prior language studies.”

“Interest in the postgraduate coursework offerings in the areas of translation and interpreting, and applied linguistics have also seen a dramatic increase in demand, with entry into the programs now highly competitive.”

These new language enrolment figures reinforce UQ’s Faculty of Arts’ reputation as a leading Humanities educator in Australia.

Media: Dania Lawrence (07 33659163 or email d.lawrence@uq.edu.au)