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A Note from the Chair

| Carter Smith

“The ABCs of Languages”

Greetings fellow lovers of all things Languages.  Let’s take an alphabetical look at what’s going on in our department.

C = Change.  After six years (2016-2022) of excellent departmental leadership, Dr. Matt Waters (Ancient Studies, Classics, Greek, and Latin) stepped down as Chair of Languages.  We are all particularly grateful for his caring and skillful guidance through the semesters so dramatically affected by COVID. As you can imagine, teaching a second language and directing a department via Zoom or Teams, leaves much to be desired!  Thank you, Matt.

C = Chinese.  Dr. Kaishan Kong spent the AY 2021-2022 on sabbatical as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia working on a project titled, “Building global bridges: Utilizing multilingual and multicultural resources in Malaysian classrooms.”  You can read more about her research and experiences in this edition of the Polyglot.

E = ESL.  Our ESL program continues to provide international students here at UWEC with top notch teaching and advising as they work to help them matriculate into their chosen fields of study.  A new face to this program is Shannon Roach, who joined ESL last academic year, 2021-2022.  Check out our website to learn more about Shannon.

F = French.  Our award-winning French program would like to welcome Amanda Hilson to the department.  Amanda has years of teaching experience at the secondary and post-secondary level and we are excited to have her as part of the department.  As with Shannon in ESL, you can check our website to learn more about Amanda.  For those of you who knew Lise Hoy, she left UWEC for a position in the Twin Cities.

G = German.  May of 2021 brought the retirement of Dr. Martina Lindseth after more than 20 years of award-winning teaching, scholarship, and service to our department and university.  Her retirement brought the opportunity to add Dr. Derek Drake to Languages as a Visiting Assistant Professor. You can read more about him in our department website.  Our award-winning (you can see a pattern here) German program is led by Dr. Josh Brown who, coincidentally, received the UWEC Excellence in Scholarship award this year.  There is an article about his award in this edition of the Polyglot.

H -= Hmong.  We are so pleased that Charles Vue (Office of Multicultural Affairs) came out of a recent retirement to teach Hmong 101 and 102 for us this year.  His dedication and passion for the Hmong language and culture is so very evident to our students.

J = Japanese.  Dr. Tomomi Kakegawa continues to provide leadership and outstanding instruction to our students who want to minor in Japanese.  Tomomi has introduced Japanese calligraphy into the curriculum this year!

O = Ojibwe.  Dr Wendy Geniusz, our long-time professor of Ojibwe language and culture left UWEC for a position at York University in Toronto, Canada.  We miss her but wish her well.

S = Sabbaticals.  As evidence of the first-rate scholarship that takes place in our department, FOUR faculty are on full-year sabbaticals.  Drs. Analisa DeGrave, Jessica Miller, Fabiola Varela-Garcia and Matt Waters all are working on various and interesting projects.  We’ll have more information about them and their projects in the next edition of the Polyglot.  As mentioned earlier, Dr. Kaishan Kong was on sabbatical this past year and Dr. Anne Hlas had a sabbatical this past Spring, 2022.  You can read about both in the current edition of our newsletter.

S = Spanish.  Spanish connecting with Nursing; Spanish connecting with History; Spanish connecting with the College of Education and Human Sciences; Spanish connecting with Communication Sciences and Disorders; Spanish connecting with the Eau Claire Area School District.  The power of what our students in Languages can do with AND!  Finally, Nuria Hoff, our long-time colleague and friend, retired at the end of the fall semester of 2021.  We wish her all the best in this new chapter of life!

Please read about these and all of the amazing initiatives that faculty and staff are creating for our students in the Department of Languages.

So, I’ve run out of letters from our Languages’ alphabet.  Let me return to C = Change. I cherish this department and our university.  So, I accepted the opportunity to return as Chair for the last two or three years of my career here at UWEC.  Our department is blessed to have such talented and dedicated teachers and advisors for our students.  We continue to believe that we provide a vital component in the undergraduate liberal arts education offered at UWEC by promoting multilingualism as the key to intercultural understanding.  This has never been more important than now.  Though there has been a change in the Chair position, something never changes: that is our dedication to our students, our university, and our community.

If you are alumni and are going to be in Eau Claire, please stop by to see us. Better yet, let us know beforehand and we can set up a visit between you and our current students.  If you would like to contribute to the Languages general fund, we would greatly appreciate that as well.

I/We wish you a wonderful Fall season and all the best in the future.