GREAL Alumni Newsletter - January 2004

Volume 3, No. 1
January 2004

From the Chair:

New Year's greetings for a healthy and happy 2004 to our alumni and friends from all of us at GREAL!

-- Robert Di Donato


"French, Spanish, German,and Italian are regularly taught and two of them at least must be studied to obtain a diploma." --Miami University Catalog, 1833

Modem languages haven't always been part of the college curriculum. In fact. until the 19th century, only classical languages such as Ancient Greek, Latin and Biblical Hebrew were taught at universities, not fur conversation but for study of classical and sacred texts.

So Miami University was keeping up with modem times when it announced in its catalog of 1833 that German, French, Spanish and Italian "are regularly taught and two of them at least must be studied to obtain a diploma."

In 1868 the faculty voted to require German of all sophomores and of juniors majoring in natural science. German separated from the Modern Languages Department in 1905 and merged with Russian in 1963. German, Russian and East Asian were united as G.RE.A.L. in 1972. Miami has over 100 majors and minors of German, making it one of the largest German programs in the U.S.


Lloyd Fraser ('03) teaches English in Suzuka, Japan, through the Ohio SET program.

Charmaine Jones ('97) interned at Otto Versand. She recently finished her MBA at Case Western Reserve and has returned for further study.

Rosina Bell-Games ('76), a Russian major at Miami and now a reading specialist in the Columbus schools, taught English in Beijing in 1986- 87 and visited Japan on a Fulbright teacher program.

Richard Schwinn ('02) completed a master's in Economics and will teach English in Versailles, France.

Rebecca Wangenheim teaches Geilllan at Hamilton (Ohio) High School and is earning a master's in TESOL al Wright Stale.

Virginia Cooper ('94) is a Ph.D. student in Geilllan at Univeisily of Massaclmsetls-Amhetst Heidi Ferguson-Miiller lives and wodrs in Gellllany where she mel her husband .

Katy Olssidy ('89) is married, will begin graduate study in comerva.lion biology in Qneensland, ADstralia. Noah Bieszczad will study winemaking in France.

Susan Porler-Piniz ('95) is married, has a danghler, works al Merrill Lynch and gets to speak Geilllan with husband Herny and his relatives.

Christine Jones ('03) works for Cintas and lives in Loveland, Ohio.

Andrea Cheney ('03), former Editorial Assistant of this newsletter, is a graduate student in German at Ohio State.

Ayla Grozdanic ('03) is pursuing a master's in magazine journalism al New Ymk University.

Cynthia Roberts ('00) visited Miami September 15 to conduct an information session for language students about employment at the National Security Agency, where Cynthia is currently employed

Chrissy Wintergerter ('03) completed a four-week internship last summer as a reporter at the Weinheimer Nachrichten in Weinheim, Germany.

John ('96) and Mari ('96) Hatch have a son, Seiji, born August 6, and are living in San Antonio, Texas, where John works in information technology at Wells Fargo Bank, Mari as a contracts administrator at Pabst Brewing.

Foreign language enrollment rises nationwide

Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, German increase; Russian holds steady

More U.S. college students are studying foreign language than at any time since 1958, according to a new report by the Modem Language Association. Of the fifteen commonly taught languages, Spanish accounts for almost half the enrollments in colleges and universities in the U.S.; German and French together are the next largest group, at 21%. Rankings for other languages in G.R.E.AL: Japanese is the sixth most commonly studied language; Chinese is the seventh; Russian, the ninth; Arabic, the twelfth; modern Hebrew, the thirteenth. Since 1998 Arabic has increased by 93%; Japanese, Chinese and modem Hebrew, 20-30%; German 13% and Russian .5%.

Foreign language study in the U.S. increased steeply in the 1960s, decreased in the 1970s (when many colleges dropped their language requirement), rose in the 1980s and 1990s, with a dip in 1995, and are at an all-time high for 2002. Foreign languages are growing slightly faster than the student population.

At Miami, G.R.E.A.L. enrollments are also up, in German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Hebrew. Arahic is being taught for the first time this year.


Medieval literature still can speak to us today over the span of thirteen centuries.

Ask Dr. John M. Jeep, who just completed editing, and writing three articles for, Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia. "Researching cultural history in the earliest phases of German literature is a lot like working in archaeology," he says. "Bits and pieces come together to fill in the gaps of a mosaic."

Dr. Jeep just returned from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he was coordinator of Iiberal education while on a two-year leave from Miami. Now that he is back, he is pursuing not only his interest in medieval Germany but also his interest in the art of teaching, as a Faculty Teaching Associate in Miami's Office of Learning Enhancement, where he works with newly hired faculty to support innovation.

Professor Jeep and his wife, Dr. Lynda Hoffinan (currently on the faculty at Millikin) lived and studied in Munster, Germany, for ten years.

It was there, in his small and intense graduate German seminars, that he developed an interest in the alliterated word pairs (example: "Land und Leute" = the country and its people) characteristic of medieval German. Pursuing these word pairs, he discovered that not many scholars had researched German writing of the 6th through 11th centuries, and he documented over 200 word pairs.

Currently Professor Jeep is working on a book on the topic, and also would like to explore Middle High German and Early Middle German covering 150 years into the 11th and 12th centuries. -Katie Campbell


Dr. Mreko Ono was a faculty affiliate at the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute in July and Angust.

Dr. Mila Ganeva presented her research on contemporary German film and literature at several national conferences: German Studies Association in New Orleans, Women in German in Kentucky, and American Association of Teachers of German in Philadelphia.

Dr. John M. Jeep chaired the annual meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Modern Language Association International Bibliography (New York), and was installed as president of the German National Honorary, Delta Phi Alpha, at the ACTFL Conference (Philadelphia). His most recent publication is "The Roles of Women in Old High German Literature," in the Journal Mediaevistik.

Dr. Peter Carels took students to Heidelberg, Germany, with visits to Berlin and Jena, for the German summer program.

The German Program faculty completed its revision of the upper-level German curriculum (for majors and minors) from traditional literature studies to a broader, culture--- and civilization-based German Studies emphasis. Currently most German majors and minors are preparing for careers in international business or diplomacy rather than teaching or graduate literature studies, as in previous years.

Dr. Alicia Carter presented her research on Brecht's poetry al the Midwest Modem Language Association in Chicago and attended the Women in Germany Conference in Kentucky.

Dr. Robert Di Donato was the guest of honor at a booksigning party given for him by McGraw-Hill Publishing to honor the 4th edition of his popular first-year text Deutsch: Na klar!