Professor Emma Teng, Director of Global Languages, issued her hearty congratulations to the entire instructional and administrative staff for a highly successful and rewarding academic year, despite the limitations and challenges imposed by the pandemic.

Teng said, “It’s a testament to our instructors’ commitment to excellence in education, and to their creativity and innovative spirit, that we finished the year with solid enrollments and a high degree of satisfaction from our students. While dearly missing in-person interactions with our students, we never lost sight of the need to have rigorous, stimulating, and engaging classrooms. Equally important, during the pandemic we have been able to cultivate a robust pedagogical community that is eager to share tips and tricks, discuss challenges and frustrations, talk through questions of student well-being, and collectively tackle the question of how language and culture instruction should evolve to best meet the needs of students. I’m very gratified that the hard work and dedication of our instructors and staff have been recognized through numerous awards and accolades this year.”

Teaching awards

  • Helena Belío-Apaolaza (Lecturer in Spanish) and Maria Khotimsky (Senior Lecturer in Russian) were among the 23 recipients of the MIT Teaching With Digital Technology Award 2021, student-nominated awards for instructors who have effectively used digital technology to improve teaching and learning at MIT. The awards are co-sponsored by MIT Open Learning and the Office of the Vice Chancellor. Over 100 instructors were nominated. The pivot to remote teaching in March 2020, compelled instructors to experiment with new digital technologies in order to foster effective teaching and learning in the remote classroom.  “This year was spent looking for new tools that encourage collaboration and communication,” said Maria Khotimsky. Helena Belío-Apaolaza shared some tips. “I encouraged them to be always unmuted,” she said, “which is possible in a small group such as our language classes, to give a sense of community and connection and to foster free-flowing discussion.” She looked for ways to increase students’ involvement in the learning process. Congratulations Helena and Maria, for taking a challenging year and discovering new ways to keep students engaged! • WATCH VIDEO
  • Masami Ikeda (Lecturer in Japanese) and Maria Khotimsky (Senior Lecturer in Russian) were recipients of the 2021 James A. and Ruth Levitan Teaching Award in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Dean Nobles explained on the award’s website: “This prize honors those instructors in our School who have demonstrated outstanding success in teaching our undergraduate and graduate students. These great educators, who are nominated by students themselves, represent the very best academic leadership in the School.” About Masami Ikeda’s Japanese classes, one student said, “I think it is difficult to achieve this balance of fun and learning and [she] definitively did achieve this balance!” And a student reported about Maria Khotimsky, “she is responsive, adaptive, supportive…” Congratulations to Masami and Maria for achieving outstanding success in the classroom!
  • Jane Dunphy (Senior Lecturer in English Language Studies) was recipeint of the 2021 Irwin Sizer Award. Named in honor of Irwin W. Sizer, Dean of the Graduate School from 1967-1975, the award honors significant innovations and improvements to MIT education. As Teng wrote of Dunphy: “Jane’s long career at the Institute has been marked by profound dedication to international student support in the classroom and beyond, through multiple Institute offices and initiatives. Recognized as a ‘leading scholar and practitioner in the fields of teaching and learning in English as a second language,’ Jane has had lasting impact on the generations of international graduate students who have moved through her classes.” Congratulations Jane for outstanding career contributions!

Staff awards

  • Liam Brenner (Administrative Officer) was a recipient of a 2021 MIT-SHASS Infinite Mile Award. Brenner received this award for exceptional service to faculty, lecturers, students and staff, while also providing careful stewardship of the unit’s resources. Teng wrote that “Liam’s steady and quiet leadership amplifies the strengths of those around him,” while another nominator commented that his “dedication to his job and his attention to detail are remarkable.” Congratulations Liam!

Grants and other honors

  • Panpan Gao and Kang Zhou (Lecturers in Chinese) received an award from the MindHandHeart Community Innovation Fund sponsored by Chancellor Barnhart for their innovative Meditation for Chinese Learners project. MIT News article
  • Dagmar Jaeger (Lecturer in German) was the recipient of an Alumni Class Funds award for AY22 for “Special Subject Curriculum Development: Online Immersion German Oral Communication Class
  • Kang Zhou (Lecturer in Chinese) was awarded a CLTL Language Teaching Innovation Grant for his project, “Pre-diagnosis of Chinese tonal errors through online testing.”