This winter’s heavy snowfall led to an avalanche of good news in RLL in March—and we’re not even talking about Spring Break. On Friday, March 7, the Board of Trustees met and approved our recommendation that Julie Singer be promoted to associate professor of French with tenure, effective July 1. Singer, a specialist in medieval French literature, is the author of a brilliant first book, Blindness and Insight in Late Medieval French and Italian Poetry, published by Boydell and Brewer. She’s currently hammering out a new book, Rusted Me(n)tal: Virtual Breakdowns in Late Medieval French Thought, which studies the intersection of mental illness and metallic metaphors during the reign of the mad French king, Charles VI (1380-1422). In her free time this winter she appeared on the syndicated game show Jeopardy!, where she herself ruled for one day and helped us get our blood flowing again after the January deep freeze.
The winds were clearly shifting toward spring. The following week, which was in fact Spring Break, brought news that Joe Barcroft, associate professor of Spanish and second language acquisition, had been promoted to full professor, effective July 1. Barcroft is the author of a number of important studies relating to language acquisition and brain function, and is currently finishing a book entitled Lexical Input Processing and Vocabulary Learning, which is under contract with John Benjamins. The book examines how we organize the information we receive (input) when we learn languages, a key question as we endeavor to develop ever more successful pedagogies.
We were clearly on a roll. The melting snow revealed on Friday, March 21 that Tabea Linhard, associate professor of Spanish, has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for the 2015 calendar year. She’ll be working on a new project, Unexpected Routes: Exile, Migration, and Memory (1931-1945). Her most recent book, Jewish Spain: A Mediterranean Memory, will be published with Stanford University Press in June. Her award is just the latest in a series of prestigious fellowships our faculty have received in recent years. These include three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Profs. Messbarger, Sherberg, and Acree), a Fulbright-García Robles grant (Prof. Barcroft), and now the ACLS award. Given the paucity of funding opportunities in the humanities this record is truly noteworthy. Taken together, however, these awards reflect only in part the high degree of research energy our department generates, which the often-lousy St. Louis weather does not vitiate.
Just when we thought we’d run out of great March news came word that Gonzalo Aguiar, who received his PhD here in 2010 and is currently a lecturer in Spanish, has accepted a tenure-track offer at the State University of New York-Oswego. We’re hoping that our crummy St. Louis winters have prepared him for life on the shore of Lake Ontario, but in any event the successful placement of another of our outstanding graduate students is always reason for celebration.
Speaking of outstanding graduate students, here’s a footnote to our March news (what would scholarly information be without one?). We had a February augury when Megan Havard who will receive her PhD in May, accepted a tenure-track position in Spanish with Augustana College. So while we say goodbye to two of our best, Gonzalo and Megan, we warm our hearts knowing that the education they received at Washington University will help them shape many more young minds, as knowledge passes from generation to generation. Here in St. Louis we like to complain about our weather, but luckily for us learning and teaching know no season.