For the love of French: Schroth helps boost enrollment in program


Mary Ellen Greenburg

Ryan Schroth, a French professor, sits at his desk Wednesday, May 3. Schroth is the only French professor at Eastern.

Mary Ellen Greenburg, Staff Reporter

In his first semester, French professor Ryan Schroth went from being able to count the number of his students in his 1102 class on one hand, to having nearly a full class.

Several French classes have increased the amount of student enrollment this past year from single to double digits as a result of the determination of professor Schroth.

Schroth’s love for the French language evolved at an early age and as a result he has brought the language into the limelight after spending only a year on campus.

Enrollment in his two classes has increased by 90 percent.

When he started teaching at Eastern,  his first job after receiving his doctorate, the single digit numbers in French classes were a big issue.

Schroth said he felt that what was going on at the administrative and state level was tentative and  he knew he could raise the enrollment.

“A university just can’t justify, for a long time, classes with five people. I completely understand that,” Schroth said.

Using experiences from his time spent abroad and in school, Schroth deployed several methods to “revitalize, renew and breathe fresh air into the French program,” including posting informative posters around campus that said “French is Fun,” “French is Practical” and “French is Chic.”

He also brought different activities to campus, bought advertising on social media and told his students to spread the word to friends needing a foreign language credit.

These activities include a French table and French club, which is open to students and community, regardless of the level of French they know.

Schroth said he always thought the French language was different, exotic, exciting and a little romantic.

Learning another language changes the way students think, the way they think about themselves and the world, he added.

“The language is a representative of the culture, how the French speak is reflective of how they live their life and the values that they hold,” Schroth said. “By studying the language it allows you to see into the culture of another group of individuals. The more you advance in a language the more you tend to explore the language.”

Schroth said students who learn another language are “more open, happier (and) earn more right out of the gate.”

“The jobs are out there — you just have to hunt for them or be promoted into them sometimes,” he said. “Even in the military you have the potential to earn more money just by knowing another language.”

Schroth’s plan to boost enrollment in the French program is still an ongoing process, but it is one that he said is working since enrollment in the program is expected to  increase even more during the Fall 2017 semester.

Mary Ellen Greenburg can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].