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April 13, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Professor reflects on the end of the Russian major

September 28, 2017

In response to “Students criticize termination of Russian major,” published on September 14:

Dear Editor,

My colleague [Annalisa Czeczulin]  and I were integrated into the fabric of the University in ways too numerous to recount, yet sadly, it didn’t matter. Protocol trumped courtesy and decency and two dedicated professors were never warned they were about to lose their beloved program.

We were told after the fact that upper-level Russian courses had been deemed “too advanced” and therefore incompatible with the goals of CLE [Center for Language Education].  But did anyone at the November meeting mention how instrumental those advanced lit courses — all taught in Russian — had been in getting jobs for Hopkins students?   

Did anyone wonder how a Program with low enrollments could have possibly accumulated a whopping 9 majors and minors (our current number) or why the Russian Program historically had a disproportionately large number of major and minors in comparison with its overall enrollments? My colleague and I collect such statistics. Why weren’t we asked to share?

Ultimately, it’s shameful that with all the eternal hype about transparency there was so little of it to go around.     

After next semester our Hopkins students will be able to take one Russian course at Goucher per semester as part of their tuition — if they so choose. As individuals they will still be able to earn a certificate of completion of the Russian major.

And the two of us will still find time to help them because… we don’t follow protocols — we follow our hearts.

Olya Samilenko

Associate Professor of Russian

Director of the Russian Program

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