Vice President for Language Schools, Schools Abroad, and Graduate Programs Michael Geisler recently announced that Jason Merrill, Associate Professor of Russian at Michigan State University, has accepted an appointment as director of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian, starting in summer 2010. Jason succeeds Karen Evans-Romaine as director of the School, following her highly successful tenure.
Jason is a 1990 graduate of Middlebury College, summa cum laude, where he majored in Russian and Soviet Area Studies. He received both his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. After four years at Drew University, during which he directed the university's Russian program, he moved to Michigan State, where he received tenure and was promoted to associate professor.
Jason began teaching at the Middlebury School of Russian in 2001. After several years spent working on his research and writing, he returned to the School in 2007 and has since led Level 4. During his summers at Middlebury he coached the School's volleyball team, often leading them to championships—while always putting student cooperation above competition. Students, faculty, and staff members alike have praised Jason for his outstanding teaching and collegiality, as well as his dedication in serving as a model for maintaining the Language Pledge.
An author of Russian-language textbooks, English- and Russian-language pedagogical works, and scholarly articles on Russian literature and film, Jason is uniquely qualified for the directorship of the Davis School of Russian. He has taught Russian-language courses at all levels and various subjects, including film and 20th-century literature. He has also led a unique study-abroad program for Michigan State University, training both Russian-language and engineering students in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad). He published a piece on this program in NewsNet, the bulletin of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS).
Jason has also served the profession nationally, particularly on the Program Committee of the American Association for Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, and as a member of the AATSEEL-AAASS Joint Committee on Language Training. Aside from Russian, he speaks some Spanish, French, Polish, and Slovene.