Ph.D. (1992) in Germanic Languages, University of California, Los Angeles
Office: Stevenson 3016-I
Spring 2015 office hours: Tuesday/Thursday 4:30-5:00 pm, and by appointment
A childhood fascination with the German language fed my desire to learn it while I was a music major studying piano at the University of Iowa School of Music. That desire virtually took over my life, leading to many years of living in Germany where I studied German language and literature, music, and pedagogy (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität; Pädagogische Hochschule, Freiburg), and further to my doctoral studies at UCLA. My curiosity about the language’s intricacies, its history and writing, its cultural and physical surroundings, and its speakers has not waned. How best to teach this rich language with its myriad of artistic, philosophical, historical, and socio-political offerings is a challenge that brings me joy.
I fully embrace the personalized, affective, and communicative teaching methods put forward by Krashen and Terrell in their Natural Approach to teaching language. That means my classroom is a lively place where students’ opinions, talents, hobbies, studies, and personal pursuits motivate their acquisition of German. My courses are conducted entirely in German and students’ voices fill the room with meaningful German conversation that is consistently growing in sophistication. Art, music, role-play, or even food preparation might find its place there in a quite practical way, while students utilize newly acquired language structures. Every student brings an essential component to the class’ common pursuit of learning German.
My Academic and Professional Experience:
Prior to joining Sonoma State’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures I taught German for many years at Pepperdine University in Malibu and also at the Goethe Institut in Los Angeles, UCLA, the RAND Corporation, the Getty Institute, and the University of Iowa. My doctoral research was published in 1997 under the title The Body and Eucharistic Devotion in Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg’s “Meditations”. I am also the Music Enrichment teacher at Healdsburg Elementary School and at West Side School in rural Healdsburg where I teach vocal music, rhythm, and dance. I am an oil painter as well. I am currently collaborating on a large-scale realist canvas with Healdsburg artist Christopher L. Evans to raise awareness concerning the deforestation of lands belonging to the native Penan people of Borneo.