GREAL Alumni Newsletter - December 2005

Volume 5, Issue 1
December 2005

From the Chair:

Wow - to think that the year is coming to a close! This has been a wonderful year for GREAL as you can see by our Newsletter. Just last week faculty senate approved two new majors in GREAL (see p. 2). More and more students are pursuing studies in both of these areas and the new majors will meet their needs. Students of German will be receiving more scholarship aid thanks to our benefactors, Ralph and Joan Hovel Van Vliet. This fall the department underwent program review, something that is done every five years. Both an internal review committee as well as and external one meet with department members to discuss what is going on in the department. To that end, we compile a self-study. That study demonstrates the progress of GREAL over the last five years. One interesting statistic: total GREAL enrollment in all courses has increased from 1763 students in 2000-2001 to 2659 students in 2005. Great news!

On behalf of all the faculty in GREAL I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you peace, joy, and health in the New Year.

-- Robert DiDonato

Gorbachev visits Miami

In October 2005, Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, visited Miami. He spoke to a packed and attentive audience in Millett Hall about his perceptions of the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union and his assessment of current global challenges. Earlier Gorbachev met with a Political Science class and answered their questions. He also met informally with students, faculty, and administrators. The visit was sponsored in part by GREAL and the Havighurst Center for Russian and PostSoviet Studies.

On the Department's two newly approved majors: Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies - a two track major: "Language, Literature, Culture" and "History and Politics," and the other in East Asian Language and Cultures with an emphasis either on Japan or China or both, see the related article on p. 2.

One interesting statistic: total GREAL enrollment in all courses has increased from 1,763 students in 2000-2001 to 2,659 students in 2005 ("From the Chair").

Update on Ralph and Joan Hovel Memorial Bequest

In our May, 2005 issue, we reported on a gift of $850,000 by Ralph Martin Hovel ('35) and his wife Joan Van Vliet to Miami University's German program. The money generated by the bequest is to support excellent students of German, and will be used in part to attract high school students interested in pursuing German Studies at Miami. This past year, awards went to students

on the Intensive German Summer Program. This fall we learned that an additional $505,000 was made available to the German section of GREAL for scholarships. After meeting with a representative of the scholarship office, we have determined a number of ways in which to award the money to both incoming students interested in German and also to students already here who are pursuing German studies. The funds make it possible for us to attract more students to our already successful German program and to support them in a variety of ways from help with tuition to study abroad. We are indeed most grateful to the Hovels for remembering German at Miami and being so generous in their support.

Two new GREAL Majors approved by Senate

Monday, December 4, was a big day for GREAL, as Miami University Senate unanimously approved two new majors put forth by the Department: East Asian Languages and Cultures and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

The Department was congratulated by Dean Jeffery Herbst on its fine work in developing the majors proposals and in providing offerings for our students with relevance for important parts of the world that will benefit graduates in the twenty-first century. In this way, the Department is playing a significant role in Miami University efforts to become more international. The addition of Hebrew and Arabic to GREAL have increased the number of languages available to Miami students.

Japanese and Chinese enrollments continue to grow, and now students can pursue a major in one or both of these areas.

See the Department website for details on the new majors.

Miami German Students in Munich

Seven current Miami students are studying in Munich for the 2005-06 academic year: Dava Belloli, Chris Burton, Prof. Sanders, Margie Yeager, Jon Bobak, Erin Munsie, Adam Payne, and Brandon Durbin.

Alumni News (received May-December 2005)

Lynn Morgan (1974), married to Dan Bauer, two sons (Morgan 17 and Matthew 13), senior attorney for Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington aiding homeless persons.

J. Steven Bonnell (M.A. 1988), has, after serving in Iraq, returned to his job at Barr Laboratories in Cincinnati as the Manager of Environmental Services; also does pro bono Russian translating; his wife, Ann (nee Troxel) is working with Conversa Language Services in Cincinnati as a Spanish translator; sons Nathaniel and Micah are thriving.

Dan Thornton is Associate Director of Scholarships and Student Aid, University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, teaches Dutch, and will do research in the Netherlands this summer.

Gena Ellis Kittel (1990) has moved with her husband to the Black Forest; Gena continues to work with the University in Cologne translating and grading exams.

Paulien Ruijssenaars (1992) and her husband are expecting their first child in July. Paulien has moved to consulting in her field of communications.

Katy Cassidy and husband Mark are training for the Berlin marathon, September 2006, in their Australian hometown.

Kristin Diane Phillips is doing research this academic year in Tanzania toward her graduate degree in Anthropology (U of Wisconsin); she travels to Indonesia to visit her fiancee.

Sean Killian works for Chermonics International in Washington, DC in international development, and looks forward to attending the World Cup in Germany in the summer.

Noah Bieszczad (1999) works with a wine distributor in Toledo, following an internship as a wine grower in France.

Jessica Scheetz Douglas (1999) teaches middle school German in Williamstown, New Jersey.

Andrea Stefaniuk has completed her MA in Translation Studies at Kent State University, and is teaching high school German in Ohio following a stint in Cologne.

Thomas Stefaniuk divides his time between Berlin and Ohio.

Ashley Meier Barlow (2000) will begin her third year at Salmon P. Chase College of Law (NKU), works as a law clerk at the Hesch Law Firm in Oakley and Tranter & Meier Law Firm in Ft. Thomas (KY), where she lives with her husband (as of June 19, 2004) Brandon Barlow, a loan officer with Wells Fargo and real estate agent with Huff Realty.

Carina Jeep (2003) graduated from law school at Michigan State in May, passed the Florida bar exam during the summer, and has begun working with a national legal firm in Tampa.

Mike Price (2003) finished his first year at the University of Miami Law School, will study international law abroad, and visit the other Miami, as well.

Let us know what you are doing, and please include your year of graduation. Send your news to

Faculty News: July-December 2005

Peter Carels, in his ninth and final year as director of our Summer Intensive German Program in Heidelberg/Jena/ Berlin, marked the 20th anniversary of cooperation with the host city of Neckarqernund (near Heidelberg) by presenting Mayor Althof with a proclamation from the mayor of Oxford, Jerome Conley, at a reception in the city hall attended by the 19 participating Miami students.

Robert DiDonato published The Big Yellow Book of Verbs with Listen, Franklin. McGraw-Hill, 2005, a reference work containing 555 verbs conjugated and with sample usage sentences.

Mila Ganeva gave a paper, "Vicki Baum and the Mannequin Novels of the 1920s and 1930s" at the Conference of the German Studies Association in Milwaukee in September.

John M. Jeep continues as President of the National German Honorary, Delta Phi Alpha.

Mieko Ono led the East Asian Languages and Cultures Major approval process, published an essay on "A Cat and Traditional Tokoyoite," and addressed Miami's Linguistics Program on Japanese.

Noriko Reider published three articles and gave one presentation each at Atlanta and Cambridge, England.

Sven-Erik Rose has delivered papers on Marx, Heine, and the Holocaust, has a publication forthcoming on Kant, has developed a Jewish book discussion series, and is working on curricular development related to diversity; for next fall he has accepted a tenure-track appointment in the Department of French and Italian.

Ruth Sanders is on sabbatical for 2005-2006 at the lnstitut fur Deutsch als Fremdsprache, University of Munich, where she is working on a manuscript on the social history of the German language.

Liang Shi was invited to give a talk to the Scott Hall residents about the women issues in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Nicole Thesz has articles forthcoming on Thomas Mann and Gunter Grass, and gave a paper on German citizenship in Atlanta.

Margaret Ziolkowski published Alien Visions: The Chechens and the Navajos in Russian and American Literature.

Retirement: Dr. Edward M. V. Plater completes his tenure teaching German, Film Studies, and German-American heritage this December. Arriving at Miami in 1967, Dr. Plater also served as director of the Language Lab. The Department wishes Ed and his wife Debbie many happy years of retirement.