Monday, December 19, 2011

Prof Mark Thamert Presents at Denver Conference

Summary of the Presentation Given at the November 2011 American Association of Teachers of German National Conference in Denver:

         Grooveshark, Goethe, Good Poems, Good Music
     The greatest of German poems have always enjoyed a rich history of interpretations, or Rezeptionsgeschichte.  Some of the m,ost provocative poems have garnered hundreds of interpretations from their first date of publication to the present. Each of these interpretations reveals something of the intellectual interests of the age and literary milieu in which it was written.
     What are often overlooked are the astonishing musical interpretations of these poems. Goethe's "Erlkönig," for example, elicited over 150 different musical settings since its first publication, a good many of them now available for listening on the web.
     When teaching upper-division German seminars, I ask students to work through a particular poem thoroughly, by comparing it to poems with a similar theme, by memorizing and performing parts or the entire poem, and then by listening to contrasting musical renditions of the poem. For example, on the theme of Geister we will work through classic poems like Goethe's "Erlkönig," "Der Zauberlehrling," and "Der Totentanz." Herder's "Erlkönigs Tochter" provides a fascinating foil for Goethe's "Erlkönig." We explore the theme of Geister further by working through Heine's "Mein Wagen rollet langsam," and "Die Lorelei" along with Brentano's "Lore Lay." Also included are Eichendorff's "Waldgespräch" and Droste-Hülshoff's "Der Knabe im Moor."
     There are about twenty other themes which provide for productive comparisons and assignments. Let me give you an example of three of them:
  • Eichendorff, "Wem Gott will rechte Gunst erweisen"
  • Goethe, "Wanderers Nachtlied I," "Wanderers Nachtlied II"
  • Eichendorff, "Im Abendrot," "Wiegenlied," "Mondnacht," "Zwielicht"
  • Goethe, "An den Mond"
  • Goethe, "Mailied"
  • Heine, "Im wunderschönen Monat Mai"
  • Mörike, "Frühling," "Im Frühling"
  • Rilke, "Vorfrühling"
  • Uhland, "Der Frühlingsglaube"
     What follows are YouTube and Vimeo clips of Goethe's "Erlkönig" as well as Heine's "Die Lorelei."  There are also dozens of performances one can listen to on the web site called Grooveshark, at no charge.  A teacher or student can also go to Apple's iTunes store to download the very finest performances for 99 cents per track.  In the poetry courses I teach, I assign willing students the task of composing their own version of the poems we cover and putting those on YouTube or Vimeo.  Here are some sample clips of "Erlkönig" and "Die Lorelei." 

Erlkönig (Schubert): Anne Sofie von Otter singing Schubert’s Erlkönig. (3:56)önig - Franz Schubert: Male Vocalist with paintings of the Erlkönig legend in video. (4:03);
Beethoven - WoO.131 ‘completed’ version of Erkönig;   Rammstein feat. Thordred –Erlkönig: modern rock version with spoken poem; Dalai Lama - Rammstein Lyrics and English Translation: Rammstein’s Modern interpretation;
Der Erkönig : animated reading of Erlkönig;
Der Erlkönig : Animated interpretation of Erkönig by a German Animated Film schoolönig – elfking : Black-white animation with English subtitles ; Erlkonig: Portuguese film school product, staged, modern thought to poem.

Richard Tauber Sings die Lorelei 1939: Silcher version Sutherland - Die Loreley (Ich weiss nicht) 1960 live recital: Liszt version; Die Lorelei - Erich Kunz – 1939: a capella version from Erich Kunz with lyrics on screen; "Die Lorelei" von Heinrich Heine (Poetry reading): includes English subtitles – Scorpions : Modern rock rendition of the legend of Lorelei by Scorpions in English; Pogues – Lorelei: Light rock version of legend of Lorelei in English

     Conclusion.  Teaching great German poetry becomes an even richer experience when students and teacher can compare and contrast brilliant musical performances of the greatest German poems. Students learn about Rezeptionsgeschichte by exploring questions like, "Why is this 20th century rendition so different from the version written in 1820?  What was happening in Europe during these times?  If you were to compose a song using this poem, how would your music differ from the music we have listened to?" 

   For a full list of 250 German poems I have grouped by theme for this course, please contact me at .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brittany Boll Takes Position in New Prague as German Teacher; Nick Elsen and Brittany to Wed Next Summer

     Hey Pater Mark its Brittany and Nick. Brittany is teaching German at New Prague High School. They have an incredibly strong German program with a ton of German club students. She is enjoying it a lot! Nick is working with adults with disabilities, managing the education program. We will be getting married on August 18th and our ceremony will be at the Gorecki center.
    Advice for current German students: having a language degree truly opens a lot of doors in the working world. Combining a language degree with another can be a dynamic duo. Also studying abroad is so important to have on your resume. It shows that you are a global citizen and can bring a unique experience to their business. Hope all is well with you Pater Mark!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Nürnberg Tradition of Gingerbread Houses Comes to CSB/SJU -- Weihnachten 2011

On December 5th, 2011 the CSB/SJU German Club brought some German Christmas Spirit to campus. With the help of Paula Doebel, a local Gingerbread connoisseur, around 25 students assembled and decorated Gingerbread houses to what some considered the perfection of a master. Students enjoyed the change from their studious atmosphere and brought out their creative sides to craft houses to their liking.

Building houses from the foundation up can prove difficult, but the students met the challenge with gusto and ultimately overwhelming success. With the roofs attached and sturdy, the artwork flowed from the icing bags. The end result showed a wide variety of houses, some with candy-shingled roofs, trees made of pretzels, snowed in porches, backyard swing sets, functioning chimneys, and cobblestone pathways.

The event focused on the creation of Lebkuchen in Nuremberg, Germany and how it has evolved to gingerbread houses. Paula explained how one would make gingerbread from scratch and how best to bake it for not only houses, but gingerbread men and other holiday treats.

Students loved their accomplishments and thoroughly enjoyed showing them off to friends and surely bragged about them to their families.

The German Club would like to Thank Paula for her expert work on this event, and all those who came and put together houses fit for the Christmas table centerpiece.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CNN and Mercer's 2011 Quality of Living Index Name 7 of the Top 10 Cities in the World are in Germany, Austria and Switzerland!

(CNN) – The city of Freud, Klimt and the famed Spanish riding school is top of the pops when it comes to the world’s best cities to live in, according to a new survey.

For the third successive year, Vienna was ranked number one as European cities claimed more than half of the top 25 positions in Mercer's 2011 Quality of Living index, which awards points for a range of criteria, including political and economic stability, culture, health and sanitation, quality of schools, public services and housing.

Zurich in neighboring Switzerland came in second, while New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, was third in the list of 221 cities worldwide.

Top 10 (quality of life):

1. Vienna (Austria)

2. Zurich (Switzerland)

3. Auckland (New Zealand)

4. Munich (Germany)

5. Dusseldorf (Germany)

6. Vancouver (Canada)

7. Frankfurt (Germany)

8. Geneva (Switzerland)

9. Bern (Switzerland)

10. Copenhagen (Denmark)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Matt Beck '09 Teaches in Germany and in China

Hallo Freunde!

Since graduating from CSB/SJU with a degree in German, my life as taken a few interesting turns. Last year, I worked for the Fulbright program in Germany as an English teaching assistant. While there, I decided to spend one more year abroad before beginning to teach in the United States. One of my friends from college was teaching in China and suggested that I apply to his program.

I did so, and I received a teaching position at Zhanjiang Normal University in Zhanjiang, China. Unfortunately, there was a problem processing my visa which led to me being unable to teach at the university level. Without another employment option but still wanting to spend some more time abroad, I decided to begin studying Chinese at the same university where I would have taught.

Studying Chinese here has been quite an experience. For starters, there are only two students in my classes: myself and another one of my college friends who is in the same situation as I am. Also, I'm almost a complete beginner in Chinese, only having met with a tutor a few times in Germany. I have fourteen classes a week here covering all aspects of the Chinese language: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and grammar. So far, the most challenging part has been reading and writing characters. Since each character represents a syllable, a person needs to know a few thousand to be able to read well. To date, I've been able to learn a few hundred. I'm starting to see some patterns, though, and the process of memorizing characters and how to write them correctly is constantly getting easier.

Aside from learning Chinese, I've also found part time jobs at a couple of English tutoring schools. These schools, independent companies that offer weekend classes for interested students, are quite common here. My students range in age from elementary school to high school. Teaching so many different levels is difficult, but rewarding and engaging. It makes me miss full-time teaching, and I hope to get a university position (as well as a matching visa) next semester.

German continues to play a large role in my life. In my free time, I've been keeping my language skills fresh by reading German literature and keeping in touch with my German speaking friends. Also, I've recently been rereading some of the works that we covered in my German romanticism course. Those who know me well know that my study of German led to a passion for the complexities of Turkish immigration to Germany as well as Turkish culture. I had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul when I was working in Germany, and I've been spending quite a bit of time lately reading Turkish novels by Elif Shafak and Orhan Pamuk.

Choosing to study German doesn't necessarily mean that you'll need to find a job in Germany or one that requires language skills. It does, however, open doors to a wide variety of careers and interests. As a freshman at CSB/SJU, I never imagined that I would graduate from college interested in Turkish culture or that I would one day be studying Chinese in China, but my choice to study Germany led to these interests and adventures. Personally, I'm planning on keeping German in my future, and I would like to come back to the United States next year and teach it.

Liebe Grüße aus China!
Matt Beck

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why take German at CSB/SJU?

Picture yourself studying German on our two beautiful campuses -- Saint Ben's and Saint John's -- and at our two campuses in Europe, Salzburg and Ingolstadt!  The architecture, woods and lakes of Saint Ben's and Saint John's reflect the parts of Bavaria where our founders came from.

Program Highlights -- You Can:
Study abroad and do an internship in Germany or Austria
• Become friends with teaching assistants from Germany who live at CSB and SJU!
Join the German Club – and make life-long friends who also love to travel and learn about languages and cultures

Often students taking German at Saint Ben's and Saint John's plan their four-year schedule to include a major or minor in German as well as a major or minor in another subject like music, physics, chemistry, economics, psychology, French, education, art,  or political science. Actually, any combination is possible and desirable in our increasingly global world.

German is also a popular major or minor for pre-med, pre-law and pre-engineering students.  Give yourself an edge in the global economy and in global research by becoming immersed in a culture that lies at the heart of Europe.

Class offerings include:  German History, Culture, and Civilization, German Conversation and Composition, Literature from the 19th and 20th century, The Age of Goethe, German Poetry.

Our CSB/SJU students heading into the salt mines near Salzburg

Study German, see the World.  Fall Term your Sophomore or Junior Year  join your friends to study in Salzburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world!  Besides becoming fluent in spoken German, you will learn about the cultures surrounding German and Austria by seeing them first-hand!  Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s are ranked number one in the country for the number of students who student abroad!
The architecture of Salzburg is stunning!

Live in Salzburg, the city of Mozart's music, majestic mountains,
and many architectural masterpieces.

Picture yourself hiking in the Austrian Alps

Take classes at the world famous University of Salzburg including political science, art history, philosophy, senior seminar, and of course German!.  Join your friends on excursions to destinations in Austria and Germany to enhance your knowledge of history, art and architecture, and cultural differences within German-speaking lands.

The main street of Salzburg -- beautiful!

Picture yourself taking advantage of cultural events, folk festivals, art museums, skiing in the Alps, soccer matches and world-class concerts!


In Salzburg you will be living and studying in the very center of Europe, within easy reach of cities like Munich, Nuremberg, Prague, Rome, Berlin, Budapest, Paris, Venice and Athens

For more information about our program in German, please Google us at CSBSJU German or email us at

Study with enthusiastic professors who love European culture, music, philosophy, film studies, politics, gender studies, literature, art, architecture and taking students abroad.  Pictured here are professors Wendy Sterba, Lisa Ohm, Andreas Kiryakakis and  Mark Thamert.   We are here to help you get the most out of your four-year plan.

 Take more German.
See where it takes You.

German Minor:
212, 311, 312, plus four more courses
German Major:
212, 311, 312, plus eight more courses

The beauty of our campuses in Minnesota and Austria is astonishing!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Professor Lisa Ohm to Give Talk about the Life and Oevre of the Author of H e i d i

On November 14, 2011, German Studies Professor, Dr. Lisa Ohm, will be giving a talk in the Collegial Conversation Series titled, "How to Write about the Life, Genius, and Considerable Oeuvre of Johanna Heusser Spyri (1827-1901), Who, Being Shy and Retiring, Burned Her Documents, and Whose Good Name Has Been Buried Under Unauthorized Sequels, Knock-Offs, Films, Animated Films, Manga, and Online Porno Sites Referencing Her Universally Beloved Heidi."

Professor Lisa Ohm comments about her research interests, "The nearly forgotten German-Swiss writer Johanna Heusser Spyri wrote forty-nine novels and stories, about half of which were translated into English in the early twentieth century and shelved in the juvenile sections of libraries, but no other work has been as phenomenally successful as Heidi. The thesis in my book on Spyri and her works is that her Double Bildungsroman Heidi, like her other works, is communal and social, speaking to the urban-rural conflict in the nineteenth century and echoed in today’s global conflicts. I examine Spyri’s works and the unauthorized sequels, and suggest that Spyri herself may have intended to write a sequel to Heidi with her novel Sina published in 1884, three years after Heidi’s appearance. Today’s youngsters may know Heidi only through one or more of the two dozen Heidi films or television series, including the animated series by Japanese producer/director Isao Takahata, which further popularized the children’s classic, bringing a Disney-like line of commercial products in tow. Spyri research also got a boost with a 2001 conference in Switzerland on the one-hundredth anniversary of her death. With my book, I hope to promote further research on Spyri and her works, especially here in the United States."

Faculty and guests are encouraged to join Lisa and other colleagues at 5:00 p.m. for a social and then dinner at 6:45 following Lisa’s presentation.  Please contact Shirley Kelly via email or by phone at ext. 3147 by November 3 to make a reservation for dinner. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Teresa Walch Featured as Noted Alumna Volunteer in CSB/SJU Career Resource Center Website

Dear Students and Faculty,

After graduating in German Studies and history last spring, I decided to volunteer at the Church of Reconciliation, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.

I hope to go to graduate school for German history, but I first wanted to return abroad (I studied abroad in Salzburg in 2008) to improve my German and to further familiarize myself with my intended themes of study. I found out about ARSP while looking for volunteer programs during my senior year and decided to apply.

If you are considering volunteering right after college, consider whether you want to volunteer in the States or to go abroad and think about what type of work you want to do. Choose something you're passionate about or something that is meaningful to you, that you can whole-heartedly put all your effort into. If you choose something you do not enjoy, simply to use as a 'resume builder', a year of volunteering, especially if you're abroad, could be a long time to spend away from home.

My days are divided working at various sites throughout the city of Dachau. Currently, I work a couple of days per week at the Church of Reconciliation on the site of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site to converse with and answer questions for visitors. In addition, as I learn more about the memorial site and its history, I will soon start conducting tours of the site, mostly for visiting German school groups. I also work with a project called the Book of Remembrance, where we conduct research to compile biographies of former prisoners' lives. Finally, I work at a student center, where I help prepare for visiting school groups, who come to Dachau to engage in 1-3 day seminars, where they discuss themes relating to the National Socialist era in Germany.

The most rewarding part of my experience so far has been the opportunity to meet and get to know people not only from Germany, but also from all over the world. My co-volunteers in Germany (there are 18 of us at various sites in Germany) come from Israel, Russia, Ireland, USA, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany. I find it fascinating to converse with them and hear their opinions and ideas on important world issues. I'm always astounded by the fact that even though we come from very different places, we are still very similar in many ways. The most challenging experience has been forming a new 'normal' here in Germany. However, the occasional language struggles aside, the challenges of getting settled here are not much different than they would be when relocating anywhere after college.

Since I worked at the Career Resource Center for three years in college, I was fortunate to have already been familiar with its great resources for seniors worrying about life after graduation. I especially scoured the CRC website's volunteer pages, where it has some great information about life as a volunteer and links to many programs. I attended a volunteer panel during the fall of my senior year, where former CSB/SJU alums came to talk about their volunteer experiences after graduation. I also attended the CSB/SJU Volunteer Fair, which is a great way to learn about some options and speak directly with people from various organizations. Finally, I simply conducted Google searches, using various, and related key words.

My favorite part of volunteering?  This part of Germany is great to be in a place where I can utilize what I learned from both my History and German majors. The opportunity to live abroad and get to know this country, its society, and its history and to experience first-hand many of the things I studied in college, is truly rewarding.

If you're interested in learning more about ARSP, go to: . There are opportunities not only for those interested in history, but also for those interested in the social work and political arenas as well. (At least a basic level of German is required.)

Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland!
Theresa Walch

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ursula Mahlendorf Enthralls 350 Students, Faculty and Friends

Speaking of her pre-teen and teenage years as a Nazi Youth, Ursula Mahlendorf told gripping stories of brainwashing experiences, moments of sheer luck and the decision to write about these events in the spirit of Vergangenheitsbewältigung -- coming to terms with one's past.

"Seeing someone on the other side who went through the manipulations of Nazi propaganda, I realized it could easily have happened to me as well," remarked sophomore German student, Austin Eighan.

An extra conference room at the Gorecki Center had to be opened up minutes before the talk began to accommodate the surprising number of students and faculty who came to the event. 

"We were not brought up to think critically about political issues or to resist Nazi ideology.  We knew so little," said Mahlendorf.  "It was only the very well-educated and those who had witnessed some of the attrocities in Poland and elsewhere who knew enough to be able to organize any kind of resistance."

A special thanks to Professor Lisa Ohm for organizing this event and the reading group leading up to it.  This is one of the most thought-provoking events the German Studies Program has witnessed in years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oktoberfest 2011 -- Ein großer Erfolg! A Grand Success

Oktoberfest in Collegeville! Crowds of CSB/SJU German students and their friends came to Br. Willi's Pub on October 22 to celebrate Bavarian Oktoberfest.

This year two new items were added to the singing and dancing activities -- beautiful t-shirts in the Bavarian blue and white colors -- and Krüge heben contests. At the signal given by German Club President, Chris Pignato, the bravest students hoisted at arm's length two-liter mugs filled with water to see who had the greatest stamina. The winner reached the crowd's goal of 4 minutes. All participants were rewarded with a large Bavarian style pretzel.  

Prost allerseits! And a huge thank you to club officers and volunteers Megan Boll, Chris Seiler, Austin Eighan, Chris Pignato, Mario Seidel, Kevin Murphy, Yuan Huang, Wendy Buermann,  Kolby Kulas, Brady Dietman, Jeremy Hicks, Chistine Krawiecki, Jeremy Wahl, Kristine Bornus, Sarah Spaulding,  Nicole Johnson, Megan Priebe, Kristin Hultgren, Steve Pignato, and Kirby Wagner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

German Major Nick Kroll Lands a Great Job in Germany

Nick Kroll, class of 2011, has just received a position as a Sales Director for Interventional Cardiology Products. The position covers Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and assists in cases in other European cities. Mentioning the valuable experiences provided by our study abroad program in Salzburg, Nick says, “It’s what got my foot in the door.”  The Salzburg Program allowed him to be “comfortable in many different situations, including extended conversations in German with native Germans and Austrians.” Nick welcomes any questions from students and alumnae/i about the process by which he received this job offer.  Feel free to contact him at  
      Note from the German Studies Faculty -- Good luck Nick.  We are proud of you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saint John's Prep Celebrates 45 years exchange with Stiftsgymnasium Melk, Austria

Professor Emmy Sack

On July 7, 2011, 140 alumni and teachers of the Melk Study Abroad Program gathered at Saint John's to celebrate 45 years of student exchange. Herr Emmy Sack (pictured above), who teaches for the CSB/SJU German Program, was one of the founding teachers of the program in Austria.  Over 400 prep students, CSB/SJU college freshman, and Austrian students have participated in the exchange program since 1966.  In attendance were seven Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Melk, thought of as the most famous example of Baroque architecture in the world.  Over the years, many of the graduates of this program attended CSB/SJU and completed a German major or minor here.

Melk Abbey and the Danube River

The interior of the Melk Abbey Church

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ursula Mahlendorf to Speak on her Book, The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood

Stories of Serving and Surviving the Nazis
A presentation by and dialogue with Ursula Mahlendorf
7:00 pm -- Monday, October 17, 2011
Gorecki 204A

Dear CSB/SJU Students, Faculty, Administrators and Staff,

This fall we have the honor of hosting Ursula Mahlendorf, professor emerita of German at UC Santa Barbara.  Here are some comments about her memoir of her childhood, The Shame of Survival:

The Shame of Survival is a compelling memoir of a girl’s experiences growing up in Nazi Germany that analyzes the lifelong implications of Nazi indoctrination on a sensitive, thoughtful young woman. It shows how a reluctant, shy, frightened, and naïve BDM member becomes swept up in Nazi ideology and documents the lifelong psychic ramifications of living with that legacy: feelings of guilt and shame, a need to work through these experiences and to take responsibility for and mourn the past. Focusing on both class and gender, Mahlendorf’s memoir offers a unique and valuable perspective on a growing body of emergent belated narratives on Nazi Germany by German émigré academics.” —Anna Kuhn, University of California, Davis

“Ursula Mahlendorf’s The Shame of Survival is a beautifully written autobiographical account of a former BDM (League of German Girls) leader who was a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime until its demise, when she suffered a major crisis in her entire belief system. Such eloquent, thoughtful accounts of a German girl’s experience during World War II have been rare, and Mahlendorf’s incisive gender analysis provides a firsthand look at how women and girls were cynically co-opted by the Nazis. Mahlendorf contextualizes her experiences within the larger frame of German military aggression and the Holocaust, focusing not only on the brutal consequences of unquestioningly following the Nazis, but also on how her traumatic postwar expulsion from the East caused her to reevaluate everything she had been taught during the Third Reich.” —Erin McGlothlin, Washington University in St. Louis

“As a young teen, she was a bystander; if she had been old enough, would she have been a perpetrator? It is that dual perspective that gives this memoir its power: the immediacy of her memoirs; the shame, remorse, and uncertainty of remembering. . . . The personal experience is haunting about then and now: how you can develop a shell of toughness and numbness and not know what is happening at Bergen-Belsen, only fifty miles away from where you live.” —Hazel Rochman, Booklist

“This is a brave, honest account of a young girl’s experience in Nazi Germany, and especially of how women and girls were exploited. There are many layers of story and meaning in this courageous and painful memoir.” —Jewish Book World

Ursula Mahlendorf earned her Ph.D. in German Literature from Brown University in 1958 and spent the rest of her professional life teaching in the German Department and Women’s Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she retired as Professor Emerita of German, Slavic, and Semitic Studies. She also served as Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science there. She was honored with a teaching award by the UCSB Alumni Association in 1981. She drew on her own experience as well as research in teaching undergraduate and graduate students about how Germans and German writers deal with their Nazi past.
We hope you can join us.  October 17 at 7 pm, Gorecki 204A.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Teresa Walch to Volunteer at KZ Gedenkstaette Dachau

Dear German Studies Students and Faculty at CSB/SJU!

During my senior year of college, I was thining of ways to improve my spoken German even more after college and I came across the website of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (, an organization founded in Germany in the 1950s to remember and atone, to what extent it can, for the crimes of Germany's Nazi past. It places volunteers in Germany and many partner countries, including the United States. Volunteers work at places such as human rights organizations, homes for Jewish elderly, and in Germany's case, at former concentration camps and memorial sites. I applied for the position in January, interviewed in February, and in March, I was notified that I was accepted and placed at the KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau ( and will work with a team at the Evangelische Versöhnungskirche ( on site. I will help lead tours through the camp, work in the archives, and help with a touring exhibit called "Namen Statt Nummern." In addition, I will help to organize the annual international youth gathering that takes place at Dachau. I think the mission of ASF and the work it conducts is outstanding, and I am very excited to contribute. 

Greetings to all. 
Maybe I will see you in Germany!

Teresa Walch

Saturday, July 2, 2011

German Faculty Members Review 2010-2011 Accomplishments.

Dear Friends, 

Each summer, German faculty members take a look at the accomplishments of the past year.  Based on this review, we formulate student learning goals and program goals for the year ahead.

1. Accomplishments 2010-2011 in German Studies

German Studies Enrollments have risen by 4% over the last two years.

Assessment of Listening and Reading. We now have longitudinal data for four semesters using the MLPA / CARLA Assessment for Listening and Reading. In the listening test, all but two of 36 students reached ACTFL levels of intermediate low, medium or high for spring term 2011. In the reading tests, 17 of 35 students reached intermediate low, medium or high, consistent with scores in past semesters. The ACTFL correlations were determined by a “modified Angoff method,” reports Ursula Lenz, Coordinator of Minnesota Language Proficiency Assessments at the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota. Lenz urged us to decide what modalities we want to emphasize in our program and create our own cut scores for the listening and reading tests.

Fulbright Grant. We received the Poehler Grant for the 6th time in support of Fulbright TA/Scholar 2011-2012. We are grateful to John Taylor for his annual work on this grant application.

Faculty Scholarship

o Wendy – Presented papers at two conferences: “The Photograph as Gendered Arbiter of Truth in Contemporary Film,” International Conference on the Image, Los Angeles, Dec 3-5, 2010; and “Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture in Hollywood Dystopias,” Film in the Post-Media Age, International Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Transylvania, Oct 22-23, 2010.  Wendy also reports two publications -- “Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture in Contemporary Hollywood Dystopias,” Acta: Film and Media Studies, 2011; and “The Photograph as Gendered Arbiter of Truth in Contemporary Detective Films,” in The International Journal of the Image, 2011.

o Lisa – wrote an article for Headwaters on the Passion Play in Oberammergau, which she attended with the 2010 Salzburg group. During her sabbatical term in the spring, Lisa completed four chapters on her book on Johanna Spyri. She has sent these chapters out to readers. She intends to complete five additional chapters by the end of this summer. She also presented aspects of her work for the Studium group at CSB.

o Andreas -- Completed an article which focused on the analysis of a poem by Günter Kunert. The analysis was read by Mr. Kunert and given a positive response.

o Mark – Wrote a paper that was accepted for the national ACTFL convention in Denver, November 18-20, 2011 – “Rilke, Goethe, Heine; Schubert, Schumann and Loewe: An Analysis of major German poems and musical compositions based on them.” Mark  is working on three chapters of a monograph: Classic German poems about 1) ghosts, 2) God and the gods, and 3) autumn and evening. For this project, Mark did research during fall and spring semesters with SJU senior Joe Carr.

Contributions at the State Level:

o CSB/SJU hosted a luncheon and program for the top winners of the Minnesota Association of Teachers of German oral proficiency tests at the high school level, April 2011.

o Mark and Lisa were chosen to be MN chairs for AATG testing April 2012: on-campus oral testing of 30-40 on Minnesota’s top high school German students.

o The German faculty organized and put on the Minnesota DeutschFest in May 2010, and will sponsor the event again in April 2012 for more than 300-500 high school students and teachers of German. The evaluations from teacher participants for the 2010 event were extraordinarily high.

o Andreas is on the Board of the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations, which includes World Language and Culture /German (Grades K-12). Andreas is also on the Content Advisory Committee for the World Language and Culture /German (Grades K-12) as well as well as on the Test Materials Review Board. Andreas is also on the Advisory Board of the Journal: Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Moral Issues.

Campus Events Open to All Students and Faculty   (On the whole, we experienced about a 4-fold increase in attendance at German Club sponsored events over past years):

o German Club film nights -- audiences of 60, 40, 30, and 40 (in the past we had 5-10 people at each film)

o German Club Oktober Fest (October) attended by 250 students and faculty

o German Club Faschings Fest (February) attended by 300 students and faculty

o German cooking events for ten groups of 6-20 students

Intensive German Language Studies Abroad. To improve the fluency of our student, with the Office of Education Abroad we instituted a new two-week intensive German course in September for our Salzburg students.

Eichstaett Visit: During the May 2011 Benedictine Tour, Charles Bobertz and Scott Johnson visited the Catholic University of Eichstaett and spoke informally with the new president of the university about the possibility of shifting our Salzburg program to Eichstaett (north of Munich about 1 hour).

Technological Innovations. Wendy did some classroom research on the effectiveness of Moodle based tests compared with traditional handwritten tests. The Moodle control groups performed better overall, partly because of the instant feedback feature. Mark created about 100 hours of self-teaching grammar units to correspond with the first year text, Kontakte, by using voice and image features of Camtasia software and the classroom Tablet PC. The student response was very positive. During spring term, Mark also created audio files for eight chapters the intermediate/advanced grammar text, German in Review.

2. Opportunities for the Year Ahead.

• Build on Germany’s success in the areas of ecological sustainability.

• Take advantage of three operas by German/Austrian composers to be performed in the Twin Cities: Werther, Silent Night, and Cosi fan tutti.

• Continue to build relations with top High school teachers of German through DeutschFest and AATG testing on our campuses.

• Look more into abroad possibilities in Eichstaett.

• Make the most of the planned reading group on the Holocaust.

• Have a workshop on to share technology ideas based on Moodle, Camtasia, and other modalities.

• Look into accepting courses from philosophy, history, art, music and other departments for fulfilling part of German Studies requirements for the major or minor.

• Look into a shared major with another department, e.g., Major in International Business with a concentration in German. Valparaiso University has such a major.

• Build on German faculty rapport through periodic social gatherings at each other’s homes.

• Integrate better the theme-genre-period organization of our upper division courses.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mario Seidel Chosen as Fulbright Scholar and TA for CSB/SJU 2011-2012

“The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” 
(William A. Ward) 

  The United States has always captivated and fascinated me. Experiencing its rich culture for a long term would certainly enrich my own horizon. I would love to live in this country and I would love to understand its culture. I am quite familiar with American literature, history and the political system, but I want to know these things beyond what can be found in textbooks and bring these insights into my personal life and also into the classroom.
   Getting to know new cultures puts one's own culture into perspective and leads to a better understanding of differences between people, nations and mentalities. I strongly believe in the transformative effect of traveling and getting to know new cultures. Understanding becomes more and more important in a globalized world. I would like to gain this understanding. And I would like to pass it on to my students.   I want to find all the ingredients required to inspire students toward excellence.
   I have a strong and sincere interest in literature and theater. I read quite a bit and go to the local theater at least once a month. Besides that, I enjoy sports, especially tennis and squash. I try to be outside and in the nature as much as possible and find interest in ecological and biological questions. For the last few years I have also traveled a lot as I am eager to discover foreign cultures.
   I lived in Cork, Ireland from September 2007 until July 2008 studying at University College Cork. I backpacked through India for several weeks in May 2010 visiting Mumbai, New-Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur.

Mario Comes from the beautiful city of Konstanz on the
south -southwestern border of Germany
Dear Mario!
   We are delighted that you will be joining us this coming academic year and we congratulate you on your receiving the prestigious Fulbright TA fellowship for scholarship and teaching at CSB/SJU.