German Department Holds Annual Majors and Minors Meeting

The German Faculty at Miami University
The German Faculty at Miami University

By Maia Anderson, CAS Communications Intern

The German program, a component of the Department of German, Russian, Asian & Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures (GRAMELAC), held its annual M&M (majors & minors) meeting on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

German professor Mila Ganeva hosted the event, which takes place every fall. It is designed for German majors and minors to meet each other, as well as the faculty, and to learn about course and experiential learning opportunities within the department. This meeting was also open to any student interested in the German language and/or culture.

The German faculty introduced themselves to students and talked about how long they’ve been teaching, their favorite courses, accomplishments in research, and hobbies outside of the department. The department’s Germanists are Dr. Mila Ganeva, Dr. Sascha Gerhards, Dr. Catherine Grimm, Dr. Mariana Ivanova, Dr. John M. Jeep, Dr. Oliver Knabe, and Dr. Nicole Thesz.

Ganeva presented a preview of German spring courses, special departmental events, German winter and summer courses, and German study abroad programs.

Ganeva touched upon the topic of  a German department honors thesis. The department Germanists invite one to three top student achievers to complete a thesis, giving them the chance to graduate with Department Honors.

Students who are selected work alongside a faculty member for two semesters specializing in the subject of the student’s interest and receive assistance throughout the thesis process. Faculty members will also help the students apply to be a CAS Dean’s Scholar, and students will present their thesis in April at a university-wide event.

Previous thesis topics include West German films at the beginning of the Cold War and how a wave of migrants to Germany received their German language instruction. Length of the thesis is determined on a case-by-case basis, but tends to be 40-50 pages. Completing the thesis gives students 4-6 credit hours for GER 480, a thesis prep course that runs as an independent study.

Ganeva also discussed KAFFEE im KING, a meeting of the German Language Table. They meet every Monday at 4:15pm at King Café. This is a regular social event held by students studying German and facilitated by assistant teaching professor Catherine Grimm. This is an opportunity for students to  practice their German language skills in a relaxed environment.  There is also regular discussions regarding the German culture.  Students only need an interest in learning German to attend; no major or minor required.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program was also discussed at the M&M meeting. Fulbright is a program made for graduating seniors and those who have graduated within the last three years to receive funds to become cultural ambassadors and teach German in other countries. Top performing German students have the opportunity to teach English in Germany for a full year. Past grantees were:

2017 - Graham von Carlowitz - Germany, English Teaching Assistant

2016 - Jonathan Meyer - Germany, English Teaching Assistant

2016 - William Smeal - Bulgaria, English Teaching Assistant

20 to 30 students attended the M&M meeting this year. They consisted of a mix of German majors and minors as well as students unaffiliated with the GRAMELAC department but who have an interest in learning the German language.