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German professor honored for commitment to students

Dr. Martina Lindseth, a professor of German in the department of languages, is the 2014-15 recipient of the Maxwell Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The professorship recognizes a faculty member's commitment to the university, achievement in scholarship and commitment to student learning and life.

"It is a great honor to have received this award and to see my name added to the list of all the amazing past recipients," Lindseth said. "Throughout my career at UW-Eau Claire, I have strived to sustain a meaningful relationship among my teaching, scholarship and service, and to assume leadership roles in these areas on university, UW System and national levels. This award is special because it acknowledges the importance of this relationship. In a special way, this award recognizes the Power of AND."

Lindseth's ability to successfully combine her scholarship, teaching and commitment to students makes her a highly valued member of the university community, said Dr. Carter Smith, chair of the department of languages.

"Dr. Lindseth's scholarship, teaching expertise and commitment to the students of the German program are uniquely intertwined and work so closely together that, were they to be separated, each part would suffer," Smith said. "Her work demonstrates quality and a very high commitment to the institution and to the students. Not only is she an internationally recognized scholar in the field of oral proficiency, she is also a top-notch instructor."

Lindseth, an expert in the area of second language acquisition and oral proficiency development, has published articles in national and international journals. Since 2005, she has been a certified oral proficiency tester for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Public and private entities all across the world use testers like Lindseth to rate a candidate's language proficiency in a second language.

In 2011, Lindseth received the distinction of ACTFL OPI Trainer in German and English, allowing her to train and mentor faculty at UW-Eau Claire and elsewhere in the United States in oral proficiency assessment and curriculum development. In 2012, the director of the ACTFL Professional Programs promoted her to the Quality Assurance Team, a five-member team that oversees national initiatives to support the entire network of testers and raters, and to maintain ACTFL standards for inter-rater reliability. Lindseth is one of only three ACTFL-certified Oral Proficiency Trainers in German in the country.

Working with her colleagues, Lindseth spearheaded a recent initiative to reform the German curriculum at UW-Eau Claire. Since the changes were implemented three years ago, there has been an almost 40 percent increase in the number of students with German majors and minors on campus.

"Martina was my mentor when I arrived at UW-Eau Claire and she continues to hold that role even now in my career," said Dr. Josh Brown, assistant professor of German. "I would be lost without her wise guidance and steadfast support. Colleagues consistently seek out her expertise on language pedagogy and classroom management; students are drawn to the pleasurable and challenging classroom atmosphere that she creates."

Lindseth will use the funds awarded with the Max Schoenfeld Distinguished Professorship to travel to Germany to collaborate with leading European scholars at Leipzig University on the study of language acquisition and assessment. She also plans to attend a workshop at Stanford University relating to the development and assessment of writing proficiency, gathering new ideas to further enhance UW-Eau Claire courses.

The award is named for Dr. Maxwell Schoenfeld, a respected history professor and scholar who taught at UW-Eau Claire from 1964-96.It is funded by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.