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Margaret Brooks with Howard Thomas
Margaret Brooks with Howard Thomas

Internal News - 03 November 2005

Farewell to Margaret Brooks

Margaret Brooks takes early retirement on Friday 4 November.

Margaret taught German in the one-year undergraduate Single Language Options begun in 1990 by the School of Modern Languages, and in 1993 became head of what was later the Foreign Languages Centre. Its name changed over time, but the acronym SLOps, originally a joke, attracted affection and stuck despite official displeasure.

Soon after, Margaret inaugurated evening language classes. The Centre for Continuing Education recognised their value for its outreach programme and a collaboration ensued, with Margaret coordinating the academic arrangements for several years before handing over to a colleague. She also set up and ran Languagelink to bring together language learners, and the ever popular Lunchtime Languages series.

Her best-known achievement, however, was and has remained SLOps, which she soon extended to cover all undergraduate years and to include postgraduates. In 2005-6 nearly one thousand undergraduates and three hundred postgraduates are taking classes in seven languages, some as integral parts of their degrees and others as additional units. Margaret has a team of about thirty tutors who teach them.

Margaret was originally to retire in September, and a farewell party was held, but she was persuaded to stay for another few weeks. This time, she insists, she really is going. She leaves with the warmest wishes and the gratitude of her colleagues and the many University and community students she has helped.