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World Languages
2019-2020 Program Review

1) Unit Profile

1.1) Briefly describe the program-level planning unit. What is the unit's purpose and function?

The Foreign Language Department offers courses in German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. The courses are designed to help students develop a command of the given language in order to pursue a career, transfer, and degree goals. The language offerings at ARC have evolved over the years according to the community’s changing needs. For example, Russian has added several sections and now offers courses for heritage learners due to the high demand of the growing surrounding Russian-speaking community. The Spanish-speaking community has also grown, and ARC is in the process of becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). As the Spanish-speaking community has grown, we have expanded our offerings in Spanish. In addition to adding courses for heritage learners, we offer an Introduction to Spanish Literature course and have a thriving intermediate Conversation course. We have also developed an Associate in Arts Degree for transfer in Spanish and have also developed a guided pathway for the degree to serve our student population. In addition, we maintain the Associate in Art Degree in Language Studies and are part of the Associate in Art Degree in international Studies so our students have varied avenues to use their language skills in completing degrees. In order to better serve students, we offer courses in different modalities including face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online. Our course offerings in distance education have expanded over the last few years, and our faculty participate in continuous education on best online practices by attending workshops and conferences. We also offer face to face CECA courses in Spanish at the Natomas Inderkum High School and Spanish dual enrollment online courses at the Twin Rivers District for their A.A degree. Our department is continuing to change to meet the needs of students and the community by offering transfer level courses that satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement as well as prepare our students to interact with diverse populations and utilize their language skills in the workforce. We update our curriculum, materials and textbooks frequently to meet the standards of the C-IDs for articulation. Our department members stay current in their fields by attending conferences and collaborating with colleagues both at ARC and outside the institution. Our courses provide a curriculum that is culturally relevant and provides students with a global perspective. Culture is interwoven throughout our classes and provides a base for a communicative, equity-minded curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving and communication in the target language.

1.2) How does the unit contribute to achievement of the mission of American River College?

The Foreign Language Department contributes to the mission of American River College by offering student-centered and culturally responsive teaching, equity-minded education, and inclusive curriculum. Our diverse faculty provide a global perspective and inclusive environment that promotes student learning and critical thinking. Each language has expert faculty from different countries and communities that provide unique perspectives on each culture and language. Our department is reflective and collaborative in modifying curriculum and teaching approaches to serve student needs. We collaborate to provide students with information on transfer opportunities, career options, study abroad programs, and scholarships available. Additionally, our courses fulfill the Foreign Language requirement of many colleges and universities for students intending to transfer. The intermediate courses also satisfy the G.E. requirements in Humanities for the college and for the CSU and UC systems. Students are able to complete degrees that focus on language acquisition such as the Associate in Arts Degree for transfer in Spanish and the Associate in Arts Degree in Language Studies. Language classes are also an integral part of the Associate of Arts Degree in International Studies.

2) Assessment and Analysis

The program review process asks units to reflect on the progress they've made towards achieving the goals they identified in each of the Annual Unit Plans they submitted since their last Program Review. Follow this link to access your previous EMP submissions. For assistance accessing the EMP system, please contact Mary Goodall at or (916) 484-4535.

2.1) Consider the progress that has been made towards the unit's objectives over the last six years. Based on how the unit intended to measure progress towards achieving these objectives, did the unit's prior planned action steps (last six years of annual unit plans) result in the intended effect or the goal(s) being achieved?

The Foreign Language Department has several objectives it is working on to close the opportunity gap and reduce disproportionate impact in our courses and to increase the vibrancy of our program. Over the past six years, each language has had specific goals to grow and sustain a quality program and offer varied courses to meet students’ needs. We made the difficult decision to reallocate FTE from French and stop offering French courses at ARC in order to serve the growing populations of heritage learners in Spanish and Russian. We are now offering Russian 413: Russian for Heritage Speakers, and it was so popular last fall, we added another section. Curriculum is currently being completed for Russian 415 to provide a path for heritage learners in Russian. The curriculum for Spanish 413 was approved in spring 2020 and is being offered for the first time this fall 2020. We have also created Spanish 427: Introduction to Literature and have revitalized Spanish 361: Intermediate Conversational Spanish to serve the needs of Latinx students. We hired a full time instructor who teaches Russian and German and the Russian program has more than doubled since her hire. Our department continues to put students first by offering classes in varying modalities. We now offer online, hybrid, face-to-face, eight week classes, CECA classes at the Natomas Inderkum High School and online courses in the Twin Rivers High School District. All languages have offerings for online learning and we continue to explore and implement teaching techniques to improve language learning in the online environment. World Language Forums: Major Exploration for Foreign Language Studies. Reached out to students that were enrolled in language classes and facilitated two information sessions that were attended by 50+ students. Our main goal was to provide students with information on how they could use their language skills in future careers. Lastly, we are working collaboratively to reduce disproportionate impact in our courses. We are looking at our curriculum and actively making changes to the curriculum to present an anti racist/anti sexist curriculum. We are doing this by interrogating our practices and critiquing the textbooks we are using and creating alternative materials. We are also working with the Research department to analyze DI at the course level and take steps to reduce it. We are at the beginning steps of this process and plan to continue the work this academic year.

In the following program-level metrics, a green-yellow-red light icon provides a quick sense of how a particular data set's values relate to an established threshold (click '+' for details).

The following data sets may be useful in promoting and informing departmental dialogue, planning, decision making, and resource allocation.

The two data sets show 5 years of fall or spring duplicated enrollment, disaggregated by gender and ethnicity. Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool will soon provide considerably more sophisticated ways of viewing and analyzing your planning unit's headcount and enrollment trends.

current fall/spring semester enrollment is equal to or exceeds the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.
current fall/spring semester enrollment reflects a decline of less than 10% from the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.
current fall/spring semester enrollment reflects a decline of 10% or more from the prior year's fall/spring enrollment.

The two data sets show 5 years of fall or spring productivity (WSCH per FTEF: the enrollment activity for which we receive funding divided by the cost of instruction). Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool will soon provide considerably more sophisticated ways of viewing and analyzing your planning unit's productivity trends.

current fall/spring semester productivity is equal to or exceeds the prior year's fall/spring productivity.
current fall/spring semester productivity reflects a decline of less than 10% from the prior year's fall/spring productivity.
current fall/spring semester productivity reflects a decline of 10% or more from the prior year's fall/spring productivity.

Shows green-yellow-red indicators for each race/ethnicity to reflect the extent to which any given group's three year average grade metrics are disproportionately impacted, as defined by the State Chancellor's Office (click the report link for details). Note that ARC's data-on-demand tool can provide some additional insights in this area, including representativeness, grades and awards by gender and race/ethnicity.

No measurable DI — All courses’ rates exceed the disproportionate impact threshold for a given racial/ethnic group by at least three percentage points.
Yellow (formerly, “- - “ in previous versions or cycles)
Insufficient data available — Monitoring recommended. DI may or may not or exist for one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, but too little data is available to be certain (cell sizes < 10).
Light-Red (formerly yellow in previous versions or cycles)
Potential DI—Monitoring or Action recommended. The rate of one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, is near (by less than 3 points) the DI threshold.
Clear DI—Action recommended. The rate of one or more racial/ethnic groups, in one or more courses, is at or below the DI threshold.

Department Set Standards

Shows course success rates (# of A, B, C, Cr, and P grades expressed as a % of total grade notations) compared to lower and upper thresholds. Thresholds are derived using a 95% confidence interval (click the report link for details). The lower threshold is referred to as the Department Set Standard. The upper threshold is referred to as the Stretch Goal.

Most recent academic year exceeds the upper threshold
Most recent academic year falls between the lower and upper threshold
Most recent academic year falls below the lower threshold

The faculty's continuous review of student achievement of course SLOs is documented using the Authentic Assessment Review Record (AARR), which involves a review of student work demonstrating achievement of the course SLO. Faculty record student achievement for a randomly assigned course SLO based on one or more authentic assessments that they regularly perform in their classes. The aggregated results are then reviewed annually as part of Annual Unit Planning, in which the results may serve as the basis for actions and, if applicable, resource allocation, and are aligned with college goals and objectives.

The AARR summary link provides an aggregate of the results of the most recent AARR implementation. The AARR results by SLO link provides a more detailed view, including the specific ratings assigned by faculty to each randomly assigned course SLO, and what, if any, actions were taken.

Note: Established thresholds (i.e., green/yellow/red indicators) have yet to be developed for SLO data.

Email Standard Data Set link

In addition to reflecting on the metrics shown above, it may prove useful to analyze other program-level data to assess the effectiveness of your unit. For instructional units, ARC’s Data on demand system can be used to provide program and course level information regarding equitable outcomes, such as program access or enrollment, successful course completion, and degree or certificate achievement (up to 30+ demographic or course filters are available).

You might also consider pursuing other lines of inquiry appropriate to your unit type (instructional, student support, institutional/administrative support). Refer to the Program Review Inquiry Guide for specific lines of inquiry.

2.2) What were the findings? Please identify program strengths, opportunities, challenges, equity gaps, influencing factors (e.g., program environment), data limitations, areas for further research, and/or other items of interest.

The Foreign Language Department has many strengths, but one of the greatest strengths is the collaborative faculty members who teach in a culturally responsive manner and strive to be equity-minded practitioners. Our faculty are language experts that represent diverse communities from around the world. As second-language learners, we are able to connect with the diverse student population and empathize with their individual needs in many ways. We also actively participate in professional development opportunities to support students, learn new teaching techniques, and stay current with language pedagogy and practices. We are open to new ideas and incorporating new technologies to enhance learning and reach each individual student. Faculty members are connected directly to the communities they serve through different avenues such as organizations, embassies, and other foreign universities and institutions. We also experienced great challenges with enrollment over the past six years. In 2013, CSUS changed their policy to the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement. They declared the following majors exempt from the requirement: Business Administration (all concentrations), Computer Science (all concentrations), Chemistry (B.S. only), Engineering (all concentrations, Health Sciences (all concentrations), Kinesiology (Athletic Training, Exercise Science), Nursing (all concentrations), Physics (B.S. only), and Recreation, Parks Tourism Administration. Our department has responded to the impact of this decision in innovative ways. As our department consists of different languages with distinct experiences, we have highlighted some of the strengths, opportunities, challenges, and equity gaps, data limitations, and areas for further research that exist by language. German: Within the last six years, the enrollment for German experienced a significant decline from 220 students in 2013-2014 to 147 in 2014-2015. The enrollments stayed steady through 2016-2017 until the program experienced further section cuts, which resulted in bringing the student numbers down to 135 in 2018-2019. The program is trying to compensate and rebalance by offering elementary-level courses online. The curricula were revised and updated to offer classes as distance education. An online track of elementary German was created and first offered in Spring 2019. Since then, it regularly demonstrates high enrollment rates and significant student interest. A hybrid format was also tested out to see if it results in a better retention rate, and the data is currently being collected. The program aims to create two separate tracks, face-to-face and online, for three beginning level courses of German: 401, 402, and 411. Despite the FTEs lost due to cuts, over the last years, a number of students have completed three German language courses and received the Language Studies Degree. This demonstrates that even with the currently low number of classes, the program continues to be successful in providing quality education and responding to students' needs by offering different instructional modalities, varying days and times of classes. The program’s course success rate by race/ethnicity shows no change in the African/American population since 2013-2014 standing at the low 3%, no representation of Native Americans and a significant growth of Hispanic/Latino population from 8% in 2015-2016 to 22% in 2018-2019. Italian: In the past six years, the Italian program at ARC has suffered ups and downs due to the removal of foreign language requirements for many majors. The sizable number of foreign languages offered at ARC compared to the offerings at other LRCCD colleges was also a consideration. Despite those challenges, the Italian program at ARC has continued to offer all four courses, namely ITAL 401/402/411/412 of which the last two in rotation. Many students have successfully completed all four Italian courses. A great leap forward has been achieved through the creation and offering of ITAL 401 fully online since Fall 2018 and ITAL 402 since Fall 2019. The program in two modalities has allowed us to serve a broader population of students who can now choose the class that best fits their needs. The online program, through additional FTE, could be further expanded by adding another ITAL 401 online course, particularly in the Fall semester when enrollment is much greater. Since the splitting of the two 401 face-to-face courses into two separate modalities, the great challenge looking ahead will be maintaining sufficient enrollment to allow students to attend the advanced courses. Having to draw from a single ITAL 401 course, this will be an almost impossible task. Our course success by ethnicity shows a disproportionate impact for African American students and students with disabilities, although enrollment in these categories is extremely low in Italian classes. ITAL 401 and 402 were both approved for CSU-GE area C2 (Humanities) and ITAL 411/412 were also approved for IGETC area 3B (Humanities), a further motivation for students to elect these Italian courses. The Italian program continues to be sought after and highly appreciated by a large variety of students who often participate in the study-abroad programs offered within the Los Rios District. Russian: The Russian program is thriving at ARC. It regularly shows high enrollment and productivity rate, very high retention rate, and positive student feedback. The program grew from four sections in Fall 2016 to six sections in Spring 2020, all of which were fully enrolled. The enrollment by year showed a steady growth from 75 students in 2014-2015 to 260 enrolled students in 2018-2019. Because of the high student interest in the language, the department was able to hire a full time faculty member in 2017 and two part-time faculty members for Spring 2020. A curriculum for a new track “Russian for Heritage Speakers” was written and approved, and the program started offering online classes for heritage and native speakers of Russian. The track for heritage speakers opened enrollment opportunities for non-native speakers of Russian who have now better chances of enrolling in the elementary level courses. Since the creation of a heritage speakers course, we have observed a more diverse student body in our elementary level courses. The major current goal of the program is to write and propose the curriculum for the next level of “Russian for Heritage Speakers” course. If the curriculum proposal goes through, the program will be regularly offering classes for heritage Russian speakers, thus creating a consistent path for heritage/advanced students. Another goal is to start offering intermediate level Russian courses in online modality. This would offer more flexibility for students who are trying to get their Language Studies Degree, but can’t take the intermediate level class during the time it is offered, since the class is typically only offered once per year. Spanish: The Spanish program is stabilizing in regards to enrollment. Our enrollment numbers began a steady decline from 938 in Fall 2013 to their lowest point in Fall 2017 at 593. Our course success by race/ethnicity shows a significant disproportionate impact for African American students, multiracial students, and students with disabilities. We also show a disproportionate impact for Native American students although the sample size is very small. Spanish continues to have enrollment challenges, but our numbers have increased since offering the fully online modality. Our strength is that we are adapting to meet students’ needs. This includes adopting textbooks that allow us to align with the C-IDs in Spanish and are much more affordable. We are also working on a path for heritage learners and will be offering the first course in Fall 2020. In addition, we have created new learning opportunities in Spanish by offering an Introduction to Literature course and Intermediate Conversation with zero cost materials. Spanish now offers the following courses each semester completely online: 3 sections of Spanish 401, 2 sections of Spanish 402, 2 sections of Spanish 411, and 1 section of Spanish 412. Our department offers face-to-face, hybrid, 8 week, and fully online classes both during the day and evening to provide access to all students. At the Natomas Center, we offer CECA classes and starting in Fall 2020, we will offer 3 sections of online Spanish for the Twin Rivers School District’s dual enrollment AA degree pathway. We also have a very collaborative department that is invested in student success. The faculty continues to make changes to curriculum and courses to better serve students and eliminate equity gaps.

3) Reflection and Dialog

3.1) Discuss how the findings relate to the unit's effectiveness. What did your unit learn from the analysis and how might the relevant findings inform future action?

As a department, we have learned that we still need to adapt to meet students needs and eliminate the opportunity gap in our program. The department will collaborate together as a whole and by individual language to incorporate strategies and to become equitable practitioners. Our department is invested in researching the data and making informed decisions. We are also invested in requesting professional development as it relates to our needs in addressing Disproportionate Impact. Looking forward, we would also like to have two tracks in each language: an online track and a f2f/hybrid track to address access and productivity simultaneously. Future action: Our continuous goal is to decrease the opportunity gap until it is gone in our courses. We are addressing the opportunity gap in a number of ways. We are having conversations in our department and informing these conversations with data from Research. We are also working with RAD to offer sections tailored to studying Spanish and offering FLEX activities to increase students’ knowledge of how to study a language and use the textbook as a tool. The department is also actively working to create a culturally competent curriculum. Language textbooks tend to present a traditional, dominant perspective in many ways. For example, our elementary Spanish textbook presents a traditional approach. On the other hand, our intermediate Spanish textbook, provides an inclusive approach to diversity and exposes students to varying perspectives and viewpoints. We are working collaboratively to adapt and supplement the elementary Spanish textbook with more inclusive and current materials. Our department goal is to better prepare students to become global citizens, being able to communicate in different languages and exploring the richness and diversity of the world. We want to provide students the tools needed to bridge cultural and social divides. We are creating materials to address this and are including indigenous and non-dominant narratives in the curriculum. Finally, we are having the dialogue of how to support African American students in our classrooms and will continue to educate ourselves, work collaboratively, and incorporate proven strategies to eliminate gaps. Since the change in the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement at CSUS that impacted all the languages in our department, we have worked to stabilize enrollment. In Fall 2018, enrollment in Spanish courses increased to 631 students and our goal has been to offer classes in different modalities and at different times to meet students’ needs. We also created the AA-T degree in Spanish. In 2015-2016, 1 student graduated with the degree and in 2017-2018, 13 students graduated with the degree. In meeting our goals, we have transitioned to offering online sections in 401, 402, 411, and 412. Last summer, Spanish 411 was approved and is currently part of the Exchange. Some other instructors are also working to complete the FastTrack Rubric Academy to be able to offer other language courses on the Exchange. We have also transitioned to a textbook that meets the needs of students no matter the modality and is much more affordable to provide better access. Finally, we are currently creating a track for heritage learners to complete the AA-T in Spanish that builds on cultural and linguistic capital that our students already have. This path will allow them to begin at Spanish 411 and take 412, 413 and 415 for the core courses. As a temporary fix, we have also been offering course substitutions on a case-by-case basis to students that have more advanced language skills.

3.2) What is the unit's ideal future and why is it desirable to ARC? How will the unit's aspirations support accomplishment of the mission, improve institutional effectiveness, and/or increase academic quality?

Our department continues to achieve its goal in offering a variety of transfer level courses that satisfy the foreign language requirement. We also prepare students who desire to transfer to a four year institution. Our courses are taught in a variety of ways using different methodologies to help students communicate orally and in writing to perform proficiently in real life situations. The A.A in Language Studies degree is popular and in very high demand. In addition, many ARC students are also obtaining the AA-T Spanish degree. Our courses offer up-to-date curriculum, incorporate language and culture seamlessly and are taught by highly qualified instructors who represent a variety of countries and cultures. We prepare students to work in a variety of fields. They may become teachers, translators/interpreters, counselors, social workers, international bankers, inmmigation officers, airline personnel, work in the medical field, law enforcement, etc. Having been exposed to a variety of perspectives and viewpoints, they will be able to meet the needs of different communities and socio-economic groups. In the near future, the Foreign Language department intends to increase enrollment by working with the Health Interpreting Program and to discuss the option of adding some of our language courses (especially Spanish and Russian classes) as requirements and/or electives for their degree in Health Interpreting. This goal will greatly benefit students who later join the workforce preparing them to communicate in a variety of languages and exposing them to different points of views and cultural aspects of the world. We will also reach out to the History and Art departments. We want to establish relationships and start promoting our language courses as part of their degrees. The Social Studies department currently offers an International Studies degree; some of our language courses are already listed as part of their electives. We recognize that our department is Eurocentric in its language offerings and we would like to expand our language courses to include other regions of the world to serve all students’ interests. Due to the growing demographic of certain groups, we would like to explore the possibility of offering other languages that are in high demand, like Arabic and Mandarin.

4) Strategic Enhancement

4.1) Identify/define one or more program-level objectives which enhance the unit's effectiveness. What does your unit intend to do to work towards its ideal future? How will success be measured?

The Foreign Languages Department at ARC remains committed to providing quality education for all students. We provide our students with the tools to communicate successfully in different languages, understand and appreciate other cultures, think critically, analyze and assess information, and make decisions both in the classroom and in everyday situations. We continue expanding transferable course offerings and focusing on the needs of our student community. Due to the challenges our society is currently facing, we would like to be able to offer two separate modalities, an in-person modality and an online track modality in most of our language courses. To be able to achieve this, we will require more faculty hires and additional FTE. By offering these two modalities, we will be able to reach a broader student population, maintain student success and retention, and provide individuals with the quality education we all deserve. We are seeking the opportunity to offer two tracks in Spanish and Russian, a pathway for Heritage learners and a pathway for Non-Heritage learners in order to address access and productivity and to have more balanced courses. Our demographic trends at ARC have changed throughout the years. We would like to be able to serve and offer adequate courses that address the community changing needs. By providing consistent course offerings and different pathways and modalities, students will be able to complete their courses and degrees in a reasonable timeframe. These changes will improve the success rate within our program.

4.2) How will the unit's intended enhancements support ARC's commitment to social justice and equity?

Our department recently met with a representative from the Research Department and reviewed the disproportionate impact data in our courses. We analyzed different perspectives and graphs on student equity, grade metrics, success rates, gaps in terms of mastery and drop rates. We found that most of our courses show a DI in African American groups. However, in some languages, the DI data showed enrollment numbers too small to represent valid data. Our goal is to continue having future conversations and meetings to address the opportunity gap and to improve our methodology and teaching techniques to make sure we reach every individual student in our courses. We will meet with the Research Department again in Spring 2021 and we will encourage faculty to use the new individual data when reflecting on their own courses. We will hold different meetings throughout the semester to share and develop new ideas to address specific issues. One of our faculty members participated in the Equity Action Institute and the Equitable Practitioner Development Program and continues to work with our department to implement and support equity efforts and eliminate the opportunity gap. Our goal is that more faculty in our department join the EAI or something similar to receive further training, collaborate with colleagues, and better serve our students. We also would like to use professional development funds and encourage our faculty to participate in peer mentoring programs and equity training outside of the college. Lastly, our department will continue working on implementing our curriculum and supplementing some of the material presented in our textbooks to ensure we are offering a culturally rich and diverse curriculum in which all students are represented. Our goal is to present language through a cultural lens with an inclusive approach. We want to motivate and appeal to our students as they navigate engaging cultural and historical contexts while they strengthen their language skills.