Title of Presentation

It Takes a Community: Building or Expanding a French Program


Nell KupperFollow

Date of Presentation


Name of Conference

American Association of Teachers of French

Date of Conference


Location of Conference

Philadelphia, PA

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Modern Languages and Literatures


Some time ago it was announced to me that the French major at our university would be eliminated due to low numbers in the advanced courses and in the French major. Albeit a relatively recent arrival at the university, in addition to being the only tenure-track French professor at the time, I was not going to let the major fail on my watch. This presentation features the plan I developed that, in a matter of three semesters, took the French program from the status of cancelled to the successful and growing program it is today, with full advanced courses, and regularly increasing numbers in the major. The success of this plan also encouraged the hire of a second tenure-track professor. Teaching under this plan required continued research to monitor and fine-tune the success of each activity in progress, to keep the activities fresh to motivate students to continue in the program, and to seek new options to expand the projects for more visibility in the community.

RECRUITMENT, RETENTION, and REPUTATION constitute the framework through which this plan has been successful. Each component is designed to yield multiple activities, some to be executed by the coordinator, and some by students, with guidance by the coordinator. The plan integrates a heavy dose of outreach activities that successfully engage employees of the institution, faculty, administrators, and staff, and members of the community at large. Some examples of activities for which templates and detailed procedure are provided in the presentation include: interdisciplinary courses to attract students from other disciplines, mentoring program to generate interest at the elementary level, student-lead French conversation with phone interviews, institution and community-wide contests, and community events.

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