Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: January 14, 2013 2:01:51 PM PST
WWU German Program Receives Prestigious National Honor

Contact: Shannon Dubenion-Smith, WWU Assistant Professor of German & German Section Coordinator, (360) 650-3927

BELLINGHAM – Western Washington University’s German program recently received national recognition, as one of only two college and university programs in the country designated this year as a German Center of Excellence.

The German Studies program at Michigan State University was also recognized.

Western’s German program, part of the university’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, received the designation from the American Association of Teachers of German, according to a letter to the university from association executive director Keith Cothrun.

“We are excited to be nationally recognized as a German Center of Excellence,” said Shannon Dubenion-Smith, Western assistant professor of German and German Section coordinator. “Our success speaks directly to the excellence of Western Washington University. Along with my faculty colleagues Sandra Alfers, Petra Fiero, and Cornelius Partsch, I look forward to sharing the great news with our students.”

Cothrun noted that the selection jury found Western’s German program to be well established and growing, with exemplary faculty and appropriate faculty-student ratio, strong support from the administration, professional colleagues, alumni, students, and parents, and strong ties to the wider campus and community. Extracurricular activities and special events are clearly integral elements of the program. 

“The German Program at Western Washington University certainly values students. The jury noted that department faculty members clearly value student feedback and the application provided abundant evidence of the good rapport the faculty has with its students. This is truly a program that is designed to meet the needs of your students,” Cothrun wrote.

Most impressive, Cothrun said, is the program’s curriculum: “There is a clear, articulated sequence of instructional programming that is standards-based and reflects current methodologies. Outcomes at each instructional level are clearly articulated and diverse learning styles are respected through varied instructional and assessment techniques. The materials used in the program are culturally authentic and interdisciplinary connections have been established.”

The organization is sending the German program a plaque in recognition of its designation, as well as a check for $500.

A number of students in Western’s German program have received prestigious scholarships and fellowships, including Fulbrights and DAAD awards from the German government.

The study of German language and culture at Western is part of the university’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, which also includes Chinese, Classical Studies, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

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