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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union representatives work to introduce Hindi classes

Published: November 2, 2007
Section: News

Class of 2011 Senator Shiv Mundkur and Union Director of Academic Affairs Kimberlee Bachman 08 are working to create new foreign language classes at Brandeis including Hindi and American Sign Language.

Shiv [Mundkur] mentioned to be that there is demand for a Hindi class and I have experience creating classes, Bachman said. While they are very much in the preliminary phase, Bachman said, we have two goals;

ASL and Hindi.

[Hindi] is one of the most popular languages in the world, said Mundkur, it is a language in demand for South Asians and others. He added that South Asian students as well as students from other backgrounds have approached him expressing their interest in studying Hindi.

As far as major languages go, Hindi and other languagesshould be offered, Mundkur commented. He cited the increase in Brandeis South Asian population as further reason to offer Hindi courses. Brandeis is constantly getting more diverse, he said, the language program needs to also become more diverse.

Mundkur and Bachman met with Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences for Undergraduate Education Elaine Wong to discuss the process of introducing new language classes. Wong was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

We talked to Elaine Wong and she gave us some history behind what the student demand has been in the past, said Bachman.

Dean Wong was very receptive, continued Bachman, [she] helped us strategize about moving forward, she said.

In order to create the program, Mundkur explained, there exist three possibilities. First, there exists the possibility of convincing the Provost and the Dean that [Hindi] has enough demand for them to devote $40,000 to $60,000 plus benefits to a fulltime teacher, said Mundkur.

Additionally, he explained, if the money cannot be found, there exists the possibility of offering a single course in Hindi. Finally, we could find a donor to fund the class[it could be] someone here, someone in India, Mundkur said.

It would be great if we found someone to fund [Hindi or ASL], said Bachman, without a doubt, students want more languages.

In response to the possibility of adding Hindi classes to the Universitys curriculum, Tim Kane 10 was positive. Why not diversify our classes? he said.

Kenny Altidor 10 was excited by the prospect. He said, That sounds really cool. I would love to learn [Hindi]. We have a high Indian population so that would be good.

Preetham Vasudevan 11 was less certain. He said, it would be great but I dont think thered be a demand for it.

Adding new language classes would not affect other course offerings explained Bachman. They would not cut one language program for another…its about further enriching the Brandeis curriculum, she said.

My ideal would be to see a Hindi sequence and an ASL sequence, Bachman remarked, the two could go really well together.

Regarding a timetable Mundkur commented, hopefully by next fall we can get one or two Hindi courses started.

He added, in the future, [we can] maybe progress to intermediate so people can fulfill their language requirement in Hindi.

Mundkur concluded, this is going to take a lot of time. After Hindi, we can progress to other languages.