Support Germanic Studies
While we are equipped to cover our everyday operations, there are several areas in which we are in need. We also have students who sometimes struggle to make ends meet. There are five particular areas for which we would greatly appreciate your support.
Fellowships for Graduate Students in Need
The pillars of our department are our assistant instructors, or "A.I.s." for short. These are graduate students who teach courses for us, typically as instructors of German, and in return, they receive a stipend from the college. The stipend amount is set by the College of Arts and Sciences. The A.I.s in foreign languages tend to receive less money than the A.I.s in many other fields - we would love to top-up their stipends.
We want to recognize their wonderful contribution to the department and allow them to focus on their graduate studies. Our graduate students would receive these supplementary funds as named fellowships.
Study Abroad Aid for Students in Need
The campus does offer certain avenues of support to students pursuing studies abroad, such as the Office for Overseas Study and the Hutton Honors College. Nevertheless, more funding would make this priceless opportunity available to more students.
I have seen on many occasions how study abroad has changed lives. Our department already interviews all candidates who apply for study abroad in Germany. Awarding a fellowship to the most deserving students would not be complicated—and would help to make this opportunity available to more students as well as allow us to better advertise their options. This is a perfect instance of how giving a small fellowship to a student in need can go a long way.
Biannual Research Symposium for Undergraduate Research in German Studies
In November 2012, the Department organized and hosted a large undergraduate research conference for all students studying "things German" in North America. For the conference, we covered all expenses (travel, lodging and food). We received a ton of applications and selected about 40 external presenters. The symposium was a huge success and showed us that there is a large demand for such events in the country.
We would like to offer this on a regular basis (bi-annual) and student-run, while providing the funding for the event. We would also like to see a name attached to this event, to make it recognizable. The department is prepared to offer substantial co-payment for this initiative. The main costs would be travel (lodging would be free with our students.)
Conference Travel Funds
In a recent round of budget cuts, our department, along with many others, lost our limited funding to support graduate students who present their research at national conferences. Instead, funding is made available to students on a highly competitive basis via the College of Arts and Sciences. We have at least 5 students (and sometimes many more) per year attending conferences to present their research and we would like to at least partially alleviate the financial burden this entails.
Annual Named Lecture Series
At this point, the department has one official annual departmental lecture. This lecture is paid for by an endowment in the name of Hedwig Leser, an early doctoral student in our department. This lecture brings one beginning assistant professor to us, selected by the graduate students.
It would be wonderful to add an annual lecture that brings a more senior colleague to us, selected by the faculty, supplemented by input from the graduate students (giving their official representatives full voting rights). This lecture could be tied to an annual reception. Our department is ranked No. 2 in the nation (we tied with Berkeley) by the last NRC report, but we lack a prestigious lecture series. The department would be happy to cover half of the annual costs.