Department celebrates teaching and research success

With a string of teaching and research successes lately, the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures is celebrating.In the last month, faculty in the department have received a number of teaching and research awards from students and peers.The Department, which offers full-degree programs and one-off courses in French, Italian, Spanish and other international languages, linguistics and literatures, is launching a new program in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Cultures this Fall. Tamara El-Hoss, incoming department chair, said these accolades could not have come at a better time.“These awards endorse the exceptional quality of our instructors’ work in teaching languages and literatures from other cultures to our students,” El-Hoss said. “Whether it is recognition for motivating and challenging students to learn in creative ways, adapting teaching styles to fit with students’ various learning styles, or recognition for international work, these accomplishments speak volumes about the rigorous teaching values in our area.”Recent successes include:Leslie Boldt, professor of French Studies, was invited to become a Distinguished International Fellow of the London Graduate School — a new doctoral program in contemporary critical theory launching at the end of June and starting in September. Fellows are scholars from around the world who are invited to present their current research at weekly graduate seminars in central London, in locations such as Tate Modern or the British Academy, and to participate in other school events such as conferences and graduate workshops.Astrid Heyer, assistant professor of French Studies, was presented with the Brock University Students’ Union’s inaugural Faculty of Humanities, Student Award for Teaching Excellence. Students who nominated Heyer commented that she “makes her classroom a safe place for students to experience mistakes by turning ‘corrections’ into ‘teaching moments’.” Also, “she knows every student by name and makes her lessons relevant to them.” One student, who considered Heyer the best professor she had had for two years running, decided to select French as her major.Cristina Santos, associate professor of Iberian and Latin American Studies, received a “Making a Difference” award from Brock’s Services for Students with Disabilities, which recognizes professors for their significant contributions to the academic life of students with disabilities. Students nominated the professors. “Without Prof. Santos, I would have given up and ‘made do’ with a poor listening environment, which is typically what happens for many of us who are deafened when we encounter barriers or resistance in terms of people’s attitudes,” said the student who nominated Santos. With Santos’ help, “I don’t miss much of what is said in graduate seminars. I can participate more fully in discussions and contribute with much less stress.”