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Members of the UW-Madison French community pose with students from Epic Systems on the balcony of the French HouseDuring Summer 2018, Sage Goellner, Nelly Halzen and Lindsey Smith worked with a group of EPIC Systems employees in preparation for the company’s new venture in Belgium. Read more about this partnership between UW-Madison and the surrounding business community, connected through a mutual interest in the French language.


View of Van Hise Hall and Picnic Point in Lake Mendota on the French Professors Névine El Nossery and Heather Allen were recently interviewed in this feature story by Xiani Zhong of the Badger Herald regarding foreign language instruction at UW-Madison.  Working at the intersections of Second Language Acquisition, French, Arabic and African Cultural Studies, Professors Allen and El Nossery bring a wealth of experience to the French and Italian Department, and the CIFS is pleased to see their hard work recognized across campus.  In addition, FRIT Professors Ernesto Livorni and Grazia Menechella were also featured in the article, sharing their perspective from Italian.

As Professor El Nossery states in the article: “What we offer is culture through language.  If you’re teaching a language course, it doesn’t mean you’re only teaching words.  You’re also teaching the spirit of the language.  You’re also teaching the culture.  You’re exposing the students to a variety of experiences that come from all over the world.”

Students and faculty from the PFMP pose togetherThe Professional French Masters Program (PFMP) at UW-Madison has launched a series of expert-led workshops for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Recently, they welcomed professional translators Meghan McCallum and Erin Woodard to campus to share their experiences within the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters (MATI).  Read all about their visit in this article by Erin Woodard.

The PFMP’s professional skills workshops will also include guests specializing in sustainable development, global health-focused international development, marketing, research, fundraising, international education and more.  These workshops offer a great opportunity for PFMP students to envision putting their studies into practice as they are tailored to the various PFMP tracks: Business, European Union Affairs, International Development, International Education, and Media/Arts/Cultural Production.

Swetha poses alongside her research partnerWe are pleased to congratulate French student and Wisconsin Idea Fellowship recipient Swetha Saseedhar for her work with a team of UW students examining poverty in Wisconsin.  For more information about Swetha and her work, check out this article by Mark Bennett of the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

Wisconsin Idea Fellowships are awarded annually to UW-Madison undergraduate students working to solve issues identified by local or global communities.  Fellowships are awarded either for a semester or a year to support projects designed by undergraduate students in collaboration with a community organization and a UW-Madison faculty or staff member.

Winners of campus-wide TA awards pose with certificatesThe CIFS would like to recognize Lauren Goodspeed, who was selected for a Campus-wide TA award for Innovation in Teaching.  Lauren is currently a PhD student in the Second Language Acquisition program, specializing in French.  She completed undergraduate work in Public Relations and French at Marquette University, and earned a Master’s degree in French from UW-Madison in 2013.  During the course of her graduate work, Lauren also spent a year in Lyon with the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF).  We are thrilled to have her as part of the instructional team in the Department of French and Italian! More information about Lauren and her recent achievements can be found here.


Aliko Songolo in front of a display of African wax clothThe CIFS would like to congratulate Professor Aliko Songolo, who was recently chosen for the Culture for Service Award at Goshen College. This award is given annually, and honors alumni who have made lifelong commitments to service in their local communities and beyond.

Songolo, a 1968 graduate of Goshen College, was recognized both for his professional achievements and his work with populations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For, along with his dedication to the promotion of African literature, Professor Songolo has generously shared his time and talents with organizations such as Congo Progress, the Central Africa Initiative, and the Congo Basin Forest Partnership.

Professor Songolo was also selected by the African Literature Association as the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Member Award, which was presented during the organization’s national conference in Atlanta. The award was given in recognition of Professor Songolo’s numerous contributions to the field, including his dedication to teaching and scholarship over the course of his career. Additionally, Professor Songolo has supported the organization in many capacities, and has served twice as its President.
Check out the profile on Goshen College’s website for additional information about Professor Songolo and his many accomplishments.

Image of Doug Lechner at a cafeDouglas Lechner, a 2012 graduate of the French program at UW-Madison is currently working in Belgium for the Department of Defense.  Following his work at UW-Madison, Lechner pursued a certificate for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and spent a year in Rennes with the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF).  He has since earned a Master’s degree in teaching through the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana and is enjoying where his language study has taken him.

You can learn more about Doug and how his work in the UW-Madison Department of French and Italian shaped his career in the full interview with Ashley T. Redjinski here.


Members of the student organization the French Ambassadors pose with Gilles Bousquet at the French HouseUndergraduate leaders in our French program have launched a new Undergraduate Student Advisory Board, otherwise known as The French Ambassadors.

This “French club of the new millenium” is focused on deepening engagement between our undergrads and department faculty, staff and alumni, with a special interest in networking, career planning and innovation in French Studies.  Faculty mentors Gilles Bousquet (Department Chair) and Andrew Irving (Director, French House) advise the group, more information available here.


Chancellor Rebecca Blank shakes hands with Yvon Berland.In 2014, Yvon Berland, President of Aix-Marseille Université visited UW-Madison, continuing the long-standing tradition of collaboration between the two institutions.  During his visit, he met with UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank as well as with Ray Cross, President of the UW-System to strengthen the existing relationships between UW and AMU.

Aix-Marseille Université is currently the largest university in France with around 70,000 students. The partnership with UW-Madison encourages student exchanges, research collaboration, post-doctoral exchanges, and the pursuit of shared research goals.  Read more about the transatlantic collaboration here.