French studies Begins Year by Reaping Benefits

Mary Beth Winn

The Department of French Studies has announced that it has received three grants from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy for programs sponsored by the department. The grants, which total 78,000FF (about $16,000), will be utilized in creating workshops in French-speaking cultures and literatures, business French, and French language for teachers of French at the secondary and college levels.

Grants awarded by the French Embassy are extremely competitive and received for recognition of superior achievements in promoting French outside of that country. This award is the first of its kind to be made to the University.

"Two of the grants will be geared toward teachers from the 65 high schools that are a part of our Univer-sity and the High School (UHS) program," said Mary Beth Winn, department chair. "In May there will be a workshop in Francophone studies co-directed by our department’s Eloise Briere and Skidmore College’s Hedi Jaouad.

"Then, at the end of the summer or in the early fall, there will be another workshop for UHS teachers in contemporary France and contemporary French."

The third grant, said Winn, will be for a workshop designed for college professors in "Business French." That is tentatively scheduled for the fall. In addition to these grants, Winn noted, the French Cultural Services will support a special program this year for students in the UHS program: a week-long visit of a "French Bus" bearing current information on France and Francophone countries. Staffed by two guest professors from France, the bus will arrive on campus May 2 and visit area high schools May 3-8. University resources in French will also be enhanced this year by the Quebec government, which has an-nounced a grant to University Libraries for purchase of books published in Quebec. "This will enable the Library to increase its already substantial collection of French materials," said Winn. "Interest in Quebec and North American French Studies has been developing since 1984 when an initial grant from the Quebec delegation recognized our faculty’s expertise in that area."

The library award is a Matching Book Grant, including works in all subject areas — literature, politics, history, language, business and economics.

Finally, awards have also been presented to individual students and faculty members of the French studies department, led by Winn herself. The National Endow-ment for the Humanities has awarded her a 1996-97 Fellowship for Research to spend the year examining vernacular texts and images in Books of Hours — devotional books produced in France between 1480 and 1530 that were best sellers of the late Middle Ages.

Sophomore Irene Siegel has won a student award to study French at the University of Laval (Quebec) for six weeks. This follows a national competition based on student essays and recommendations from professors sponsored by the Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Ameriqué.

"Irene exemplifies the excellence of students being trained in French as a global language," said Winn. "All these awards attest to the quality of the faculty, both individually and collectively, and the strength and innovation of the department’s academic programs."

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