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 Jocelyn Wyburd, University of Cambridge.

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 are UCML branches in Scotland and Wales. The current Chairs are:

  • Scotland: Dr Mary Fischer, Edinburgh Napier University;
  • Wales: Dr Catherine Chabert, Cardiff University.

There is representation from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the Executive Committee (see below)

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: Lesley Twomey


Steering Group and Executive Committee


Post Representing Start date Finish date
Steering Group      
Chair Jocelyn Wyburd Jan 2014 Jan 2017  (18)
Vice Chair, Research Naomi Segal Jan 2012 Jan 2016
Vice Chair, External Engagement and Communications Teresa MacKinnon July 2012 July 2016
Vice Chair, Language & Intercultural Education Paul Rowlett Jan 2014  Jan 2017 (18)
Hon. Secretary Lesley Twomey  Feb 2012

 Jan 2016

Hon. Treasurer Elodie Vialleton July 2013

 July 2016 (17)

Executive Committee      
Area Studies Ulrich Tiedau Jan 2012 Jan 2016
English Language Teaching (ELT) Jane Magee Aug 2013 July 2016 (17)
Institution-wide Language Teaching John Morley  Jan 2012 Jan 2016
Language Teaching Elena Polisca July 2012 July 2016
East Asian Studies Gerda Wielander July 2012 July 2015

Middle Eastern Studies

Oliver Bast

Jan 2015

Jan 2018(19)

French Studies Diana Holmes July 2014 July 2017 (18)
Hispanic and Luso Studies Andrew Ginger Jan 2012

Jan 2016

Italian Daniela La Penna July 2012 July 2016
Germanic and Low Country Studies Roel Vismans Jan 2015 Jan 2018 (19)
Slavonic and East European Matthias Neumann Jan 2015 Jan 2018 (19)
Linguistics Richard Waltereit Jan 2015 Jan 2018 (19)
Translation and Interpreting Rebecca Tipton July 2012 July 2015 (16)
UCML Northern Ireland John Gillespie July 2011 July 2015
UCML Scotland Marion Spöring March 2015 July 2018 (19)
UCML Wales Catherine Chabert July 2014 July 2017 (18)
LLAS Centre (by invitation) Michael Kelly / Alison Dickens    
ALL Co-opted Rachel Middleton August 2014 August 2015
Initial Teacher Training Co-opted Shirley Lawes Sept. 2014 Sept 2015
 HEA (by invitation)

Catriona Cunningham

October 2014