Indiana University Bloomington

Germanic Studies

Indiana University

College of Arts and Sciences

What Our Students Think

Current Graduate Students:

"Since joining the IU Germanic Studies Department in the fall of 2001, I have had the opportunity to acquire extensive teaching experience, both in the U.S. and abroad. After teaching numerous language courses early in my career and instructing high school students in Krefeld, Germany, my first three summers, I qualified to teach an entry-level course on Weimar culture and literature at the Indiana University Collins Living-Learning Center. The following summer, I taught a literature-oriented course for undergraduates in Graz, Austria, through the Department of Germanic Studies. Most recently, I was given the opportunity to teach a mid-level course on honor and violence in 19th-century German culture and literature. Teaching this course enabled me to organize more clearly various thoughts and ideas concerning my dissertation project, which addresses attitudes toward dueling in 19th-century literature. Thanks to a departmental dissertation fellowship, I am now able to focus solely on completing this project.", Dr. Andrew Mills, Lecturer, University of Michigan

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"I came into the Department of Germanic Studies as a Ph.D. candidate in Fall 2005. The two main qualities of this place that immediately struck me for making me feel at home are the passion and the humanity all of its members show in accomplishing their work. Since for me these are the necessary and ideal preconditions underlying education as well as any sort of intellectual engagement, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these constitute the solid basis for interaction among people in the department. Eclecticism, for example, is one of those common attributes through which passion becomes evident. As a student, I greatly benefit from the strong eclectic profile of my professors, because I can count on the fact that the same versatile interest for knowledge is being devoted to the discussion of students’ ideas, and this finally represents a guarantee for academic dialog to be always attentive to the concerns of students and respectful of their aspirations. Personally, I also enjoy the fact that helping students to grow intellectually is a goal toward which everybody here works together with equal awareness and commitment, so that so far I have never felt my own enthusiasm to be neglected nor frustrated by others. It is to the uncommon and fortunate combination of these two elements—passion and humanity—that I would not hesitate to ascribe the success of my academic achievements. If I can study and teach at the best of my ability, it is because my efforts are happily sustained by the rewarding feeling of finding myself exactly in the place where I wanted to be.", Laura Oreggioni, PhD candidate

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"When I arrived at IU in 2004, my interests – borne from my undergraduate work in German and Linguistics – were broadly directed towards historical linguistics, with an eye toward doing interdisciplinary work in various social or natural sciences. In my first semester, however, I was wisely encouraged – as I have been so many times since by faculty – to take a course on Gothic (the earliest attested Germanic language), which exposed me to the world of Germanic philology. This, combined with subsequent courses on medieval manuscript culture and medieval literature (much of it read in original languages, e.g. Old Norse and Old High German), have put me squarely on a trajectory to do philological work on issues surrounding the Germanic tribal conversions to Christianity in the early medieval period. In addition to this research focus, I have also received excellent training and invaluable professional experience as an associate instructor. I am beginning my third year teaching German to undergraduates here at IU, and I have also been an instructor for the IU Honors Program (a seven-week exchange for Indiana high school students) in Krefeld, Germany for the last two summers. On a more administrative level, I have had the privilege of serving as co-president of our Graduate Steering Committee and have also served on the planning committee for our 2007 graduate student – both experiences useful for learning how to organize events and colleagues in an academic environment. Over and over again visiting professors and graduate students have remarked on the training and opportunities we have at IU, and as the job market looms closer and closer for me each year, I am beginning to understand and appreciate how much of an advantage they really are. Of course, my graduate experience has certainly included the more infamous hallmarks: grueling workload, sleep deprivation, intense self-doubt, and compensatory coffee. But I have been able – and this might be the greatest advantage of all to this department – to turn to both professors and my cohorts for encouragement and support when I have needed it, be it to talk through life or just a paper. I owe a huge debt to my professors for their indispensable expertise and mentorship, and to my fellow grad students for their collegiality and friendship. When I compare where I am at now – as a student, a person, a professional – with where I was in 2004, knowing that I could not have reached even this place on my own, I am excited to see what the next few years at IU will hold.", Megan Barrett, PhD candidate

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Former Graduate Students:

"My graduate studies in the Department of Germanic Studies at IU prepared me exquisitely for my career in the profession. The curriculum was rigorous; the course offerings were always diverse and cutting-edge; and the professors were the most dedicated teachers and mentors imaginable. I can't think of a friendlier and more intellectually rich environment in which to nurture a passion for German literature, culture, and thought.", Dr. Elliot Schreiber, Assistant Professor, Vassar College

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"As luck would have it, I arrived in Bloomington in 1999. At the time, I did not know that I was going to spend, on and off, six years in Bloomington. However, time flew. I had great advisors – always more than one at any given time – and made wonderful friends. Especially exciting was my last year at IU, where we had no less than three professors in linguistics and philology. In general, I found the courses taught at IU very stimulating. Not only did we investigate recent issues in the relevant field, we were also required to apply our newly gained knowledge by writing an initial research paper, which we were encouraged to develop further once the class was over (e.g., go to a conference to present it). With many course papers continued this way, it was fairly easy to find a dissertation topic and get started on a list of publications. Besides this individual work, my dissertation director Rex A. Sprouse and I collaborated on a number of projects. We co-presented three papers, we co-authored one research article and we are in the process of completing a second. I am also happy to say that the support that I received from IU went beyond the intellectual: at least once a year, I received funds to go to conferences. When it was time to start my first job away from IU, it was hard to leave this nurturing environment, both academic and private. However, the contact with my department is still very much alive: on one occasion, I found a desk and printer to do summer research; on others, my former professors still support me with “Rat und Tat”.", Dr. Dorian Roehrs, Assistant Professor, University of North Texas

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"As an Assistant Professor of German at a small liberal arts college, I feel incredibly fortunate to have received my M.A. and Ph.D. from the Dept of Germanic Studies at Indiana U / Bloomington. In fact, deciding to attend IU was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I am convinced that it helped me to enjoy success on the academic job market due to the excellent professional training I received in all three areas of academic life: teaching, research and service. As an Associate Instructor & Course Chair I was able to gain teaching experience in various levels of German language, literature & culture--a wealth of experience that is virtually unparalleled by any other graduate program in German. In terms of service, graduate students in the Germanic Studies program are encouraged to play an active role in conference planning and in departmental administration (academic policies, screening of job candidates, etc.). The research facilities at IU are some of the best in the country; in my research on gender & sexuality in German culture, I certainly benefited from the fact that, in addition to a top-notch library, the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, & Reproduction is housed on the IU campus. Most important of all to a graduate education at IU, however, is the faculty. The professors at IU are wonderful mentors with an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge; indeed this is the most accessible group of professors I have ever encountered, and they continue to offer me support and advice in my career beyond IU.", Dr. Jill Smith, Assistant Professor, Bowdoin College

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“The years I spent at IU were exhilarating. I’ve often wondered what made the place so special. It was certainly the people, the faculty, and students who happened to be there at the time. But it was also the department’s institutional culture, which was at once rigorous, inclusive, and informal. It was an environment that encouraged the pursuit of the most probing intellectual endeavors and fostered a sense of pleasure and camaraderie, a sense of a shared adventure.”, Dr. Patrizia McBride, Associate Professor, Cornell University

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