Citations for 2016 Recipients

Excellence in Teaching (Secondary) 2016

Shannon Johnson, Friends School of Baltimore

Shannon Johnson is a dedicated teacher who has made exceptional contributions to the Russian program at her school. Initially working in outbound programs at American Councils, for the past twenty years she has taught at the Friends School Baltimore Middle School. She has participated on the American Councils Teachers Summer Program in Moscow, and served on the admissions/scholarship committee in subsequent years to select finalists for that program.   In addition to teaching Russian at the FSB Middle School, she currently co-leads an Upper School Friends School study/homestay trip to St. Petersburg every other year. With her colleague Lee Roby, she has also developed a truly innovative Upper School memoir research and translation course since 2015. Students in the project translate the memoirs of a Russian journalist, conduct research on the cultural products and practices in the memoirs, and study the art of literary translation. She has contributed a new learning scenario for the upcoming revised Standards for Learning Russian, based on her work with middle school learners. In addition to her work at Friends School, Shannon is currently involved in the running of the ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian in Maryland.  She also serves as a judge each year for the Maryland Elementary School Olympiada. As of January, 2016, she serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of SLAVA, the national honor society for outstanding pre-college learners of Russian.  For these truly outstanding contributions to her profession, AATSEEL is delighted to present her with this year’s award for Excellence in Teaching (Secondary).

Excellence in Teaching (Post-secondary): 2016

Ona-Renner Fahey, University of Montana

Ona Renner-Fahey teaches at all levels and across the curriculum, bringing the same unrelenting passion, energy, and professionalism to first-year Russian language classes that she does to her advanced courses in Russian poetry. Her contributions to the Russian program at Montana, however, extend well beyond the classroom. She leads a group of UM students on a three-week study abroad trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg every two or three years during either the summer or winter session. She also worked hard while on sabbatical to establish a partnership between UM and SRAS that has allowed more advanced students to study abroad for a semester or an entire year without encountering problems back in the US with transfer credits. The success of UM Russian students over the past 5-7 years speaks volumes, particularly given that the Russian section consists of only two tenure-track professors and an adjunct instructor. Over this period the UM Russian program has produced five Fulbright recipients, a Boren scholarship winner, a healthy number of CLS recipients, and a good number of awardees each year in the Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest. It has also seen its graduates accepted to top-tier graduate programs in Slavic, history, international relations, international law, literature, and political science. The success of these students can to a large degree be attributed to Ona’s tremendous impact as a mentor and the work she devotes to them on a daily basis. For her dedication and for the exceptional impact her work has had on the Russian program at the University of Montana, AATSEEL is proud to confer on her this year’s award for Excellence in Teaching (Post-Secondary).

Distinguished Service to AATSEEL 2016

Dianna Murphy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

For seven years, from 2006-2013, Dianna Murphy served as conference manager for AATSEEL, a job whose travails and accomplishments are mostly hidden from the membership at large. Her elegance and savvy in successfully organizing the event annually, negotiating tirelessly with hotels, accommodating the desires and needs of the organization, above all getting everything done flawlessly and on time, became a source of admiration for the AATSEEL officers who did see her work.  Nothing appeared to faze her.  She was unfailingly polite, welcoming, and empathetic, even when dealing with difficult situations and colleauges. As if managing the conference were not enough, over the years she also served as AATSEEL’s representative to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the National Federation of Modern Language Teaching Associations, and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages. For her unfailing poise and good judgment, and for her exceptional dedication to the organization, AATSEEL is delighted to present her with this year’s award for Distinguished Service to AATSEEL.

Outstanding Contribution to the Profession 2016

Nyusya Milman-Miller, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

An associate Professor of Russian and Director of the Russian Program at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Nyusua Milman-Miller has been teaching Russian and directing Russian Programs in Slavic field for over 40 years. An exceptional teacher, she is also among the most respected Russian language specialists and authors of Russian textbooks.  At Virginia Tech, she has developed one of the strongest Russian programs in the country, first raising the number of minors from 7 to 70, then instituting a Russian major which rapidly grew to over 30. She has also obtained funds for the growth of the Russian program which go beyond the VT campus. In 2013 and 2016 she received two government grants totaling over a two million dollars for the study of critical languages, thanks to which 93 undergraduate Russian students received full scholarships to study abroad and two full time positions were added to the department. She has also developed Winter and Summer Study Abroad programs at the Russian State University for the Humanities and, more recently, at Daugavpils University in Latvia. For her exemplary work in building a Russian program at all levels and in all its facets, AATSEEL is honored to present her with this year’s award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession.

Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship 2016

Michał Paweł Markowski, University of Illinois at Chicago

A prolific scholar of Polish and European Modernity and Modernism, Michał Paweł Markowski is also the Hejna Chair in Polish Language and Literature and Head of the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages and Literatures at UIC. His long list of publications includes Universal Dissolution: Schulz, Existence, Literature (in Polish, 2012), Polish Modern Literature: Lesmian, Schulz, Witkacy (2007, in Polish), and Black Waters: Gombrowicz, World, Literature (2004, in Polish, shortlisted for the “Nike” Literary Prize in Poland and for the Best Book in the Humanities Award). He is also one of the leading exponents of western literary theory in Poland (as witness his 2006 Theories of Literature in Polish, two volumes). But Michał is also a public intellectual who engages critically with contemporary literature and social issues. A bold and fearless thinker, he regularly appears in Polish-language broadcast media (public television and radio) and frequently writes essays for newspapers and cultural magazines in both the U.S and in Poland. His philosophical approach to questions relevant to laypeople and academics alike yields insights that extend the reach of scholarship beyond the Ivory Tower. Founder and Artistic Director of one of the biggest and most important literary festivals in Europe since 2008, The International Joseph Conrad Literary Festival (Kraków, Poland;, Michał is personally in contact with contemporary writers, including Nobel-prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and popular Russian detective fiction writer Boris Akunin. This important work shows that he relates to literature and philosophy as living enterprises. His intellectual activity transcends the confines of academia, making scholarship his mode of being rather than a professional practice. For his truly exceptional contributions, not only to scholarship but also to the life of the mind, AATSEEL is delighted to present him with this year’s award for Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship.