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Professor receives distinguished service award from language teaching group

August 30, 2005

Michael Katz, C. V. Starr Professor of Russian and former dean of the Language Schools and Schools Abroad at Middlebury College, will receive the 11th Award for Distinguished Service in the Profession from the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages.

According to the ADFL, "The distinguished service award honors eminent scholar-teachers for exceptional contributions to the field of foreign languages and literatures at the post-secondary level, and Michael Katz has illustrated, as few can, extraordinary dedication coupled with outstanding accomplishments to the field of foreign languages." The award will be presented at the Modern Language Association conference in Washington, D.C., in December 2005

During his tenure as dean at Middlebury, Katz helped create a new school in Portuguese, Middlebury's ninth summer Language School; expanded the Arabic School; opened the Language Schools to researchers in second language acquisition; strengthened Middlebury's agreement with historically black colleges and universities that send students to participate in the Language Schools; and supported a statistical analysis of learning outcomes in the Language Schools, among other achievements.

Katz has served as president of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages and been on the board of the American Council of Teachers of Russian. He has been on the executive committee of the ADFL, the Modern Language Association's Editorial Board for the Texts and Translations series, and the planning committee for the MLA-New York University conference on The Relation between English and Foreign Languages in the Academy.

"Whether he is teaching Russian literature, conducting a seminar for K-12 teachers, or sitting on the floor with local kindergarten kids, Michael Katz's enthusiasm and energy are contagious," writes one of the colleagues who nominated him for the ADFL award. And a colleague at Middlebury concludes, "It can be said that the best dean is one who listens, understands, and then gets out of the way to let the faculty members do what they do best. Michael Katz has been an exceptional dean who listens, understands, asks critical questions, helps faculty members reformulate their ideas, and then supports them in ambitious projects. ... Michael's impact has been remarkable: he is a force in the foreign language field."