This Week in LACS 8/21/2023

Welcome to the Fall 2023 Semester! I am excited to begin this academic year with you and look forward to working together as we move forward.

I am so pleased to send the inaugural “This Week in LACS”! Please bear with me as this is a very long one, since it is the first.

Important Dates and Events this Week 

Monday, August 21, First Day of Classes

Friday, August 25, 2:30-3:30, Meet & Greet New Majors and Graduate Students in the LRC

Looking Ahead: Monday, August 28 due date for Ifest booth applications

Departmental Elections 

This week you will receive a call for nominations and a ballot for the Chair Advisory and Policy Committee as well as a call for nominations for the Merit Advisory Committee. For details on these two committees see the Department Bylaws.

Nominations for the CAPC are due on Wednesday 8/23 at 8 am. Please vote by Friday 8/25 at 8 am.

I will also send out a request for volunteers for two Ad Hoc committees: the search committee for the new faculty position in translating and a committee that looks at AI. 

Promotions and Reappointments

I am thrilled to congratulate Phil Kaffen for his promotion with conferral of tenure. Welcome to your first week of classes as Associate Professor, Phil. 

I am excited to give a shout-out to Paloma Fernández Sánchez and Susanne Gomoluch, who were both promoted to Full Teaching Professor. Wishing you a great first week of classes as Full Teaching Professors, Paloma and Susanne. 

I am very happy to congratulate Sandra Watts for her reappointment as Full Teaching Professor, and Angela Jakeway and Yukiko Yokono for their reappointments as Senior Lecturers. 

Welcome to New Positions

I would like to welcome Fang-Yi Chao, new Assistant Teaching Professor in Chinese. Fang-Yi joins us from New York, where she taught Chinese at Sarah Lawrence College. She will coordinate the Chinese program and advise all Chinese minors. 

I would also like to welcome our new Associate Chair, Kai Werbeck. Kai is a great addition to our leadership team and will be an important resource to all of you. 

Another warm welcome to our new Graduate Program Director, Chris Mellinger. With Chris, the graduate program is in excellent hands and our graduate students and faculty will have great support.

Welcome to Phil Kaffen as our Honors Director for this academic year. He is taking over from Allison, since she will be on leave in Spring 2023. 

Thank you to our Administrators

Thank you to all of our new administrators for stepping up and taking on these responsibilities. And thank you also to all of you, who are continuing in administrative roles such as Undergraduate Language Program Coordinators, Language Program Advisors, Elementary Spanish Coordinator, Certificate Coordinators, and Elementary Language Coordinators. Our department is so large and so complex, that we could not function without all of you. 

Thank you to Bobby Hobgood and Gabriel Gavin for running our Language Resource Center and providing guidance on the intersection of pedagogy and technology. 

Thank you to Carol Hartley, Jules Geaney-Moore and Hanna Lee for doing the vital administrative work that allows all of us to do our jobs. We have the best administrative support team. 

This Week in LACS 


It has been a very busy summer for us. Thank you for the first submissions. Please see below some highlights of what faculty have been up to this summer!

Please note that this section is based on your reporting. Please fill out the form so that I may recognize your accomplishments from this summer, if they have not been reported yet.

In addition, please note that I am editing the form to exclude Scholarly Activities and Professional Development. The form will only be for collecting information on accomplishments related to teaching, service, students and alumni and other. Publications, Conferences, Grants, and Professional Service will be recorded in a different venue (more on that later this week), so that we have the exact citations and do not duplicate efforts. I will send you what you submitted in each at the end of the semester so that you may use it for your Annual Review Report. 

Major congratulations to David Dalton whose book, Robo Sacer: Necroliberalism and Cyborg Resistance in Mexican and Chicanx Dystopias, was published by Vanderbilt University Press in May, 2023. Stay tuned, since he will present a copy to the department at our next meeting. 

Kudos to Mónica Rodríguez and Javier García León who published the article “A corpus-based discourse analysis of transgender labels in the Spanish-speaking press” in the Journal of Language and Sexuality. 

Congratulations to David Dalton, who as co-PI received partial funding for the “Center for Migration and Diaspora Studies” from the Charlotte Division of Research ($15,000; $7,500 matching).

Awards & Scholarships
Congratulations to Susana Cisneros for being honored at the La Noticia Excelente Awards on September 16th as Higher Education Teacher of the Year.  For more information and tickets if you would like to join me to celebrate Susana see

Kudos to Sandra Watts, who was awarded a full scholarship from the Bethaida ”Bea” Gonzalez Diversity in Leadership Scholars Program from the national University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). 

Professional Development Highlights
Sandra Watts presented her research from the Student Experience Project at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting. 

Susana Cisneros presented at the Community Engagement Orientation for Urban CORE.

Sandra Watts completed the “Next Generation Learning with Generative AI Tools Certificate” from the UNC Charlotte School of Professional Studies. 

Olga Padilla-Falto completed the DIG DEEP Professional Development Series for Inclusive Excellence and was renewed as an ACTFL Mentor Volunteer for new teachers (ACTFL 2023-2024 Mentor Program) for the third year in a row.  

Students & Alumni News
Angela Jakeway’s student, German Major Mercedes Carrillo, received a paid internship in Leipzig, Germany where employees were asked to design a hoodie for the company and Mercedes’s design won. Mercedes says this experience changed her life and that the company wants her to come back next year.

Alumni Eric Phan, a former honors student of David Dalton’s and Olga Padilla-Falto’s, received the Freddye T. Davy Scholarship Award ($1,500 USD) from the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Alumni David Cortés Ferrández, a former exchange student from Spain who studied with Bobby Hobgood and Concepción Godev, is ABD in Spanish Linguistics at the University of Kentucky and is starting his faculty career at Washington University in St. Louis this semester. 

I hope you have a good first week of classes.

Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau