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University Language Centres Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities and Threats in changing and challenging times.

Prof. Ray Satchell

University of Sussex

          University Language Centres across Europe and beyond have a rich and diverse history. Through our national, pan-European and international associations, we have been able to forge close, deep links in the realms of research, teaching methodology, language assessment, the applications of new technologies and staff and student exchange. The past 30 years has been a period of expansion and great success in our sector, linked to rapid globalization and the need to facilitate the transformation of our students into global citizens, free to travel, live and work across the world. Simultaneously, Language Centre Management Teams have been required to produce periodic Strategic, Operational and Financial plans, many of which have required detailed risk registers and SWOT analyses.

          As we now find ourselves in a much more challenging environment, where many previous assumptions can no longer be taken completely for granted, I will present a current SWOT analysis of our sector and propose updates for our common Risk Register.



         Ray Satchell, Director of the University of Sussex Centre for Language Studies (SCLS), has worked in the higher education and language training sectors of various countries, including Finland, Mozambique, Sweden, the Ukraine, and Vietnam. His employers have included British Airways, the British Council, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the Universities of Bristol, Helsinki, Stockholm and Tampere. He is the founding and former Chair of the Association of University Language Centres in the UK and Ireland (AULC), and a former Vice-President of CERCLES.  He has been the executive board representative for both LSP and EAP on the UK University Council for Modern Languages (UCML), the treasurer of the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes (BALEAP) and an advisory board member of the UK Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies. He has also been the external advisor on Learning, Teaching and Portfolio reviews at the Universities of Aberdeen, Cork, Exeter, Warwick, the LSE and UCD.

         Ray has been the Director of SCLS since September 2010. He moved to Sussex from the University of Bristol, where he had worked for over 21 years as the Director of the Language Centre, and an Associate Director of the Centre for East Asian Studies. During his time at Bristol, he was also the instigator and subsequent Head of the University International Foundation Programme.