About UCML

The University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) is the overarching national organisation which represents the interests of modern languages, linguistics and cultural and area studies in higher education throughout the United Kingdom, and works with corresponding bodies in other countries. It is chaired by Michael Gratzke, University of Hull.

What does UCML do?


  • represents the views and opinions of scholars and professionals in modern languages to Government, the funding councils and other bodies at national level;
  • collects and disseminates information about the state of study, research and teaching of modern languages in the United Kingdom;
  • provides a forum for debate on issues of concern to its members through meetings, working parties, discussions, conferences, seminars and publications;
  • presents the case for languages in the media.

How does UCML work?

Plenary meetings are held twice a year when issues of interest to members are discussed. The summer plenary is also the Council's AGM. There is also normally an address by a representative or spokesperson for one of the organisations or public agencies with which the UCML has contacts, followed by discussion and debate. We also organise workshops, along the lines of those formerly run by SCHML, addressing issues of relevance to those in leadership and management positions related to languages in Higher Education

The UCML is run by an Executive Committee whose membership reflects the main areas of modern languages. UCML’s Executive Committee is made up of elected representatives of the various language interests, professional and scholarly associations, and other organisations concerned with the research and teaching of languages and their associated cultures.

In the regions: There is a sub-branch of UCML in Scotland: UCMLS, chaired by Dr Mary Fischer, Edinburgh Napier University.  UCMLS nominates a representative to sit on the UCML Executive Committee, which also includes representatives with specific remits to represent Wales and Northern Ireland.


SCHML: In January 2008, the Standing Council of Heads of Modern Languages (SCHML) agreed to dissolve its organisation and amalgamate with UCML. The amalgamated organisation, known as UCML came into being in July 2008.

Constitution and Standing Orders

Information about the objectives and framework of work of the organisation.

The Constitution and Standing Orders have been significantly reviewed during 2010/2011 after considerable consultation with members and the new versions were approved at the UCML AGM plenary meeting in June 2011. As a result of the review, a Steering Group was formed in January 2012, in addition to the Executive Committee.

Enquiries about these and about the work and membership of the Steering Group and Executive Committee to the Honorary Secretary:  Naomi Segal


Steering Group and Executive Committee


Post Representing Start date Finish date
Chair Michael Gratzke Jan 2017 Jan 2020 (21)
Vice Chair, Research Julian Preece Jan 2016 Jan 2019 (20)
Vice Chair, External Engagement and Communications Ana de Medeiros July 2016 July 2019 (20)
Vice Chair, Language & Intercultural Education Elena Polisca July 2015 July 2018 (19)
Hon. Secretary Naomi Segal  May 2016

 May 2019 (20)

Hon. Treasurer Olga Gomez-Cash July 2017

 July 2020 (21)

Area Studies vacant    
English Language Teaching (ELT) Carole MacDiarmid July 2016 July 2019 (20)
Institution-wide Language Teaching Caroline Campbell  Feb 2016  Feb 2019 (20)
Language Teaching Elena Polisca July 2012 combined with VC Language and Intercultural Education
East Asian Studies Derek Hird Jan 2017 Jan 2020 (21)

Middle Eastern Studies

Hilary Kalmbach

Jan 2017

Jan 2020 (21)

French Studies Imogen Long July 2016 July 2019 (20)
Hispanic Studies Par Kumaraswami July 2017

July 2020 (21)

Lusophone Studies Hilary Owen Jan 2017 Jan 2020 (21)
Italian Studies Giuliana Pieri July 2016 July 2019 (20)
Germanic and Low Country Studies Roel Vismans Jan 2015 Jan 2018 (19)
Slavonic and East European Matthias Neumann Jan 2015 Jan 2018 (19)
Linguistics Federico Faloppa July 2017 Jan 2020 (21)
Translation and Interpreting Joanna Drugan July 2015 July 2018 (19)
UCML Northern Ireland Sarah Bowskill Jan 2016 Jan 2019 (20)
UCML Scotland Marion Spöring March 2015 July 2018 (19)
UCML Wales Catherine Chabert July 2014 July 2017 (18)
ALL Co-opted René Koglbauer July 2016 July 2019 (20)
Initial Teacher Training Co-opted Shirley Lawes Sept. 2014 Sept 2017