The IU Summer Language Workshop Alumni Newsletter | Winter 2015


Faculty News


Jerzy Kolodziej: Retired at 20

by Stu McKenzie


Jerzy Kolodziej

As the summer workshop celebrates its 65th birthday, it is hard not to reflect on the contribution of its longest serving director, Professor Emeritus Jerzy Kolodziej.

Jerzy was himself a student in the workshop in the 1960s, receiving his BA from Indiana University in 1962. He went on to become an associate instructor and tour leader for the workshop in 1967, and soon developed a genuine love for teaching and for language students, whose interest other cultures, and in acquiring the languages necessary to explore those cultures, continues to inspire him today. He served as assistant chair of the workshop from 1979-1983, and completed his PhD dissertation on Evgenii Zamiatin’s great novel We in 1984 (by amusing coincidence).

After a period of teaching at the University of Tennessee, Jerzy returned to IU in 1986 as the workshop’s new director, a position he would hold for the next twenty years. During this period, and especially during the 1990s, the workshop underwent a significant expansion, incorporating a number of non-Slavic languages of Central Asia and the Caucasus, and changing its name to SWSEEL as a result.

This expansion continued until Jerzy’s retirement in 2009, at which point SWSEEL boasted some twenty languages, having become the largest and most prestigious program of its type in the US. Jerzy, of course, credits the successes of the workshop to its world-class faculty and students. They, in turn, found him to be a warm and supportive director, whose benevolence and patience permeated the whole culture of the program.

In September 2010, the Russian and East European Institute gave Jerzy a Distinguished Service Award for his 30-year contribution to Slavic Studies at IU, and in 2013, the Jerzy Kolodziej Excellence in Teaching Award was established in his honor.

Jerzy group

Left to right: Stu Mackenzie, Tricia Mackenzie, Jerzy Kolodziej, Lina Khawaldah

For me, though, Jerzy’s impact is as much personal as professional. Having studied Russian in the workshop, I applied for an associate instructor position in 2002, and recall being very surprised when Jerzy hired me. However, I went on to work for Jerzy for many years, first as an instructor, then as assistant director, and we became good friends.

Others who have spent time with him will agree that Jerzy is a remarkable and admirable person, with a great love of metaphor, wordplay and puckish humor. He seems indefatigably curious, with interests that range from geology to carpentry, and he enjoys good beer. While he is a rich source of stories and anecdotes, conversations with him tend towards the abstract, as he is often interested not in commonplace events and actions, but in how they contribute to an understanding of human nature, or a person’s character, motivations and self-image. Above all, Jerzy tends to be a calm, gentle influence in the lives of those around him, a quality that helped to define the SWSEEL experience for generations of staff, faculty and students, and continues to result in treasured friendships.

It is no surprise that Jerzy has a dizzying array of projects for his retirement, and we all wish him every success. Personally, I’m already looking forward to my next pint with him.


Stu MacKenzie (Russian, 2003) is Manager of Administrative Operations at The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University. He served as the Financial and Outreach Coordinator at the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at Mason’s School of Public Policy. Before coming to George Mason University, Mr. Mackenzie served as Assistant Director of the SWSEEL Program, and Business Manager of Slavica Publishers.



In a Bloomington State of Mind: Interview with Anna Arkadyevna Sharogradskaya

by Vasiliy Arkanov

Anna Arkadyevna

Anna Arkadyevna Sharogradskaya in Vologda, 2015

First I saw a corner of the white ceiling, then a wall with several indistinguishable framed photos of various sizes, a bookshelf with the elegantly bound complete works of Dostoevsky’s first posthumous edition, and then, triggering off a sudden pang of nostalgia, a window with a small open hinged pane – a dear old fortochka –  and finally a window sill with a furry cat sitting by a lush plant in glorious bloom,  a giant jungle cactus known to every Russian as a Decembrist  (not for its political views, of course, but for its penchant for blooming in December). This brief virtual Skype tour came courtesy of Anna Arkadyevna Sharogradskaya, director of the Regional Press Institute in St Petersburg, Journalism educator, and social activist. Although we’ve known each other for over two years, I’ve never visited her at home, and she wanted to give me a feel for her St. Petersburg apartment. A place forms a person in no lesser way than a person forms a place. Hers felt modest and regal at the same time. It also felt homey. And that  is no surprise: if she can turn a dorm room in Bloomington into a cozy and welcoming place through only a few light touches (a shawl over a floor lamp here, a bouquet of wild flowers there) imagine how annaarkadyevnavian her permanent residence looks.

She has been coming to Bloomington since 1989, teaching not so much "Advanced Russian" as a course she calls "Linguistics and Russian Studies." Putting everything in cultural context while paying attention to details has been always a prime concern for her. You cannot claim to have mastered the language without mastering cultural references. Here is just one example Anna Arkadyevna brings up in our conversation. Imagine that you've learned everything about the verb ходить (to go). And then you encounter a simple phrase он любит ходить налево. Unless someone told you that it means philandering, good luck figuring out why a person with extreme right political views is so fond of taking repeating trips to the left.

She claims her on-going legal battle over the fate of her Regional Press Institute also stems mainly from semantic rather than political differences. In accordance with newly adopted Russian law on NGOs, she was required to register her Institute as a “foreign agent”. She refused, arguing that in the recent Soviet past the phrase “foreign agent” had only one connotation – that of a spy, and her organization is anything but that. Anyhow, the Institute was put on the list of foreign agents without her consent, and she was slapped with a 400,000 ruble fine. It would be easy to capitalize on the trial by proclaiming it as another step in Putin’s crackdown on freedom of speech and political dissent, but in her typical quiet and level-headed manner Anna Arkadyevna is not rushing to conclusions. Everything is much more nuanced and complicated, and we agreed that this incident with the court should be mentioned here only in passing. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to avoid the topic completely.


"Dear old fortochka" in Anna Arkadyevna's home

VA: You spent almost an entire seminar last summer talking about why it would make a huge difference if Russians were to say Chechenya instead of Chechnya. You argued that absence of a single vowel reflects a lack of respect towards the whole nation – a concept that is hard to grasp even for most Russian speakers. In the past couple of months you tried to explain to the court why it is unacceptable to call your institute “a foreign agent”. Do names really matter that much?

АА: They do. Let’s not forget the phrase “in the beginning was the word,”  – that’s the keystone. In conversations we seldom attempt to understand the meaning of words unless these words merely name an object or an action. Take the noun liberal, for example. When perestroika got under way, the word liberal was used to characterize a person who was indecisive at best, a person who didn’t quite know what he wanted. What the word liberal really means is a person who ultimately wants to change the society for the better, who thinks that the only thing we really ought to preserve is our culture. Unfortunately, at the time of perestroika the true meaning behind the word liberal was not clearly spelled out. As someone who periodically conduct seminars for journalists in Russia, and teaches Russian in the US, where my students tend to see cognate words as having identical meaning, I find it extremely important to focus attention on these nuances.

VА: Students in the US clearly get your message. I witnessed that with my own eyes. Why is it so much harder to get your point across to Russian court clerks and judges?  

АА: I think many of them did get the message. I can see that in their eyes, but I can also see that they are operating under strict orders from their superiors.  Not all court workers are alike. Some are ashamed of what they do, some are embarrassed, but they cherish the privileges given them by the state, and I don’t mean just the material benefits. They were entrusted with the right to decide the fates of others, which gave a huge boost to their egos. Unfortunately, it was not ordinary people who entrusted that right to them. They were entrusted to do so by the so-called elected officials, who were not really elected because our election process is a travesty.      

VА: In almost 30 years that you’ve been coming to Bloomington, Russia has visibly changed. Can you say the same about the US?  

АА: The US has been changing and continues to change, and if I am allowed to add this, not always for the better. During Soviet times, when I was banned by the Soviet authorities from traveling abroad, the US exemplified for me the idea of democratic freedoms.  What I knew about the US, what I read about it at the time, reaffirmed for me my belief that certain aspects of its state order could serve as a role model for us. Unfortunately, this somewhat idealized image of the US has started to crumble. The country was gradually changing. It was especially visible in the service sector. It saddens me to witness the emergence of typical Soviet disregard for a client, a buyer, or a passenger. The way I was treated on my earlier visits, that warmth, friendliness, and care are no longer present. At the same time my heart fills with joy in a university classroom where I see more and more highly educated students with certain personality traits that are becoming less prevalent in today’s Russia. These students are not simply intellectuals, but intellectuals on their way to becoming intelligentsia in the most Russian sense of the word. And they are not offsprings of families in which one would expect children to naturally develop that way. Some grew up on a farm; others simply believe that life is not only about personal comfort, that they must do something for the benefit of society. There have always been people like that, but today selflessness and self-sacrifice seem to have created a newly formed modern concept. These young men and women are the source of my optimism. It’s quite possible that the intelligentsia that Russia is currently losing will resurface in the US.       


Anna Arkadyevna giving a lecture on features of democracy and mass-media in Russia

VА: For almost three decades you’ve been coming to Bloomington summer after summer. What draws you back?

АА: You’re, of course, familiar with the change of seasons. Where does a typical Russian go in the summer? Almost certainly, to his dacha. I don’t have a dacha, never had one and never will. In some sense, I think of Bloomington as my dacha. Remember Winnie the Pooh, and how once in while he would start feeling “eleven-o-clockish”? In the same way, every summer I start feeling Bloomingtonish. More to the point, I see myself living in two parallel universes. One universe is Russia. I chose to live there. Not to become a champion of this or that cause but to be with people who are in a similar situation, to share all my hardships with them. The other universe is the US, which I didn’t choose. Rather, the US chose me. I can’t name all my wonderful friends who over the years have practically become my relatives. And I want to stress that Indiana welcomed me and valued me at a time when I was being snubbed in Russia. I really felt stigmatized after the St. Petersburg University administration told me I should be grateful to them for keeping me at my job. The stigma fell off only after I started coming to Indiana and began hearing words of gratitude and praise from both students and faculty. I never suffered from low self-esteem. But it's a totally different game concerning your being held in high esteem by others.      

VА: The well known Tyutchev line “you cannot understand Russia with your intellect, you can't measure it with a universal yardstick” is a testament to how hard it must be to teach Russian. Do you have your own “yardstick” for explaining Russian to your students?

АА: You know, when last year one of my prospective students, a highly educated young man, wrote in his motivational essay that in my course he intended to learn many new words and expressions, I walked into the classroom and must have shocked him by saying I had no intention of teaching him new words. If you come across an unfamiliar word, I said, you can look it up in the dictionary and decide for yourself whether or not you’ll need it in the future (and therefore either memorize or discard it). We're going to talk about the meanings of simple words, everyday words – words that have recently changed their meaning or acquired an additional one, something you won’t find in any of the textbooks. So most of my seminars we spend reading and analyzing texts that I choose for my students, and I interject myself into a discussion only when I see that the students are only scraping the surface. The same text can be good for the fine points of grammar, and vocabulary, as well as for talking about cultural differences, and the context, especially if it allows for comparing or juxtaposing American and Russian reality. And occasionally you can add something else to the mix, for example Japan, and analyze the same event from three different perspectives. It’s a very creative process that also makes teaching and coming to Bloomington so attractive. 

VА: If you were asked to give a short valedictory address to students of Russian, what would you say?

АА: Well, how about this: you’ve chosen a very difficult but also infinitely rich language. Mastering it to a sufficient extent will broaden your horizon but may also make you fall ill with a love of Russia for which there is not and will never be any cure.


Vasiliy Arkanov is a free-lance journalist and translator. He is has been a SWSEEL faculty member since 2013. He taught Russian at Columbia University and Barnard College, and currently serves as Honors Advisor at Macaulay Honors College in New York. His translations include Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Bret Easton Ellis’s Imperial Bedrooms, Joan Didion’s Blue nights, as well as a number of short stories and plays by modern American and British authors. He was a scriptwriter and co-director for the documentary On His Own Two Feet (2012) and a US field producer for docudramas Zworykin of Mourom (2009) and Nation in Bloom (2013). He is a former NTV US correspondent (2001-2006) and a columnist for Ogonyok magazine (2007-2008). He resides in New York.


Saying It Right: Interview with Larry Richter

by Olga Bueva

Dr. Richter

Larry Richter

Laurence R. Richter has had a profound influence on Indiana University’s Slavic department and the Summer Language Workshop. Laurence (or "Larry," as he is more familiarly known to his colleagues and students) Richter came to IU in 1968 and has lived in Bloomington ever since. In 1970 he began teaching at SWSEEL (then known as the Slavic Workshop), and in 1974 he became a full-time faculty member at the IU Slavic Department. Loved by students and faculty alike, he taught at IU for over 30 years, including specialized courses in Russian Phonetics, Russian-to-English translation, Russian for graduate students and Russian grammar. In 1986, he initiated and served as director for the SWSEEL Leningrad (later St. Petersburg) study abroad program, held six weeks immediately preceding the Workshop and featuring tours to St. Petersburg and other major cities in Russian and neighboring countries. In collaboration with the IU Jacobs School of Music, he pioneered a course in Russian designed specifically for opera singers, training English-speaking music students to perform songs from the Russian repertoire. Recently, Larry Richter has published a series of books with literal and idiomatic translations, and sophisticated transliterations of Russian musical masterpieces, most notably including complete song texts of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Mussorgsky and a volume of a selected 19th century Russian songs.

Currently retired, Larry Richter remains one of the most esteemed SWSEEL instructors, mentioned countless times in updates from multiple generations of Workshop alumni. We were lucky enough have the opportunity to catch up with Larry and interview him about his career at IU and his life after SWSEEL.

Olga Bueva: How did you become interested in studying Russian?

Larry Richter: Actually, rather than my choosing Russian, it was Russian that chose me. It was 1956, the draft was in force, and I had decided to join the Army for three years expressly to go to the Army Language School (as it was called then) in Monterey, California. I had no idea what language I would be given. Applicants were all given a test based on an invented “language.” I thought it was really fun. My score was high, and the highest priority language at the time was Russian. So I was assigned Russian. I immediately fell in love and soon decided that I had found my specialty.

OB: What brought you to IU?

LR: After earning my BA (’63) and MA (’64) at the University of Illinois, I taught for two years at Valparaiso University, then two years at Grand Valley in Michigan, and came to IU in 1968 to earn my Ph.D. I finished the course work, but at that point there occurred a major change in my life. My marriage broke up in ’70; I was divorced in ’71; I finally came out of the closet. Heavily in debt, I spent the next ten years just climbing out of the financial hole my divorce left me in. And somewhere along the way, all my personal priorities seemed to shift. I was loving teaching more and more, but was fast losing all interest in the life of a scholar. I had two jobs in addition to my teaching, and with each year the Ph.D. became less and less important.


Larry Richter teaching Phonetics

OB: Russian phonetics is arguably one of the hardest things for English-speaking students to master. Why did you choose to study and teach phonetics?

LR: I was always fascinated by speech sounds in various languages. After my first trip to the USSR, on a teacher exchange at MGU in 1978, I could add to my interest in phonetics the field of intonation, having been exposed there to the ground-breaking work in Russian intonation done by Prof. E.A. Bryzgunova, whose lectures we heard. I came home loaded for bear. I regretted that I had had no strong training in the proper pronunciation of Russian, which most teachers seemed to ignore – with the inevitable result that the pronunciation of most students and many teachers was truly painful to hear. I became determined to do something about it.

OB: You pioneered a course in Russian for singers at the IU School of Music. Why did you develop that course? What was it like, working with singers?

LR: I have always been a great lover of music, especially vocal music. I was acutely aware that Western classical singers, though carefully trained in German, French, and Italian diction, made a tragicomic mess of any attempts at singing Russian. Many voice teachers, in their ignorance, are prejudiced against Russian (“not a language one can sing in”). And most Russian coaches willing to help them could use only the approach that I call the “do-like-dis-don’-do-like-dat” method of teaching diction. I wanted to do something about it. And I knew I could. The course achieved some really impressive results, and I love teaching it. But it never really had the support of the voice faculty or the School of Music.

With some memorable, highly gratifying exceptions, singers made disappointing students. Typically, a singer would be eager to learn Russian (I’ve coached many privately) IF they have an immediate impetus for doing so. (“I’ve been offered a role in Boris Godunov, but I have to learn some Russian first.”) Otherwise, they don’t see the point.

OB: You’ve educated several generations of students of Russian. What are some of your proudest, most memorable moments teaching at IU?

LR: That would have to be the annual experience of reading the student evaluations of the summer phonetics program. With each year, I think I got better at it, and got demonstrably good results, which the students genuinely appreciated. Unfortunately, in the last few years before my retirement things started to change. Students seem less and less impressed, less and less appreciative. The course hadn’t changed; the students had. I am also proud of my long years of summer teaching. I started in the summer of 1970. Every summer after that (except 1978, when I was in Russia), I taught in the Workshop, specializing in phonetics from the late seventies on, until my retirement in 2007. That’s the record.

OB: What makes SWSEEL stand out among other language programs?

LR: I think it has been the combination of truly excellent teachers and a somewhat relaxed atmosphere. Unlike some other programs, we don’t have language police who go around eaves-dropping on students to make sure that they’re speaking no English, that they are leading virtuous and chaste lives. And it pays off: you learn best when you don’t feel oppressed and threatened.

OB: SWSEEL had changed a lot over the years. What would you like SWSEEL to do in the future?

LR: We have a good thing going, for all concerned. We should continue with what we know works and reject any change for change’s sake. (“If it ain’t broke,…”)

OB: Over the years, SWSEEL has attracted some very interesting students, instructors and public figures. Could you share your favorite anecdote about SWSEEL?

LR: On the positive side, I think we have been truly blessed to have Anna Arkadyevna Sharogradskaya coming back to teach the highest level of Russian for that last thirty years. She is a superb teacher – erudite, articulate, highly interesting and highly interested in her students. We could pick no one better. We are especially fortunate to have her not only because of her teaching gifts, but also because she has become a prominent figure in the intellectual life of today’s Russia. And yet she finds time for us. She is a rare gem.

On the less serious side (though the Russians involved certainly would not agree with that assessment), I remember a summer when Russian and American cultural values collided in a way I found pretty amusing. A Russian professor had come to teach for the summer who happened to be gay. Having no compunctions against it, he seduced a male student who was also gay. The student was not interested in pursuing the relationship, the professor was persistent, and the student finally reported him. The professor’s outrageous reaction – which I found quite funny – was to start hitting on the girls in his class, to prove that he wasn’t gay after all. The students’ reaction was that it was all just silly. The professor, to his total bewilderment, was fired and went home.

OB: Why did you remain in Bloomington after you retired? What does Bloomington offer that you enjoy?

LR: Having lived in Bloomington since 1968, I feel more at home here than anywhere else. My home and friends are here, and I have no desire to quit either. I can enjoy the opera, concerts, and the theatre here without being a millionaire. And the climate really suits me too. I have one son living in LA, and another in Chicago. I don’t feel drawn to either place. Too big, too far, too expensive, too many extremes of climate. I’m content where I am.

OB: What do you miss most about the Workshop and IU?

LR: I suppose it would be the faculty teas and the orgies that usually followed.

Laurence R. Richter has taught at SWSEEL from 1970 to 2007. He has also served as the director of the Russian Language St. Program from 1986 to 2004.


The email interview was conducted by The Polyglot editor Olga Bueva on February 2, 2015.


Faculty Updates

Basem Al-Raba’a (Arabic) is currently a second year doctoral student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University Bloomington. In addition to teaching Arabic in SWSEEL for three successive summers, he taught English in Jordan and Saudi Arabia for six years and Arabic in the US for five years: one year at Tufts University in Boston and four years at Indiana University Bloomington. He recently attended the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Assessment Workshop sponsored by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). In 2013 he published two articles in two journals: "The Generic and Registerial Features of Facebook Apology Messages Written by Americans and Jordanians" in International Journal of English Linguistics and "The Grammatical Influence of English on Arabic in the Passive Voice in Translation" in International Journal of Linguistics. Additionally, a third article, "The Manner of Articulation of the emphatic /dˁ/ in both Saudi and Palestinian dialects," has very recently been accepted for publication and it will be published in International Journal of Language and Linguistics in the late January of 2015. 

Mohamed Ansary (Arabic) is currently a lecturer of Arabic as a Foreign Language at the University of Arizona and has been an adjunct lecturer in Indiana University, SWSEEL since 2012. He has been participating in programs for teaching Arabic in Egypt and abroad since 2007. In 2009 and 2010, Ansary worked at the Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS), a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. In 2008 and 2009 he worked for Concordia Language Villages, Concordia College, where he still collaborates annually with its workshops for k-12 teachers of Arabic in the USA as a presenter. His area of interest in these workshops is: application of 21st century skills to the Arabic language classroom, assessment of functional abilities of Arabic language learners, using technology into the classroom, teaching culture as a fifth skill and how to integrate it into the classroom. Ansary also worked as an instructor for the one-year study abroad programs in Egypt for the following universities: Utah University, Montana University, London University, Leeds University, Salford University and Westminster University. He is certified by the Arab Translators Network as a professional translator and has worked as a teacher of English for 4 years and as an instructor of translation and English linguistics for 7 years.  He also taught translation and English linguistics at the University of Alexandria, Faculty of Education, English Department in 2010.Ansary’s research interests include social media, instructional technology in the AFL classroom and integrating culture into the classroom.

Homaira Azim (Dari) is still living in Bloomington together with her family. She is now teaching human anatomy courses at IU School of Medicine and enjoys her work so much. She often thinks of SWSEEL and the two wonderful generations of students she got the chance to meet there. She says she will always remember the precious moments spent with her students, at Dari language course. She wishes everyone all the best and would love to stay in touch by e-mail or through Facebook!

Shadi Bayadsy (Arabic) graduated from Haifa University in English Literature and Political Science. He taught English as a foreign language in Israel for three years. Later on he moved to the US and became interested in teaching Arabic as a foreign language. He finished his MA in teaching foreign languages and currently is pursuing his doctoral degree at Indiana University. His interests focus on pedagogy, second language acquisition and Middle Eastern Studies. Additionally, he is exploring the status of the Arab woman in the Middle East, issues of language and identity and patterns of speech in the Palestinian dialect.

Elena Clark (Rissian). This year Elena Clark is a Postdoctoral Teacher-Scholar of Russian at Wake Forest University. She has had articles appear in Glosses and Poljarnij vestnik, and published a chapter in Russian Classical Literature Today: The Challenges/Trials of Messianism and Mass Culture

Elena Doludenko (Russian) continues teaching Russian and working on her PhD in Slavic Linguistics at Indiana University. Since fall 2012, Elena has served on the organizing committee of the Share Fair (workshop for foreign/second language instructors) at IU. She also helped with planning of the  Preparing Future Faculty Conference at IU in February 2014.Together with two other SWSEEL instructors, Kimberly Madsen and Tyler Madsen, Elena presented the paper “This Isn’t Your Babushka’s Textbook: Moving Towards a Multimedia eFormat in Russian Language Learning” at Midwest Slavic Conference at Ohio State University in March 2013. She also presented her paper “Agreement with the International Corporate Names in Russian” at Midwest Slavic Conference in March 2014 and “A Fairy-tale or Reality? Or a Mixture of Both in Jan Švankmajer’s Film Otesánek?” at the Interdisciplinary Forum in Slavic Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in April 2014. In April 2013, Elena received a Jerzy Kolodziej Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at IU. Elena also served as a peer reviewer for IU Linguistics Club Working Papers in 2014 and published her article (in press) “One Class, Twelve Students, Five Stations” Quick Hits -Teaching Tips for Adjunct Faculty and Lecturers, Indiana University Press.

Solaiman Fazel (Persian) is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology Department at IU. He is currently conducting research for his dissertation, tentatively titled A History and Culture of Qizilbash: State and a Shi’a Minority in Kabul. It seeks to anthropologically understand state-formation from the perspective of an urban Shi’a group who once formed the military and administrative backbone of the pre-modern polities, and later held important civil and educational jobs while being discriminated against by the modern state on the basis of their Shi’a beliefs and Persian language. In 2014 Solaiman Fazel was awarded the David S. Skomp Fellowship.

Nicholas Kontovas (Turkish) is starting in his position as a Lecturer in Turkish at Boğaziçi University's Turkish Language and Literature Department. He is also working with a scholar in the Laz community on developing materials for their language, Laz, spoken primarily on the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey. A prototype electronic dictionary that I created based on a paper version by Ismail Bucak'lişi can be found at here

Kinga Kosmala (Polish) holds a PhD in Polish Literature from the Slavic Department at the University of Chicago, where she works as the Lecturer in Polish. Her research interests include Polish language pedagogy, and also reportage, narrative ethics and urban studies. She is the author of Ryszard Kapuściński: Reportage and Ethics or Fading Tyranny of the Narrative (published by Peter Lang Publishers in 2012). Her recent publications include an article “Olga Stanisławska’s Charles de Gaulle Roundabout: Raw Facts and the Danger of Finalizing Narratives” (published by The Polish Review in 2013), and a book review of Polish Cinema Now! Focus on Contemporary Polish Cinema (published by Slavic and East European Journal in 2013).

Joanna Kurowska, Ph.D. (Polish) was a SWSEEL instructor for 18 summers. Also, for 13 years she taught Polish as a foreign language at the University of Chicago. As a scholar with expertise in Joseph Conrad, she published in The ConradianYearbook of Conrad StudiesSouthern QuarterlySlavic and East European Journal, and elsewhere. Joanna is also a bi-lingual, critically acclaimed poet, with numerous poetry publications in North American and European journals.  Her poetry books include The Butterfly's Choice (Broadstone Books 2015), Inclusions (Cervena Barva Press 2014), The Wall & Beyond (eLectio Publishing 2013), and two books published in Poland. 

David McVey (Russian) taught at SWSEEL in 2011 and 2013. He finished his Ph.D. in Slavic Literature and Culture at the Ohio State University in 2013 and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at University of Kansas.

Heather Rice (Russian) has been working on completing her dissertation on second language acquisition. She is also starting to work on an online Russian textbook for the University of Texas at Austin.

Ejegyz Saparova (Turkmen) has taught at IU SWSEEL for 16 summers from 1994 to 2009.  In 2007 she co-authored the textbook Basic Turkmen with Suzan Oezel which was published by Dunwoody Press. Currently, she is enjoying retirement and spending a lot of time with her youngest granddaughter Leyli.

Dilyara Sharifullina (Tatar) resides in Kazan, the capital of the Repiblic of Tatarstan, Russia. She was involved in the development of three-language resources for Tatar language learners, including the textbook Татарча сөйләшик. Let’s Speak Tatar (2012), Tatar-Russian-English Phrasebook (2012).  In 2011-2013 she joined the team of the most recent state-of-the-art online project for learning Tatar online -  ANA TELE ( - a 9-level online school. She worked at Kazan Federal University in 2011-2014. Now she teaches English at the Volga Region Academy of Sports, Physical Education and Tourism.

Ala Symonchyk (Russian) has taught Russian at SWSEEL for the past 2 years.  In April 2014 she gave a talk "Teaching Russian Pronunciation through Communication" at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference at the University of Lexington. She shared her experience using a communicative framework in teaching pronunciation in SWSEEL. Additionally, she has been working on a research project "Acquisition of word-final devoicing by American learners of Russian" together with Dr. Isabelle Darcy. During the summers of 2013 and 2014 she conducted production and perception experiments in my Phonetics class. She presented the results at the 6th Annual Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference that took place in September 2014 at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Recently she submitted a write-up of one of the studies for the proceedings of the conference.

Mark Trotter (Russian) presented “A c-test for Russian” at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in November in San Antonio. He was also recently elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Hungarian Studies Association.

Olga Yastrebova (Russian) recently co-authored several publications with N.V. Kremleva and L.G. Bannikova in Russian language pedagogy, including “Russian Category “Patronymic Name” as an Expression in Interpersonal Attitudes” in Russian Literature in a Foreign Audience; “On the Issue of Non-Linguistic Difficulties in Intercultural Communication in Training Trials of Russian as a Foreign Language Study” in a collection of papers of the participants of the 13th international scientific and practical conference "Language, Culture, Mentality, Problems of Studying in a Foreign Audience" in St. Petersburg; and “Children’s Literature in Foreign Language Acquisition” in a collection of papers of the participants of the 12th International scientific and practical conference " Language, Culture, Mentality, Problems of Studying in a Foreign Audience." She also co-authored the paper “Use of Portfolio in the Process of Russian as a Foreign Language Study” with N.U. Kazakova, included in the collection of papers of the participants of the 11th International scientific and practical conference “Language, Culture, Mentality, Problems of Studying in a Foreign Audience” in St. Petersburg.

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The IU Summer Language Workshop

Ariann Stern-Gottschalk, Ph.D.

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Olga Bueva