ASU faculty recognized for foreign language teaching excellence

German faculty win 2013-2014 AZLA teaching awards

Two faculty members in German in the School of International Letters and Cultures have received awards for teaching excellence from the Arizona Language Association (AZLA) at the organization’s annual conference.

Carla Ghanem, assistant professor of applied linguistics and German, was named the “Outstanding Foreign Language Teacher at the Post-Secondary Level.” Professor Ghanem holds a doctorate in applied linguistics from the Germanic Studies Department at the University of Texas, Austin, and her research interests include teacher development and identities, second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy.

Sara Lee, lecturer in German, was named “Outstanding Young Foreign Language Educator.” Lee holds a master's in teaching from the University of Dortmund, Germany, and a master's in German studies from Michigan State University. Her teaching experience includes all levels, from elementary school to post graduate, and teaching German both as a first and second language. As a linguist with a focus on pedagogy, she enjoys working on transforming linguistic findings and theory into practical, hands-on tools for use in the classroom.

"That Carla Ghanem and Sara Lee won these awards is a testament not only to their special abilities and total dedication to their profession, but also to the high quality of the German language program in SILC,” said Robert Joe Cutter, director of the School of International Letters and Cultures. “Carla and Sara are great colleagues and extraordinary teachers."

Ghanem says she cares a lot about teaching and really loves working with students. She is very appreciative to know that her peers find her deserving of this recognition.

Her feelings were echoed by Lee, who said, “I feel so honored. It is so great to have someone recognize what I do. Being a teacher is a lot of hard work, but it comes naturally to me.”

Cutter explained, “Language instruction is a profession and discipline like others at the university, with its own professional societies, rigorous and measurable standards, and publication venues. Carla Ghanem is a wonderful example of the scholar-teacher. Both Carla and Sara spend a tremendous amount of time planning and evaluating what takes place in the classroom, and they give unstintingly of their time outside of class, as well."

AZLA serves the profession by providing a structure through which language educators in Arizona can share training, ideas, research and concerns. The organization’s primary goals include promotion of foreign language study, development of quality education programs from early childhood through post-secondary, and teacher preparation.