Modern language teacher wins leadership award


Dr. Nancy Zimmerman, Associate Professor of Modern Languages, won the Frank Muhlern Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) for her outstanding leadership in the global language profession.

“I am very honored not only to be nominated for the most important award our state organization, PSMLA, has to offer, the Frank Mulhern Leadership Award, but to actually receive this prestigious honor,” said Zimmerman. “I thank my colleague, Dawn Slack, for feeling that I deserve this huge award and for reaching out to my former PSMLA students and co-members who supported her nomination.”

Zimmerman received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from Millersville University and received his MA in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Delaware. His passion for linguistic and cultural diversity began at the age of 12 in Puerto Rico. Her parents bought a retirement home in the Caribbean where, for decades, she was able to explore and experience island life in Puerto Rico, becoming a local herself.

At KU, Zimmerman immerses himself in the diversity of languages ​​and cultures, teaching and counseling students from all walks of life. She started in 1998 as an interim, obtained her doctorate in 2011 and was established in 2016. She has taught all levels of Spanish, including oral and written communication for Spanish-speaking heritage learners, cinema , translation, Walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, syntax, children’s literature in Spanish and advanced composition and conversation.

One of her main achievements was to research Spanish as a heritage language for her doctoral thesis and to be invited by the head of the KU department, Dr Karen Rauch, to set up a course and teach it. One of the greatest honors of his career was the presentation of two of the most renowned scholars in the field, Guadalupe Valdes and Maria Carrera, during his session at an international conference on heritage languages ​​- both him gave very positive feedback.

Zimmerman has been successful in involving many of his future language teachers in PSMLA conferences and workshops. Thanks to grants from KU College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, KU Foundation, and KU Undergraduate Research Committee, not only were they able to attend lectures from 2008 to today, but many have worked on research that was then presented at these professional conferences. . This gave KU language students the opportunity to work with the best teachers in the state.

In 2014, Zimmerman was awarded the North East Council for Teachers of Foreign Language (NECTFL) Sans Inc. program, Mead Leadership Fellows, 2014, for a bilingual children’s book she had written. In 2018, she obtained a sabbatical leave during which she and her husband covered the last stage (110 km) of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Walking through Galicia, Spain and attending Pilgrim Mass in the famous Santiago Cathedral was awe-inspiring for both of them.

The Frank Mulhern Leadership Award recognizes the exemplary work of an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the global language profession in the state, region and / or nation and who has also made a significant contribution to the work of the PSMLA. The recipient must have been a member of PSMLA for at least 10 years and must still be active in the work for which the award is being awarded. In addition, the recipient has made a significant contribution at regional and / or national levels through one or more of the following or similar activities: serving on the boards of regional and national associations of foreign languages; present frequently at regional or national conferences; and / or lead curriculum development efforts with regional and / or national impact.


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