Faculty News

Spring 2018, Congratulations to Regine Criser, Asst Professor of German (Award for Excellent Teaching by Untenured Faculty) & Barbara Duncan, Adjunct Instructor of Cherokee (Award for Excellent Teaching by Part-Time Faculty)

Summer 2017, Regine Criser 
has received nationwide recognition with the AATG/Goethe-Institut Certificate of Merit for outstanding achievement in furthering the teaching of German in schools of the United States. 

Summer 2017, Peru, Juan Sanchez Martinez
For the past year and a half, Fredy Amílcar Roncalla (Quechua poet in NY) and Juan Sanchez Martinez (Professor of Modern Languages and Indigenous Studies at UNCA) worked on a compilation of poetry and essays based on Quechua epistemologies. Specifically, they researched about Andean understandings of time. Muyurina—a place to move, in Quechua—guided their project as a metaphor that challenges linear visualizations of time. Muyurina means to go and to return, to dance in the womb and in the ceremony, to understand where the future is going because the past is ahead of oneself. Thanks to the University Research Council Grant, on summer 2017 Professor Sanchez Martinez visited some Quechua writers and advocates from Peru such as Gloria Cáceres, Dante Gonzalez, and Hernán Hurtado Trujillo, who contributed in the compilation Muyurina y el presente profundo: poéticas andino-amazónicas. The main objectives of this book are: 1) to propose an alternative perspective on time through oral traditions and contemporary indigenous literatures; 2) to support the indigenous understanding of storytelling as a way of knowledge; 3) and to facilitate a trans-indigenous dialogue between environmental movements and indigenous writers across the Americas. This project has addressed questions such as: What is the connection between biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and native languages? What is the predominant mindset on time in the geopolitical battle for gold, oil, coal, water, medicines, and soil? How can stories and literature defend nature and become a bridge between indigenous knowledge and Western science?

Summer 2017, Spain and the Camino de Santiago
Michelle Bettencourt and Rodger Payne (Religious Studies) led a group of students on an exploration of the rich history in Madrid and Toledo before spending a week in Valladolid, studying at one of Spain’s prominent universities and living with local families.  The final week was spent hiking 117 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James), one of the most significant pilgrimages of the Christian world, which dates back to the 9th century. Along the way, they passed through remote villages and towns, visited important architectural and artistic landmarks, and met other Pilgrims from around the world before arriving at the end of the Camino, Santiago de Compostela.

Spring Break 2017 - Greta Trautmann & Maria Cebria - took a group of students to Havana, Cuba.  Students were enrolled in either LA 478 (Cultivating Global Citizenship (Trautmann) or SPAN 374 (Cuba Today: Visual Arts, Literature and History (Cebria). Students met with scholars and professionals from various disciplines who engaged them with historical realities as well as with current developments in artistic movements, sustainability and cultural heritage and technology and communication. Non-academic excursions included: guided tour of La Habana Vieja (Old Havana); visits to the Cemetery of Colón; Museum of the Revolution, Contemporary Art Museum (Cuban Collection); visit to Cigar factory and Rum distillery; an overnight trip to the Terrazas biosphere and Vinales.  Students also participated in a service project of El espiral community foundation, in which they assisted in re-painting an elementary school in a very modest neighborhood west of the city.

John Gant presented his investigation on Class as Seen in the "Whorehouse Gallery" of La Celestina (1499) at the 25th National Conference of Hispanic and Latino Studies in Dallas, Texas on February 16, 2017.

    In addition, he moderated in Dallas on the 17th two sessions through the National Associatioon of African American Studies: 
1) Self-determined Revolution: Maternal Activism in Alice Walker's Meridian, and 2) Effects on Parental involvement on Elementary School Students' Academic and Behavior Outcomes:Testing the Epstein-White Model.

Oliver Gloag welcomed documentary film-maker Dominique Dubosc to show a screening of LIP, or the Taste for Collective Action (in French with English Subtitles) March 6.  The historical strike by workers of the clock-making factory of LIP (1973-74), because of the importance of the questions it raised, the way it was organized inside the factory, momentum and popularity, became one of the great French social events of the second half of the twentieth century.

Regine Criser hosted the Symposium on Diversity, Decolonialization, and the German Curriculum, March 3-5.  She welcomed 30 German scholars and educators from across the United States, Canada, and South Africa to participate.  Their goal was to leave our campus with an action plan on how to diversify and decolonize their respective curricula and connect the German programs to larger institutional and national social justice discourses.

It is our great honor to share with you that our dear Juan Sánchez has received the National Prize for Literature in Colombia for his book of poems titled Altamar:

On October 13th, 2016, at the National University Theater Camilo Torres in Medellín (Colombia), the 34th National Prize for Literature was given this year to Juan Guillermo Sánchez Martínez, who participated with his book of poetry Altamar (High sea). As Luz Helena Cordero Villamizar, Horacio Benavides and Gustavo Adolfo Garcés explain in the judges’ concept, Altamar was chosen among 80 books because of "the rhythm of the poems, the confluence of voices from various indigenous American languages, and the poetic voice in-between roots and rootlessness ... ". In the following months the book will be released by the Universidad de Antioquia Publisher.

At the International Conference Comunication, Identity and Interculturality hosted by CIESPAL (https://www.unca.edu/sanchez-national-literature-prize), Juan G. Sánchez Martínez accepted a new position as President of SOLEI, The Latin American Society of Intercultural Studies. He will be leading the organization of the 2018 Conference in Colombia. He hopes UNCA faculty and students participate in this important event!

Publication: Regine Criser. "Disruptions of the Archive:Renegotiating German History in Autobiographical Fiction after 1989." Archive and Memory in German Literature and Visual Culture (Edinburg Yearbook of German. Vol. 9), 179-194.

Elena Adell and Greta Trautmann, along with colleague Steve Elliott-Gower from Georgia College and State University are building a Faculty Development Initiative in Havana, Cuba for December 2015 (CoPlacCuba 2015:Cuba in a Global Context).  Twenty faculty members from fifteen different COPLAC institutions will join these three for six days in Havana this December.  Faculty represent disciplines from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, and will listen to Cuban scholars and experts give talks on topics ranging from natural resource management and ecotourism, to economic realities and changes on the island, to the role and the presence of civil (non-government) agencies in Cuba. Academic presentations will be complemented with excursions in the city, as well as one to Terrazas, a sustainable community and natural biosphere near Havana.

John Eric Gant was the recipient of the 2015 Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award.  "This award is presented annually to one faculty member who has gone above and beyond the call of duty. It recognizes those faculty whose service to students goes beyond the classroom and who have distinguished themselves as extraordinary mentors and advisors."

Michelle Bettencourt's article "Supporting Student Learning Outcomes Through Service Learning," has been published in Foreign Language Annals, 48(3), 473-490 (2015).

Publication, John Eric Gant, "Espejo de Paciencia: A Reflection of Creole Dominance." Transformation of the Color Scheme in a Global Society. Ed. NAAAS & Affiliates. Scarborough, ME. November 2014. CD-ROM.