The call for proposals is now closed.

Information about the volume/Call for Proposals (for reference only)

Title: (Working Title): Language Program Vitality in the United States: From Surviving to Thriving in Higher Education

Editors: Emily Heidrich Uebel (Michigan State University), Felix Kronenberg (Michigan State University), Scott Sterling (Indiana State University) 

Publisher/Series: The volume is being developed in conversation with Springer for the Educational Linguistics book series.


This book will document and address root causes of declining enrollments seen in language programs at U.S. institutions of higher education over previous decades. It will identify obstacles created by programs and institutions that prevent students from either initially exploring or continuing with language study, challenge long-held beliefs about language program structures, as well as promote opportunities for language programs to address these obstacles and innovate in the field.  

This publication will reflect a wide range of opinions and diversity of authors that reflect the broad roles that our readers will encompass. 

Who is this book for? (Target Audience) 

This book can be used by foreign language faculty to reflect on their own programs and university trajectory. It is also for those faculty, language program directors, chairs, university administrators, and graduate students to understand issues and trends facing the field and possible solutions that they may explore. The data provided in this book will also provide a launching point for discussions at a variety of institutions as they adapt to new challenges in the field. Both those “in the trenches” and those who have broader decision-making power about language programs and policies at the university will be able to use this as a reference. 


This book will have both full chapters focused on theory and practice (5000-7000 words) as well as “thumbnail sketches,” which specifically highlight practical examples in the field. Thumbnail sketches will be divided into both attempted/completed project initiatives that attempt to address issues of student enrollment – regardless of the initiative’s success (750-1250 words), as well imagined/planned initiatives that have not been implemented (500-1000 words). The final number of chapters and thumbnail sketches will be dependent on the submissions received.  

Recommended Topics 

  • Where are we now in language education and student enrollments in foreign languages?
    • What is the current state of language programs in North America? 
    • What do students think about language learning in higher education? 
    • Why do students (not) enroll in language courses? 
    • How do we find out what students want out of language programs? 
    • What impact do departmental and program structures have on student enrollment? 
    • What possible or potential solutions exist (at the program, department, institutional or consortia level? 
    • What difference in approaches do we see in addressing foreign language enrollment in commonly taught versus less commonly taught languages?  
  • Less commonly heard voices
    • How do smaller institutions/community colleges deal with the issues? 
    • What is the impact of college DEI initiatives on world language study?  
    • What are the experiences of students who are first-time college attendees, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, etc. in language study, and how does this impact enrollment? 
  • Barriers to language study (Why don’t students study foreign languages?)
    • Who is participating in WL study?  
    • Structural issues that might impact enrollment 
    • What is the perception of value from students?  
    • What is the impact of K-12 experience on enrollment?  
    • What are the requirements from the university? 
  • What innovative approaches have been tried?
    • Partnering with communities (including Indigenous partners), non-traditional students, etc. 
    • How can students be encouraged to study foreign languages in our classrooms versus other options?  
    • What programs and projects that engage local community with language learning? 
    • How can we overcome some of the (perceived) barriers? 
    • Whose job is any of this to do? 


Tentative timeline 

  • November 1, 2021 – Proposal submission deadline 
  • December 2021 – Notification of accepted proposal 
  • (Book proposal submitted to Springer for review) 
  • February/March 2022 – Communication with authors to write full chapters or thumbnail sketches 
  • August 1, 2022 – Full chapter submission deadline 
  • November/December 2022 – Internal review of chapters (all contributors will receive a submission to edit) 
  • January/February 2023 – Book submitted to publisher 
  • Spring/Summer 2023 – Proofs/minor revisions