Language Centre to integrate with the Department of Continuing Education

Education Committee has approved proposals for the University’s Language Centre to integrate with the Department for Continuing Education. 

The Language Centre is the University’s languages hub, providing a range of courses in modern languages and academic English.

The integration provides an opportunity to build on the strengths of both departments, and support language learning across the University in the long term. 

Language offerings 

The Language Centre is currently part of the Academic Administration Division within the University Administration and Services (UAS). Based on Woodstock Road, it offers language learning to staff, students and the public.

The Department for Continuing Education also provides non-award bearing language courses, as part of its Languages and Cultural Studies offer, with a total of 14 languages taught between the two departments.

A vision for the future  

Education Committee endorsed exploring the integration in Michaelmas term 2022. Work has taken place throughout the 2022/23 academic year to explore how best to bring the two departments together in terms of governance, strategic alignment and operational processes.

A vision will also be developed for non-degree academic English, language teaching and Cultural Studies. The two departments will develop this vision, working closely with stakeholders across the wider University. 

Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Chair of Education Committee, said:

I was pleased that Education Committee warmly endorsed this proposal. As a truly global organisation, languages are an essential part of the University, and this integration provides a real opportunity to increase our support for language learning in pursuit of our academic mission.

Integration arrangements 

The formal integration will take place on 1 August 2024, with planning taking place throughout the 2023/24 academic year. This will include a portfolio review across both departments, as well as developing plans for operations and staffing. 

There are not expected to be any changes to the Language Centre or Continuing Education courses, library provision or to arrangements for staff until after the integration has taken place. 

Professor Matthew Weait, Director of the Department for Continuing Education, said:

I am delighted that the integration will be taking place, and about the exciting possibilities for the future. Our focus will of course be on supporting our people throughout the process, and providing the best academic offering for our diverse audience.

Academic oversight 

The Committee for the Language Centre will continue to provide academic oversight for the Centre throughout the 2023/24 academic year. Arrangements for future governance will be considered as part of the integration planning process. 

Professor Katrin Kohl, Chair of the Committee for the Language Centre, said:

I am delighted that Education Committee has endorsed this proposal. It will be important to ensure that the integration process and future development of the vision for this new department is supported by an ambitious languages strategy that is appropriate to the University’s global status and aspirations. 

More information 

Further details of the integration will follow over the course of the next year and will be updated on the Language Centre website as more information becomes available.