GREAL Alumni Newsletter - May 2008

Volume 8, No. 2
May 2008

Dear Alums:

America is internationalizing and more students than ever are becoming aware of the need to include foreign language in their education. The new Global Miami Plan will help us to make it happen!

-- Robert Di Donato, Chair

Global Miami Plan Approved

Internationalization at Miami got a shot in the arm this spring with the approval of the "Global Miami Plan," which gives students credit (6 hours) for study abroad and provides a suite of courses (9 hours) with a world-wide foundation for those who do not study abroad.

The Miami Plan, Miami's liberal education based university course requirements, hasn't undergone a change of this magnitude since its inception nearly twenty years ago. Both University Senate and the Student Government supported the new plan; implementation will begin in 2009-2010.

The changes to the liberal education requirement offer an incentive for study abroad (a three-hour reduction in required credit hours) and provides flexible options for students who do not study abroad. What the two options have in common is providing an international viewpoint in subject areas throughout the university.

The international courses, called the G-cluster, will fulfill a nine-hour sequence, allowing students to follow a subject area in depth.

Students who study abroad will fulfill the G-cluster requirement with only six hours.

The G-Cluster is three courses focusing on a global theme or issue. The G-Cluster requirement may be fulfilled through current courses, and new courses will be developed especially for it. Foreign language acquisition courses are particularly appropriate for the G-Cluster, said Dr. Jerry Stonewater, Director of Liberal Education.

GREAL, which now offers language acquisition courses for eight languages, expects to see continued increased enrollment as a result.

Dr. Paul Mitchell To Retire

After a stint in the U.S. Army spent in Lubeck, Germany, transcribing Russian military transmissions, Paul Mitchell, B.A., Earlham College, earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Russian from Indiana University. He shared some memories of his early years at Miami:

"The old technology! Purple ditto copies; no Web, no e-mail, but two typewriters--one Russian and one American. For class handouts I switched the paper back and forth, until the IBM Selectric, with a metal ball to change for each language ....

"We had multiple sections of Russian language courses, but only one lit course. I taught the first Russian film course at the beginning of the 1990s."

Dr. Mitchell and wife Heike, who met in Lubeck, will use Oxford as home base as they explore the U.S. in their VW Eurovan. Daughter Judith lives in Oxford; Stephanie in Arlington, VA.

Hans Pleschinski Bids us Farewell

Our Writer in Residence for spring 2008 sent us this letter from Munich:  "My experience at Miami was enriching and invigorating. I was able to perceive anew life in the U.S. The politeness, friendliness and curiosity of my hosts were exemplary. For myself, I hope that I provided a fresh picture of Germany through my readings and teaching, and helped my students find joy in German and the varied faces of my country. May GermanAmerican relations remain stamped by trust and creativity. A small contribution to that may have been achieved at Miami University."

Alumni News from All Over

Rebecca Cornett (89) teachers German at Cincinnati's Colerain High School and uses the student to-student exchange Friendship Connection. She was recently selected to represent Cincinnati in the 2008 Munich Sister City Exchange. She lives in Fairfield with her son, Cy.

Meredith Leland (00) is now living in Utrecht, Holland, and working as a microbiologist with JohnsonDiversey, an American firm based in Wisconsin. She will marry Bart Theelen in May. She reports that her German studies help her in learning Dutch, but that spelling it (very different from German) is a challenge!

Jasmin Raetzer (07) is studying English and education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, preparing to become a teacher, watches German films on her computer.

Stewart Combs (89) is Director of Admissions for Penn State's new School of international Affairs, with a joint appointment as Associate director of Graduate and International Programs. He lives in State College with wife Sarah and daughters Calista and Fiona.

James Herlihy (1993) works at his family's firm, Herlihy Moving and Storage, in Grove City, Ohio. While at Miami he participated in the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (in Germany) and promotes it whenever he can.


Dr. John Jeep (German) will direct Miami's summer German program in Heidelberg, and conduct research on medieval German.

Dr. Liang Shi (Chinese) will direct Miami's Summer Chinese program in Tianjin, China and conduct research on Chinese cinema.

Dr. Nicole Thesz (German) will use a Miami summer research award to work on a book manuscript on writer Gunter Grass. Dr. Mieko Ono (Japanese) will travel to Hokkaido and Tokyo Japan for conferences and library research.

Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky (Russian) will travel to Ukraine to research modern Ukrainian cinema.

Helen Wang (Chinese) will visit China, and will then teach in the Chinese Academy, the summer Chinese language program at MU Hamilton. Dr. Mila Ganeva (German) will attend film conferences in Stockholm, Sweden, and Montreal, Canada, and conduct intensive research .

Dr. Robert DiDonato (German) will lecture at two universities in China, conduct research in Germany, and direct Miami's Visit America English language program for students from Korea.

Dr. Ruth Sanders (German) will lecture and do research at Ludwig Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, Germany.

Dr. Noriko Reider (Japanese) will be revising her book, Japanese Demon Lore, and writing articles.