Letters, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

July 30 letter to the editor – WVU Academic Transformation

EDITOR’S NOTE: LTTEs regarding WVU Academic Transformation

From now until Aug. 31, we will open letters to the editor to WVU alumni and current and former staff and faculty, including those who live out of state, for any who would like to comment on WVU’s Academic Transformation. EMAIL submissions to opinion@dominionpost.com. MAIL submissions to:  The Dominion Post, 1251 Earl L. Core Road, Morgantown, WV 26505. INCLUDE your name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. Letters should not exceed 300 words. Out-of-state alumni should include their graduation year and degree. Staff/faculty should include their position and years of service. 

Real-world prep begins in languages program

I graduated from WVU with a B.A. (1986) and M.A. (1989) in German and am an assistant professor of German at Washington & Jefferson College.

I have the World Languages program at WVU to thank for my career and my lifelong love of language. The program ensures our future by creating well-rounded professionals, ready to take on the international landscape from the heart of Morgantown. Studying world languages taught me to communicate effectively and respectfully with those from different cultures, backgrounds and circumstances. Our country is ever-changing, bringing new cultural challenges daily.

As a teacher, I frequently encounter persons from other countries, but any professional in the U.S. will need to interact with other cultures. My husband is a software engineering manager, and his team comes from a range of backgrounds. My daughter works in television, where half of her coworkers are bilingual. Their understanding of language and culture has allowed them to navigate the workplace with empathy, understanding and respect. Although their language studies were limited to a few semesters, the impact has been lifelong.

I urge WVU to think about the impact our World Languages program has on the student body, as well as the community of Morgantown, West Virginia and the region. It would be irresponsible to limit the program. WVU does not exist in a bubble. When we prepare our students to face “the real world,” we must give them the tools to succeed internationally.

Furthermore, cutbacks will send a negative message to the public. Without WVU’s program, language students would be forced to leave the state, contributing to the existent “brain drain.”

To secure our region’s future, we need to send forth educated minds poised to think globally while acting locally. That starts in the World Language and Culture classrooms at WVU.

Thank you for reading my concerns. I am forever proud to be a Mountaineer!

Cathy Bossart Altmeyer
Pittsburgh, Pa.