Department of Modern Foreign Languages & Literatures


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Notes from the Department Head — Dr. Adrian DelCaro

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Greetings to all and congratulations to our students on completing their degrees in MFLL! In spring 2015, 66 students earned the bachelor’s degree (18 of them in the LWB program), 10 earned the master’s and 5 were awarded the doctoral degree. The faculty and staff of MFLL are very proud of you, eager to follow your careers and to be of help to you – please be proud of your degree from UT!


As I look back briefly on an eventful year for our department, a number of events should be mentioned, but I will try not to duplicate the wonderful news assembled by my colleagues for this issue of the Newsletter. Professor Jon LaCure (PhD Indiana U, 1991) is now Associate Professor Emeritus, having earned this status upon completing his career in 2014. He came to the University of Tennessee as an Assistant Professor of Japanese in 1991, when he created the Japanese minor and strengthened our Language and World Business concentration to include the 400-level sequence and a standardized proficiency test.  He had been responsible for chairing the Japanese program, doing all the scheduling, advising, hiring of lecturers and teaching assistants, and interactions with the outside world since 1996 for Japanese and at times for both Chinese and Japanese.  Jon published more than a dozen articles, review articles, and reviews in various literary journals including Modern Haiku, the most prestigious of the literary journals on haiku. He also published poetry and prose pieces in journals such as American Tanka, Frogpond, Persimmon, Bottle Rockets, and Hermitage.  In 1998 he was the winner of a Richard R. Imig Award for best essay in Modern Haiku.  In 2005, he was the first American winner of the British Haiku Society Nobuyuki Yuasa International Haibun Contest. Our best wishes to Jon and our thanks for his stewardship of Japanese at UT.


In 2014 we were joined by Anne-Hélène Miller (see feature article), our new colleague in French, and in 2015 we will be joined by Bernard Issa, our new colleague in Spanish linguistics. In 2014 Maria Stehle  was promoted to Associate Professor, and Laura Atwood, Jiechun Li, and Rossy Toledo were promoted to Senior Lecturer.


I am pleased to acknowledge the generous service of three outstanding UT alums who volunteered to form the first-ever MFLL Advisory Board: Chad Goldman (Chair, Spanish-LWB), Melissa Field (German), and Christopher Ahler (Italian) are our external members; Ashley Jakubek (French) was our student representative for 2014/15.


This year two MFLL students earned major national awards (see the features on Desiree Dube, Russian and Paige Scrivener, Global Studies/Chinese); three MFLL faculty earned awards at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Ceremony (see features re Profs. Cano, Dubreil, Handelsman). By any standard, our students and faculty had an exceptional year in terms of honors and awards. Finally, Dean Theresa Lee honored one of our distinguished alums, Chad Goldman, with the Divisional Achievement Award (Humanities) in April 2015. Chad Goldman and his partner Brian Pendleton were honored recently by UT, for their creation of generous endowments in support of our Language Resource Center. At an April ceremony in the Alumni Memorial Building, a plaque acknowledging their gift was unveiled.


At this time of year a department head looks forward and looks back, Janus-like, and does so with a sense of gratitude and hope.

Cordially, Adrian Del Caro.

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