Missouri State University
Modern and Classical Languages
@ Missouri State University

MSU to host 2015 national Asian Studies conference

The University’s office of China programs and department of modern and classical languages have joined efforts to bring the 2015 Asian Studies Development Program’s (ASDP) National Conference to the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, March 19-21.

Submitting proposals for research, panels

Dr. Weirong Schaefer, ASDP conference chair and MSU’s Asian arts and letters coordinator, said having the conference nearby is a unique and inexpensive opportunity for the University’s graduate students and faculty to present research and be involved in panels.

Those interested in presenting or taking part in panel or roundtable discussions should submit their proposals by Dec. 1, following the ASDP guidelines.

What is the conference?

The ASDP National Conference is an annual event that provides an opportunity for ASDP alumni and other interested college and university faculty members to share research related to Asian cultures and societies, as well as strategies for effectively infusing Asian content into undergraduate humanities, social science, business and science curricula.

2015’s theme: Rethinking Asian Studies

The upcoming year’s theme will be “Rethinking Asian Studies: Taking Asia as Method,” focusing on how to enable Asian perspectives to take on a greater role in informing and shaping our critical engagement with both the historical and contemporary dynamics of Asia.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Pheng Cheah, will bring his expertise as a professor of rhetoric for the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, for his presentation titled, “Asia as Question:  Rethinking Asian Studies in Contemporary Globalization.”

Register for the conference

Students and faculty may register to attend the event. For faculty, early registration is $200 if registered by March 1, and late registration is $225. Students’ registration is $75. A round-trip shuttle service from Springfield to Branson will be offered for an additional $25.

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MCL accepting applications for Greece Study Away program until Oct. 18

StudyAway_logoStudents have until Oct. 18 to sign up for the study away trip to Greece taking place between Dec. 27 and Jan. 11. This winter intersession course, “Heroes and Heritage of Ancient Greece: Athens, Aegina, and Mycenae,” led by the department of modern and classical languages, seeks to study the development of ancient Greek culture and politics from which to draw perspective on the country’s ongoing economic difficulties.

Course overview

In this course (MCL 550), students will visit key sites that shaped Greek civilization to study the historical events and traditional figures associated with those landmarks, including Salamis—where ancient Greek states won victory over Persia (as popularized in the movie 300: Rise of an Empire)—and Aigina—legendary birthplace of Trojan War figures Achilles and Ajax. At these sites we compare the recent popularizing treatment with the ancient landscape and historical record, with perspective on the foundations of democracy and drama.


*Subject to change

  • Oct. 18: Deadline to apply
  • Dec. 5: Pre-travel meeting to discuss trip expectations
  • Dec. 27: Depart for Greece
  • Dec. 28-31: Visit Acropolis, Agora, and Kerameikos
  • Jan. 1-8: In Aigina and the Argolid with visits to the temple of Aphaia and other archaeological sites, as well as hiking to explore the landscape and evolving community
  • Jan. 9-10: In Athens with visit to the National Archaeological Museum
  • Jan. 11: Depart for Springfield
  • TBA: post-travel meeting to discuss program evaluation, recommendations and reflections on the experience

Interested in going?

Find out more information about how to get started in study away or contact the Greece trip program directors,

Edwin Carawan, Professor, Modern & Classical Languages
Dané Wallace, Instructor, Global Studies

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Accelerated path to Spanish minor offered to students already proficient in the language

Students with advanced proficiency in Spanish may qualify for an accelerated pathway toward the completion of a Spanish minor within the department of modern and classical languages.

How does it work?

MCL recognizes that many students have acquired proficiency in Spanish as a result of previous exposure to and experience with the language. After passing the verification process, students will then complete the minor by taking SPN 312 and two electives.

Who is eligible?

Learners from the following groups may be eligible for the accelerated pathway, pending verification of their language proficiency:

  • Heritage speakers — Students raised in Spanish-speaking households who completed secondary education in the United States.
  • Native speakers — Students who completed secondary education in countries where Spanish is the primary language.
  • Other speakers with advanced proficiency — Students who have developed high degrees of functional language ability because of intensive study or long-term residency in Spanish-speaking countries.

How to apply

Students interested in pursuing the accelerated pathway should contact the MCL office at 417-836-5122 and request an appointment with the department head for an eligibility assessment.

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Professor honored for 20 years leading study away groups to Spain, Latin America

It was a special summer for modern and classical languages professor Dr. Roger Dowdy. Like most summers, he took a group of 25 or so students halfway across the world, introducing them to the countries, cultures and people he has spent the last two decades cherishing, but this would be his final trip.

President of the Salamanca school, Lingua Globe, Ricardo Ortiz Ramos (right), joined the Spanish city in awarding Missouri State professor Dr. Roger Dowdy (left) for his 20 years of service to their community.
President Ricardo Ortiz Ramos (right), of the school Lingua Globe, joined the Spanish city of Salamanca in awarding Missouri State professor Dr. Roger Dowdy (left) for his 20 years of service to their community.

Commemorating 20 years of travel

The Spanish city of Salamanca, where Dowdy spent many of those years including this one, made the farewell even more meaningful. City council members surprised him with a silver plaque commemorating his service, the inscription reading:

“The City of Salamanca appreciates all Dr. D. Roger Dowdy has done from Missouri State University. The realization of his intensive Study Abroad Program during 20 years. June 2014.”

Dowdy modestly put the award back into its polished wooden box to go on his office shelf and turned his attention to the students and program to which he’s devoted his life­. The experiences he’s had the honor to share with them will live on through the extensive journals he requires them to keep and the relationships built between them.

“That’s probably the most driving thing with me to take students abroad. It’s not so much the language, but it’s immersing them into something that they will never forget for the rest of their lives,” he said. “A lot of students really come back a different person.”

Future of the program

Handing over the reins to the study away program he helped build will not be easy, Dowdy admitted, but after 20 summers abroad to cities across Spain, Ecuador and Costa Rica, it is time to let someone else take over, which will give him the opportunity to spend more time with his grandchildren.

“I think that it is good for someone in the department who is much younger to start going,” he said. “I have had such a passion for this, and for the person who takes over, I want them to love it as much as I have.

“That’s why I’ve hung on to it for so many years. I want [the new professor] to understand the impact it has and see it as a passion to help students. I think we have the right person for that.”

Dr. Luis Lombilla has taken over as program director and will lead next summer’s group in the month-long trip to Quito, Ecuador, beginning with orientation sessions during the spring semester to prepare for the May 24 departure.

For more information on what is offered by the office of study away programs, visit their website, speak to a program director within your department, or attend an information session.

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New faculty, staff join College of Arts and Letters

Fall 2014 is well underway and as students begin to find their place at the College of Arts and Letters, so do several new faculty and staff. They will be introduced in more depth in the coming weeks, but to get these profiles started, here is a round up of the new faces that can be seen around campus. Let’s give them a big Bear welcome this week!


Art and Design


Adrienne Boulton-Funke, assistant professor

Adrienne Boulton-Funke completed a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of British Columbia and is finishing her PhD in Curriculum (Art Education) at UBC. She received the Killam Award for teaching excellence as a graduate teaching assistant. Her research explores contemporary art practices in research and pedagogy through arts-based educational research; she has presented her work nationally and internationally. Boulton-Funke said she wants to help future teachers reimagine curriculum and pedagogy to be able to go beyond the assessment-based learning found in classrooms today. “I hope to develop a methodology of visual inquiry that aims to disrupt our static perceptions of education and through arts-based inquiry and research processes, expand the ways in which we understand and perform curriculum and pedagogy in K-12 art education.”


Media, Journalism and Film

Harrison Witt, Assistant Professor

Harrison Witt, assistant professor

Harrison Witt earned a BA in English from the University of Kentucky and an MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to being an award-winning screenwriter and director, Witt brings more than 20 years of professional production experience in cinematography and lighting to the classrooms at MSU. He is eager to build on MJF’s strong foundation in digital film production, which he admired even before signing on as an assistant professor. “I was impressed with the ambition and execution the students brought to their productions. After seeing this work, I wasn’t at all surprised to find the faculty and staff in MJF to be open, energetic, and creative.”




Cameron F. LaBarr, Director of Choral Studies

Cameron F. LaBarr, director of choral studies

Cameron F. LaBarr comes to the College of Arts and Letters after serving in university choral positions in Tennessee and Texas. He was the founding artistic director and conductor of the Tennessee Chamber Chorus and has been a guest conductor and clinician for institutions and festivals across the United States, Europe, South Africa and China. He’s published articles and reviews in the Choral Journal and The Chorister and also edits a choral series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing. He was recently awarded a fellowship with the International Conductors Exchange Program to Sweden in 2015 and will be among 14 conductors from the United States to participate in the residency. Excited for the changes and additions expected this year, LaBarr encourages students to put themselves out there to see where the world takes them. “I hope to share my professional experiences with our students here on campus, and I plan to get our students out into the world, allowing for strong relationships and greater understanding among cultures.”


Modern and Classical Languages

Melanie Kleeschulte, Instructor

Melanie Kleeschulte, instructor

Prior to joining the MCL faculty, Melanie Kleeschulte was a full-time instructor of Spanish at Greenwood Laboratory School. She received her master’s in Spanish Language and Culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain, Master of Arts in Teaching from Missouri State University and Bachelor of Arts in International/ Multicultural Studies and Spanish from Evangel University. Kleeschulte also holds Missouri K-12 certification in Spanish.


Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega, Assistant Professor

Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega, assistant professor

Vanessa Rodríguez de la Vega received her PhD from Texas Tech University and comes to MSU from Missouri Southern State University. She will be teaching a variety of courses, including introductory Spanish, Spanish Phonetics and Phonology, Spanish Peninsular Literature and more. She said she hopes to inspire Missouri State students this year, “by making them aware about the importance and practicality of studying foreign languages.” Her research focuses on postmodern historical fiction.


Theatre and Dance

Melanie Dreyer-Lude, Assistant Professor

Melanie Dreyer-Lude, assistant professor

Melanie Dreyer-Lude is a theatre practitioner and professor of performance, using theatre as a platform for cultural encounters that generate multiple nodes of inquiry. She specializes in international theatre collaboration. Fluent in German, Dreyer-Lude translates and directs contemporary German plays and has directed more than 60 productions throughout the United States, Germany and Turkey. Her continued love of learning and travel has taken her across the world and across disciplines. “I’m a perpetually curious person and I’m always seeking new intersections between theater practice and other disciplines.  I’ve learned about neuroscience, physics, cultural anthropology, business, linguistics, all things German and many things Turkish — all because I was willing to follow my interest into another’s world.”


Other staff additions

Katie McMahon, Costume Shop Manager

Katie McMahon, costume shop manager

Katie McMahon is the costume shop manager for the theatre and dance department. She is an alumna of Missouri State University with a BFA in Theatre and an emphasis in technical theatre and costumes. She also worked as a designer and costume shop manager for Tent Theatre.



Greg Pettus, Distributed User Support Specialist

Greg Pettus, distributed user supports specialist

Greg Pettus served in the Marine Corps before getting a degree in engineering physics from Missouri State. During his time as a student, he was able to start working full-time and has been a distributed user support specialist for 17 years, helping to ensure the technology needed for faculty and students to succeed is in working order. He lives in Springfield with his wife, Julie, and daughters, Reagan and Kenzie.

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New foreign language degree program offers flexibility to career-oriented students

Changes are afoot in the department of modern and classical languages. Students interested in majoring in a foreign language will find the department has combined its undergraduate degree programs into one major—Bachelor of Science in Modern Language. The changes, which only affect those entering the program after Summer 2014, reflect a more career-oriented path, moving away from a literature- and culture-based focus, said department head Dr. Jason Jolley.

Students continue to choose language path

Jolley reassures that students will continue to major in one language, be it Spanish, French, German or Chinese (when the classes are available), and for added flexibility, students then choose between a non-comprehensive or comprehensive track.

According to the FAQ page on the department website, each track requires that all BSML majors complete a 39-hour language core, 33 of which in a single language, but they differ in the following ways:

BSML (Comprehensive) – No minor required. Instead, students complete one of the four pre-defined options designed to complement their language study:

  • Second Language and Culture
  • Translation
  • Applied Business
  • Teacher Certification

BSML (Non-comprehensive) – Minor required. Students not interested in one of the pre-defined options offered under the Comprehensive degree should choose this program, which requires them to complete a minor or a second major.

Tailor-made degree to fit career goals

Jolley said because there is no longer a list of required courses, students will work closely with advisors to shape their educational experience, fitting their career aspirations with courses offered throughout the department and making transfer credits easier to integrate. Those interested in literature- and cultural-based study can still find courses to accommodate, and students seeking teacher certification in language can tailor a comprehensive track to do so.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all program anymore,” he said. “We still have courses in Spanish American and Peninsular, for example in the Spanish program. We’ve also added translation and business Spanish. Soon we’ll be adding medical Spanish.”

For more information, go to the modern and classical languages website, contact an advisor at MCL@missouristate.edu or 417-836-5122, or visit the MCL office at Siceluff Hall, room 223.

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Alum pursues passion for German culture through Fulbright

NikiKennedy_ParisFor Missouri State University spring 2014 graduate Niki Kennedy, a Fulbright award is not only a prestigious honor, it’s also a chance to follow two passions at once.

“I’ve studied abroad twice in Germany and a chance to work there for a whole year just seemed like a dream come true,” Kennedy said. “For me, receiving a Fulbright grant is an achievement that means I can fully follow my passion of learning German culture and improving my German speaking skills. As the first college graduate in my family, I feel like the Fulbright grant proves that hard work and passion will always be rewarded.”

A passion for German culture

The Marionville, Mo., native, who majored in German and English literature, is one of more than 1,800 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2014-15 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. She will spend her year in Hamburg, Germany, teaching English and American culture to German high school students.

“For me, receiving a Fulbright grant is an achievement that means I can fully follow my passion of learning German culture and improving my German speaking skills,” said Kennedy.

A passion for working with youth

For Kennedy, the Fulbright grant also allows her follow her second passion: working with youth.

“My time working with Harmony House through my sorority Alpha Chi Omega helped me find a strong passion to help my community. Volunteering helped me learn that I have always been passionate about reaching out and working with endangered youth,” said Kennedy. “My Fulbright year will give me an opportunity to help my global community by working with German teenagers, among other things.”

Kennedy plans to attend Washington University in St. Louis to work on a master’s in social work, with an emphasis on international social work, once her Fulbright year concludes.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

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COAL faculty honored during recognition reception

The Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (COAL) is proud to list the following faculty honored at Missouri State’s All-Faculty Recognition Reception held April 21, 2014:

Faculty Recognition Awards

Stephanie Norander, CommunicationProvost Fellow for Faculty Development – Writing

Stephanie Norander, Communication


Steve Willis, Art and Design

Provost Fellow for Diversity

Steve Willis, Art and Design


Provost Fellows is a program designed to recognize outstanding faculty who have a special area of interest that is related to the mission, priorities and goals of the Office of the Provost. The position provides faculty with the opportunity and support to become engaged in an administrative, research or outreach activity. The term of the appointment varies with the type of assignment.


Excellence in Study Away Programming

Gwen Walstrand, Art and DesignGwen Walstrand, Art and Design

In 2014 the Study Away Advisory Committee created the Excellence in Study Away Programming award to recognize Missouri State faculty members who demonstrate excellence in developing and leading short-term study away programs. The recipient will receive $1,500 in professional development funds and an award.



Honors College Awards for Teaching, Research and Service

Larry George, Modern and Classical LanguagesMarcia Morriset Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education

Larry George, Modern and Classical Languages

The Marcia Morriset Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education recognizes the exceptional service, mentoring and advising accomplishments of MSU’s Honors College faculty and affiliated staff. The award was created in recognition of Marcia Morriset’s many years of service to the Honors College. The award is presented to a faculty or staff member who had contributed broadly to the advancement of Honors education at Missouri State University and has excelled at undergraduate mentorship and advising of Honors College students.



Citizenship and Service-Learning (CASL) Faculty Awards

Emanuelle Wessels, Media, Journalism and Film2013-2014 Research Stipend Award

Emanuelle Wessels, Media, Journalism and Film

The Research Stipend Awards recognizes faculty who have been awarded CASL Research Stipend Funds for direct service to the community, including community-based research involving students. Faculty selected for the CASL Research Stipend Award will present their findings at the FCTL Showcase in August.



Additional Recognitions

Margaret Weaver, EnglishA 2014 Mentoring, Support and Partnerships Program Mentor

Margaret Weaver, English

The University-based Mentoring, Support and Partnerships Program was created to increase the recruitment and retention rates of junior faculty/staff. Overall objectives of the program are for exceptional mentors to provide on-going support for outstanding faculty/staff from historically underrepresented groups to advance their success in the trilogy of scholarship, heighten their professional development and help them establish a sound identity and amiable sense of well-being at Missouri State University and in the Springfield community. Dr. Sabrina Brinson is the program coordinator and Dr. Julie Masterson is the program administrator.


Faculty Service Awards

10 Years of Service

Andrew Cline, Media, Journalism and Film
Marcus Howell, Art and Design
Timothy White, Media, Journalism and Film

15 Years of Service

Tracy Dalton, English
David Hays, Music
Michael Stowe, English
Steve Willis, Art and Design

20 Years of Service

Randy Dillon, Communication
Mary Harges, Modern and Classical Languages
Sarah Perkins, Art and Design
Margaret Weaver, English

25 Years of Service

James Baumlin, English
Mary Baumlin, English
Joel Chaston, English
Randy Hamm, Music
Jane Hoogestraat, English
Vonda Yarberry, Art and Design

35 Years of Service

Kristene Sutliff, English

40 Years of Service

Jerry Hatch, Art and Design

Service Awards honor faculty members who have reached a five-year longevity milestone in their years of service to Missouri State University. To qualify for a service award, employees must have worked full-time at Missouri State and reached a five-year milestone (10, 15, 20, etc.) within the 2013-2014 academic year to be honored at the April 2014 reception.


- Information courtesy Missouri State University’s 2014 All-Faculty Recognition Reception program

Additional faculty/staff/student accomplishments are featured throughout the year in COAL and departmental blogs.

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