Alumni & Giving

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 in which we would greatly appreciate your support.

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The pillars of our department are our assistant instructors (AIs). These graduate students teach courses for us, typically as instructors of German. In return, they receive a stipend in an amount is set by the College of Arts and Sciences. The AIs in foreign languages tend to receive less money than AIs in many other fields, and we would love to top-up their stipends. We want to recognize their wonderful contribution to the department and also allow them to focus on their graduate studies. Our graduate students would receive these supplementary funds as named fellowships.

We have seen on many occasions how study abroad changes lives. Our department already interviews all candidates who apply for study abroad in Germany. Awarding a fellowship to the most deserving candidates would allow us to better broadcast their options, while making the priceless opportunity of study abroad available to more students. This is a perfect instance of how giving a small fellowship to a student in need can go a long way.

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 provide funding for this gathering as a student-run biannual event, also attaching a name to the conference to make it memorable and recognizable. The department is prepared to offer substantial co-payment for this initiative.

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. Each year, we have at least five students (and sometimes many more) attending conferences to present their research. We would like to at least partially alleviate the financial burden this entails.

Our department is ranked number two in the nation (we tied with Berkeley) by the last NRC report, but we lack a prestigious lecture series. At this point, we have one official annual departmental lecture. This lecture is paid for by an endowment in the name of Hedwig Leser, an early Germanic Studies doctoral student. The Hedwig Leser lecture brings one beginning assistant professor to us, selected by the graduate students.

It would be wonderful to add an additional annual lecture to also bring a more senior colleague, chosen by the faculty with input from graduate student representatives with full voting rights in the selection process. The department would be happy to cover half of the annual costs and is looking for a sponsor for this initiative.

Donor spotlights

Our department is fortunate to benefit from the generosity of many past and current donors. Their contributions have helped to create scholarships, support research, and sponsor events. We encourage you to meet a few of our current donors.

Ben Robinson

Over the past few years, the Department of Germanic Studies has had the good fortune of being remembered with generosity by former students, faculty members, and friends. The gifts they have given the department have allowed us to support today’s undergraduate and graduate students and recognize their achievements. It has also enabled our support of high school teachers of German and their students.

Ben Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Germanic Studies