Dear colleagues, Following a consultation process begun formally in Autumn 2022, the proposal for a name change for our organisation was put to the vote on Friday 14th July at our Summer Plenary AGM, and overwhelmingly passed. Therefore, we are now to be known as The University Council For Languages (UCFL).

We intend to rebrand accordingly in due course. If you mention UCFL in publications, email signatures, social media or the like, and for all our SIGs, please now use the new name. Our Twitter handle has changed to @UCFLangs, however @UCML mentions will still lead to the new handle. Our Facebook page has been updated and the website is beginning the same journey. You can read more about the consultation and the rationale for the decision here. A summary of the headlines is as follows:

  • The University Council of Modern Languages has changed its name in its 30th anniversary year following an extensive consultation process.
  • Our consultation brought up the association of ‘modern’ with European languages, and colonial discourses. The original designation of modern was used to distinguish ‘Modern Languages’ as a discipline from Classics and English with a focus on active production of the language. However, the slippage of the term and its more recent connotations seemed to us to point to the need to remove the ‘modern’ from our name to achieve greater inclusivity.
  • To avoid concerns about brand recognition we opted to keep the name and acronym as close as possible to our previous name while achieving significant change by removing the term ‘modern’.
  • ‘Languages’ now aligns with all languages: spoken, signed, written, home and community, indigenous, ancient and modern (also with the new Languages Gateway).
  • ‘For’ indicates our mission of advocacy and promotion/defence of education and research in  Languages within Higher Education.
  • We will work to maintain our link with primary and secondary education, through to HE and FE. ‘Modern Languages’ is still a recognised designation for many departments and degree programmes but the learning and teaching of languages in schools is also gradually evolving.
  • ‘Languages’ is an inclusive disciplinary designation and signals all language-related disciplines, including the study of linguistics, cultures, societies, and areas, translation and interpreting, as well as the learning and teaching of languages. UCFL’s remit covers several subject benchmark statements including LCS, Area Studies and Linguistics, and embraces IWLPs as well as degree programmes. Rather than listing components of the disciplinary field within the new name, we opt to give ‘Languages’ the confidence to assert and promote all of the activity that happens under this single designation at HE level, and we encourage further work at earlier stages to ensure that the school curriculum widens further.  
  • We will continue to work with stakeholders and learned societies in all language-related disciplines and build relationships across the field.

  We can send the new logo on request.

With my best wishes on behalf of the Steering Group,
Professor Emma Cayley, Chair of the University Council For Languages.

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