USG pushes for two-unit classes in spring schedule

Two-unit conversational Spanish and French classes have been added to the spring schedule of courses, allowing students to take a class that focuses more on speaking Spanish or French than learning the grammatical rules, Undergraduate Student Government leaders said.

Native tongue · Nathalie Burle, a language professor in the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, teaches a French class in Taper Hall. - Dan Doperalski | Daily Trojan

The classes, Conversational Spanish (SPAN 280x) and Intermediate Conversational French: Culture, Society, and Communication (FREN 235x), are described as a “discussion of short films, cultural and literary texts and other activities designed to improve conversation skills,” according to the spring 2011 schedule of classes.

Liz Trower, USG senior director of communications, said this is a huge victory in what has been a three-year push for improved two-unit classes.

“This actually is part of what has been a much longer initiative in USG to improve two-unit courses,” Trower said. “This is the first major victory and hopefully it will pave the way for improvement in other two-unit courses.”

When Andrew Matson, chief justice pro tempore of the USG Judicial Council, was the assistant director two years ago, he brought up the issue of two-unit classes.

“We took an all-levels approach to bring in more two-unit courses to USC,” Matson said

A survey was sent out two years ago to students to gauge interest in two-unit courses. USG said it received an overwhelmingly positive response to the addition of a two-unit conversation language courses.

Matson said when he became the director of academic affairs for USG, he was in close communication with administrators, the Office of Academic Records and Registrar, as well as the sitting vice provost to continuously push for two-unit courses.

However, Ravi Agarwal, USG director of academic affairs, said it was difficult to actually add the courses to the course list.

“The biggest obstacle is time,” Agarwal said. “We can see the student demand, but conveying that demand to administrators and convincing them has also been a big issue and kind of a challenge for us as well. There are a lot of steps involved that require a lot of coordination.”

These classes are being offered for Spring 2011 and will not be for credit for Spanish or French majors.

“We not only hope to get more two-unit classes in the Spanish department,” Agarwal said, “But we hope to basically take what the [foreign language department] has done and help other departments do the same and offer similar classes in other languages.”