Announcements, News

The C.V. Starr Professor of Russian and East European Studies will start in September as director of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian.


Middlebury has named Tatiana Smorodinska as the next director of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian, one of 13 Middlebury Language Schools, known internationally for their full-immersion approach to language teaching and the Language Pledge. She begins her new position on September 1, succeeding Jason Merrill, who has led the School since 2010.

Smorodinska is currently the C.V. Starr Professor of Russian and East European Studies and Chair of the Russian Department at Middlebury College. She holds a PhD from the Department of Slavic and East European Language and Literatures at The Ohio State University and an MA in Russian Language and Literature from Moscow State University. She is a former instructor at the Language Schools and has almost 30 years of teaching experience in Russian language, literature, and culture. 

The School of Russian, founded in 1945, offers an eight-week summer immersion program with beginner through advanced levels as well as a graduate program with an option in Kazakhstan. The School has also offered online refresher and advanced courses and a STARTALK institute for current and prospective teachers of Russian.

“We look forward to working with Tatiana Smorodinska,” said Steve Snyder, dean of Language Schools. “She brings great knowledge and expertise to the School of Russian and will help us strengthen ties in Russian studies across Middlebury. 

“We also want to express deep appreciation to Jason Merrill for an extraordinary tenure in the School of Russian. His leadership, dedication, and passion have taken the School to new heights. It has been a privilege and a pleasure for all of us in the Language Schools family to work with him,” Snyder added.  

Smorodinska said she is honored to serve as Director of the School of Russian, adding, “I will do everything to uphold its renowned reputation and high standards of teaching. I am immensely grateful to Jason Merrill who was an exceptional director for so many years.”

More information about the Middlebury Language Schools is available on the Language Schools website or by contacting the Language Schools at 802-443-5510 or