GREAL Alumni Newsletter - December 2010

Volume 11, No. 1
December 2010


Dear Alums,  Change is inevitable, and can often be positive. Miami's ongoing institutional discussions about increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations, both administrative and academic, will require some change from GREAL, as from other units. We believe we can respond in a positive way to the financial challenges we now face, and remain the strong departmental program we have always been. Happy Holidays!

-- Margaret Ziolkowski Acting Chair, GREAL


Miami, like state universities nationwide, is refocusing its operations in response to the current recession and the associated budget shortfalls. A Miami Strategic Priorities Task Force has recommended to the President some changes to the academic core of Miami. Some of these will have direct impact on GREAL. Herewith some examples and how GREAL is responding: «Reduce the number of academic departments through consolidation:

  • GREAL is discussing a merger with Classics. This would not affect the type or number of course offerings; «Streamline the curriculum, particularly looking at duplications and sections with enrollments under 10:
  • We are currently reviewing courses for majors and minors to consolidate those that typically draw small enrollment;
  • Review Miami Plan Foundation course offerings and reduce. GREAL is evaluating its MP Foundation courses and will shrink offerings.

Our majors in East Asian Languages and Culture (50) German (28), and Russian/East European and Eurasian (27) remain strong, and we do not envision major changes, although our curricula continue to undergo regular review and revision.

Recent revisions to the Arts and Science requirement have renewed Miami's widely supported foreign language requirement.


Students from Dr. Ruth Sanders 's capstone German course attended their videoconference Dec. 6 with students of Interkulturelle Kommunikation at the University of Hildesheim, Germany. Their discussion topic: the cost of a college education in the U.S. and Germany.

Dr. Robert DiDonato (German) attended the November meeting of the American Association of Teachers of German in Boston, where he was named Outstanding German Educator in Higher Education. With the award came a grant for professional travel to Germany. With Dr. DiDonato were Monika Clyde (co-author of their textbook, Deutsch na klar), Dr. Audrone Willeke (MU professor emerita of German), and Dr. Ruth Sanders (German).

Monika Sierkowska, visiting instructor from Munich, showed off her Dirndl at Cincinnati's Oktoberfest.


In Weimar, Germany, 1918- 1933, women's fashion wasn't just for women, and it wasn't just fashion. As it turns out, like almost everything else in Germany at that time, fashion was dripping with significance.

Dr. Mila Ganeva's book, Women in Weimar Fashion (Camden House, 2008), analyzes fashion as a reflection of the times and as a topic for women writers. Dr. Ganeva's expertise on the culture of the Weimar Republic and of Berlin, through and after two world wars, is on display in her teaching. She has taught

two seminars on Berlin that culminated in a study trip with her students to Berlin, and regularly teaches third-year literature courses on the intersection of political events, literature, and culture.

Dr. Ganeva was born in Bulgaria and received her undergraduate degree in German from Sofia University, worked for an American agency and then earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. She came to Miami in 2001 and became Associate Professor in 2008.


Dava Belloli Brown (German 07), lives in Thailand with husband Josh and son Simeon, 16 months, where Josh works for a German company.

Amanda Hazenfield (German 08) finished her Master's in Dec. 09 at the U. of Kentucky, is now Assistant Librarian at the Art Institute of Ohio in Cincinnati.

John Valentine (German), still the World Languages Coordinator for the state of Georgia, is working on his doctorate in Educational Technology.

Michael Seifried (German 05) married Melissa Schwind (Botany 06), finished his Master's in Philosophy at Columbia U. and is working on his Ph.D. Amy Peterson (German 09), got her MA in American Studies from Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Kevin Resor (German 09) is a professional services analyst at the Nielsen Company.

Kate Swift Zale (Russian) is a sonographer at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus.


We appreciate your financial support, which helps us to add those meaningful extras to our students' educational experience. The Gift Fund provides small scholarships for study abroad and supports our end-of-the-year graduating seniors event.  You may give to the "GREAL Gift Fund" at M.U. Office of Development, 725 E. Chestnut, Oxford, OH 45056.  Or go to: Click on 'Other' and 'GREAL'


Russian:  GREAL and the Havighurst Center hosted a reading by Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan, winner the BBC Ukrainian Service Book of the Year prize. Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky will in July lead the first-ever Miami study program in Ukraine.

Japanese:  Dr. Noriko Reider's book Japanese Demon Lore: Oni, from Ancient Times to the Present, was published in October by Utah State University Press.

Chinese: The program started to offer Business Chinese this fall.

Arabic: The third-year Arabic language course, ARB 311, Media Arabic, will be offered for the first time in Spring 2011. Twelve students studied Arabic in Miami's summer 2010 workshop, led by Saleh Yousef at the University of Jordan.

German: Dr. John Jeep was named Director of Miami's Linguistics Program. Dr. Ruth Sanders' s book, German: Biography of a Language (Oxford University Press, June 2010), was reviewed in The Economist Magazine.