W&J German Program Receives Top National Designation

Created: November 15, 2016
Last Updated: August 3, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 9, 2016) – The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) has designated Washington & Jefferson College’s (W&J) German program as a German Center of Excellence.

The program will be honored during the awards presentation at the AATG Convention held in conjunction with the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Convention and World Languages Expo on Nov. 19 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel in Boston, Mass. W&J’s German program faculty will be in attendance.

Judith Atzler, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of W&J’s German program, said it is an honor to receive a designation of this magnitude. The College is only the eighth school to receive the award since 2012, and past winners include the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Arizona, The German School at Middlebury College, and Emory University.

“The recognition of W&J’s German program as a national center of excellence is another indicator that our approach to higher education is a great choice for students and a testament to our dedication to provide our students with the best education,” she said.

Keith Cothrun, executive director of the American Association of Teachers of German, noted in his award letter that W&J was selected for numerous reasons. The jury was impressed that the program is not only well-established, but continuing to grow. Strong support for the program by W&J administration, professional colleagues, parents and students, as well as ties to the wider community are evident, he said.

The selection panel also took note of the program’s extracurricular activities and special events, the largest of which is the annual German Day competition. The event brings about 400 high school and middle school students to campus and connects the German Program at W&J to the surrounding school communitites. Students compete by performing songs, dances, plays, and reciting poems, among other events.

W&J’s German program also hosts German Campus Week, made possible by a grant from the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. The program has applied for and received the grant every year since 2011.

W&J faculty also played a major role in earning the award. Cothrun noted that faculty members’ credentials, including continuing education efforts, as well as the design of the curriculum and their personal work with students influenced the panel’s decision.

Atzler said although curriculum is not always the most exciting part of the German program (for students to hear about), it’s the portion of which she is perhaps most proud.

“It is the curriculum that helps our students to foster their language and cultural skills and what turns them into the successful majors and minors that graduate from our program, continuing in a variety of fields, completing teaching and research Fulbrights, giving back through Teach for America, and continuing their education in graduate school,” she said.

 

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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