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KU Professor Selected for Fellow Award

February 18, 2014

Nancy ZimmermanKUTZTOWN, Pa. - Dr. Nancy Zimmerman, assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Language Studies, has been chosen to receive a SANS, Inc/MEAD Leadership Fellowship. The award recognizes foreign language teachers who demonstrate leadership and vision in world language education.

Zimmerman, who taught SPA 214, "Written and Oral Communication for Spanish Speaking Heritage Learners" last year, realized that many heritage and non-heritage speakers are learning to speak Spanish as a second language. This year, she developed an assignment where heritage and non-heritage students will collaborate to create a bilingual children's book. Although both students will speak in Spanish about the story's plot development, the person whose first language is English will write their half of the book in English, and the heritage speaker will write their half of the book in Spanish.

With Zimmerman's assistance, students will create e-books with both English and Spanish narration, which will be available online for language learners in the regional community and beyond to access. After the e-book is made available online, students will have the opportunity to have them bound.

Currently, Zimmerman is designing a prototype with KU student Raquel Luis.

"This is a really incredible point in my career," Zimmerman said. "Creativity is something I really search for as a Spanish instructor, and because I also teach future educators. I think it's important to search for creative outlets for all our students. The assignment I designed allows them to engage in hands-on, collaborative and experiential education. My students are immensely talented and this gives them the chance to shine."

Zimmerman will receive the award this March, during the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Boston, Mass.