Our enrollments – we have by far the strongest enrollments in first-year Russian in the country – teaching evaluations, and the variety of courses we offer all testify that we are, indeed, a very strong academic program and a leader in the field.
In 2005 we restructured our curriculum to introduce lower-division courses in literature and film. The results have been very impressive, due both to the popularity of the topics of the courses (“Russians in Hollywood,” “From Russia with Love,” “Introduction to Russian Culture and Civilization”) and to excellence in teaching. In 2005-2008, lower-division literature and film courses often attracted enrollments of 50-70 students. Our well-enrolled “hits” also include courses on Eastern-European film and Slavic cultural and sociolinguistics.
We expand our interdisciplinary endeavors and foster undergraduate research offering courses like “Language of Advertising” for freshmen; recently we initiated a cross-cultural program in conjunction with School of Nursing “Russian Talk: Communication, Culture, & Health in Sochi, Russia.”
Our teaching, across the board, receives strong, often stellar, evaluations. In any given year we have several faculty nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Award: in fact 8 of us have been nominated for this distinction in the past 5 years alone, which is quite remarkable for a relatively small department like ours, with only 7 professors and 4 lecturers.
The mission of our undergraduate and graduate programs is to provide effective instruction in a variety of Slavic languages, literatures, and cultures, for the benefit of all members of the University community, whatever their subject of specialization. We have consistently served between thirty and eighty undergraduate majors, and bestowed, in 2000-2007, up to 5 MA degrees, and one Ph.D. degree each year. We also work closely with the Honors Program on campus and teach at least three Honors sections each year.
We are also active in leading Exploration Seminars to the areas of our specialization. The Summer and Fall of 2008 will feature two: one in Sochi, and the other in the Republic of Georgia.
Scholarship and service
The faculty in all ranks are engaged in active and productive scholarship, most publishing regularly and all giving papers at national and international conferences. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2007 we ranked as number nine among our peer institutions in terms of our Scholarly Productivity – see the Chronicle of Higher Education website. This places us ahead of Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, University of Michigan and Ohio State.
We will detail individual scholarly achievements below, but our collective research and professional expertise covers Russian and Eastern European Literature (Alaniz, Crnkovic, Diment, Henry, West), Critical Theory (Crnković), Russian and Eastern European Film (Alaniz, Crnković, Diment), Slavic Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (Augerot, Belić, Dziwirek), Visual Arts (Alaniz, West), Cultural Studies (Alaniz, Dziwirek). Several of us (Alaniz, Crnković, Diment, West) are also specialists in Comparative Literature. In 2006-07 three of our faculty (Alaniz, Dziwirek, Henry) were awarded the Royalty Research Fund Fellowship for three different projects. Other significant Research Fellowships given to faculty in the past five years included an NEH Summer Research Grant (Henry), an IREX Grant for Research in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (Crnković), an NEH Reference Materials Program Grant (West, Biggins), a Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society (Diment), Chaim Schwartz Foundation for Jewish Culture Grant (Henry), a Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship Grant (Diment), a UW Simpson Center for the Humanities Research Fellowships (Crnković, Alaniz).
Our faculty is dedicated to university and professional service that goes beyond the department and immediate community, and extends to College of Arts and Sciences, University, and Faculty Senate councils and committees, as well as major national professional organizations and committees. In the past five years these have included elected positions on the College Council (Diment, Humanities; 2005-09) and MLA’s Association of Departments of Foreign Languages Executive Committee (Diment, Russian; 2002-05); membership on the College of A & S Budget Advisory Committee (Diment, 2002-04), chairing 2005 AAASS Program Committee (West, 2004-05) and being a member of standing program committee of AATSEEL (West, 2004-05), membership on National AAUP Committee on Government Relations (Diment, 2000-06) and National AAUP Special Committee on Academic Freedom and National Security (Diment, 2002-05), as well as membership on important Faculty Senate councils (Dziwirek, Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs 2002-2004 and Faculty Council on University Relations 2001-2003; Diment, Faculty Council on University Libraries, 2006-09), and College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Fellows Program (Crnković, 2007-08). We are also the proud home of two recent recipients of The Distinguished Staff Award: our Administrator, Shosh Westen (2001), and Affiliate Professor (and Slavic and Eastern European Librarian) Michael Biggins (2005).