What to do when your program is threatened?
Steps to take
- Develop a proactive public relations program.
- Have an up-to-date website, Facebook and Twitter presence.
- Make German visible on your campus with bulletin boards, FL film festivals, articles in local newspapers, participation in major campus events, etc.
- Keep up with former students through Facebook or other social media platforms. Invite those former students using German in their careers to speak to your classes and inspire your current students.
- Know which businesses in your community are based in Germany or do business with German companies.
- Organize a letter writing campaign targeting decision makers such as school administrators, board of trustees, local officials, and state legislators.
- Keep the parents and taxpayers in your community involved as chaperones and supporters of German activities.
- Recognize supporters of your program with certificates of recognition or nomination for state and national awards.
- Be an active member of local, state, regional, and national language associations to keep up on the latest professional news and create a network of advocates for your program.
- Develop contacts with local companies or wherever you can get your students internships in the US and abroad.
- Encourage students to apply for Fulbright Teaching Assistantships, Congress Bundestag programs, Bosch Fellowships, DAAD stipends and help them with the application.
- Sponsor campus events for high school students in the local area. Design reciprocal class visits, Sprachfests, declamation contests, or Theaterfests.
- Guest lecture at a local high school, middle school, or elementary school and let young students know how important learning German is.
- Know how the educational priorities are determined on your campus and in your institution.
- Know how languages fit into the mission statement of your institution and make sure others understand the importance of German instruction.
- Build coalitions with other faculty members and campus organizations to maintain and expand your program.
- Become an administrator or union officer to get to know how budgets are decided, hone strategies for organizing advocacy campaigns, and learn the ins and outs of collective bargaining.
- Visit policy makers at all levels of government personally and make sure that they understand the value that learning German provides community members.
- Testify before state legislative committees and US Congressional committees on policy issues.
- Make sure your students understand the value of learning German and engage them in advocating for the program.