Chair of Modern Languages and Classics, Dr. Jennifer Rathbun

Dr. Jennifer Rathbun

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne

Greetings from the Chair of Modern Languages and Classics! First and foremost, let me say that we want to hear from you—our amazing alumni. We would love to feature you on our website. Your stories help inspire the next generations of language students!

Students continue to get lost in the maze of North Quad, but MLC and the study of languages certainly help its students navigate their futures. The study of languages opens doors to infinite possibilities.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English?

2021-2022 has been an exciting year here at MLC. For starters, in July 2021, I joined the department and Ball State community, and I’ve loved every minute of it! MLC houses so many fantastic programs, professors, and students.

This year, the department launched a new minor in Arabic Language, Religion, and Culture that offers unique insights into one of the world’s most critical languages and civilizations. Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese, all less-commonly taught languages, continue to be offered right here in MLC at Ball State! In Fall 2022, the department looks forward to piloting its first Latinx studies class under the direction of Dr. Charlie Geyer.

Our outstanding faculty continue to be recognized in their fields. Associate Professor of Spanish, Dr. Chin-Sook Pak, was awarded the AATSP 2022 Outstanding Scholarly Publication Award (Hispania). AATSP is the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Founded in 1917, it is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive language-specific professional association in the United States. Associate Professor of French, Dr. Dorothy Stegman, was selected as the Indiana French Teacher of the Year for 2021, level Collegiate.

Also, this servant, Dr. Jennifer Rathbun, Professor of Spanish, won the Academy for American Poets Ambroggio Award 2021 which included the publication of my translation of the poetry collection Cardinal in my Window with a Mask on its Beak by Colombian author Carlos Aguasaco at the University of Arizona Press. Associate Professor of Chinese, Dr. Liu Li, was selected as the Teacher of the Year by the Chinese Language Teacher Association in Indiana (CLTA-IN) because of her excellent performance and dedication to Chinese language teaching. Additionally, Dr. Li received an impressive grant from the National Security Agency for $123,000. Associate Professor of Spanish, Dr. Stephen Hessel, has launched a very successful podcast bringing the study of Cervantes into the 21st Century. You should subscribe to Pod Quixote.

In May 2022, MLC will celebrate the retirement of beloved professors Dr. Guohe Zheng, Professor of Japanese, and Dr. Laura Seset, Teaching Professor of German. Dr. Seset has taught at Ball State for 18 years and Dr. Zheng for 25 years.

At our annual Honors Ceremony, 13 students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements, and more than 12,000 dollars were awarded to help them fulfill their academic goals.

In Spring 2022, MLC was able to host renowned speakers. Classics Professor, Dr. Luis Arturo Guichard, from the University of Salamanca in Spain delivered a talk on Memory and Communication in Greek verse inscriptions as part of the Stegman Lecture Series. Internationally recognized for his expertise in sociolinguistics and applied linguistics in Spanish speaking communities, Dr. Glenn Martínez delivered a talk on Reflections on Language and Latino Health in and beyond the times of COVID-19. Dr. Martínez is Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at the University of Texas San Antonio.

We are so grateful for all of you who contributed on One Ball State Day on April 5, 2022—MLC raised $3,665.00 from 71 gifts which will go directly into student scholarships!

For more information about the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, visit our website, contact our office, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.