New PLAN curriculum modifies previous language requirements

Pinizzoto added that Simmons hasn’t eliminated language courses, but instead altered the requirements.


Image by Adriana Arguijo Gutierrez.

Abigail Meyers, Staff Writer

Modifications to the PLAN core curriculum have resulted in changes to the courses offered by the Language Department and foreign language requirements for students at Simmons. 

According to an email sent out by the Department of Modern Languages and Literature (MLL), students can meet the language requirements if they take up to the 102 level of any modern language, place above the 102 level on a placement exam, or receive a score of 3 or above on an AP exam.

MLL Chair Eduardo Febles told The Voice that American Sign Language and Italian will no longer be offered at Simmons beginning in Fall 2023. Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish will continue to be offered. Professor Febles added that the new requirement gives students more flexibility in their schedules to take electives. 

As to why the language requirement specifically changed, Provost Russ Pinizzotto said in an interview “[PLAN] is a larger general education program compared to other schools, so we looked at ways to streamline it. Languages were the main area where it was doable.” 

“Our requirements were more stringent than most colleges,” said Pinizzotto.  “You couldn’t apply AP credits or test out of [the language requirement], you’d have to take a different foreign language if you were fluent in a different one… so, we added the ability to test out.” He additionally emphasized the flexibility mentioned by Professor Febles.

Pinizzoto added that Simmons hasn’t eliminated language courses, but instead altered the requirements. He encouraged students to take language courses available at Simmons if they’re interested and to also explore course offerings through the Colleges of the Fenway. 

The International Relations program has specific language requirements that exceed the criteria for graduation. Students can major/minor in a foreign language, or if they take Spanish or French, must take two classes beyond the requirement. If an International Relations student takes Chinese or Japanese, they need to take one more beyond the requirement. 

Political Science & International Relations Department Chair Ben Cole re-emphasized the flexibility in the new language requirement, adding that the department is revisiting its language requirements as well.

“International Relations is really about how countries interact,” said Cole. “Having knowledge of a foreign language is important – language is a defining characteristic of culture, and what makes a person.” 

Students who have questions about the new language requirements are encouraged to reach out to with any questions or for more information.