Gisela Brude-Firnau, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 1994

Germanic & Slavic Languages and Literatures

Gisela Brude-Firnau has been a member of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures since 1968. Her deep commitment to scholarship and critical inquiry have been transferred to her teaching through the supervision of graduate theses, the development of new graduate courses, and bold innovations at the undergraduate level, for example her course on Holocaust and Resistance, the most difficult subject of modern German history. Student evaluations attest to the superior quality of Dr. Brude-Firnau's teaching and show gratitude to a conscientious, approachable and caring person. Thesis candidates praise her encouragement, support, guidance and unfailing constructive criticism. This tribute by one of her former students is typical: “She is an absolutely superb instructor, and her love for literature, knowledge of the subject matter and enthusiasm make her one of the best teachers I have ever had.” Dr. Brude-Firnau's commitment to teaching stretches from the PhD candidate to the very beginner. She willingly supervises multisectional introductory language courses, organizes workshops for teaching assistants and gives freely of her experience in making them a success. Furthermore, she has successfully taught German to hundreds of students she has never even met, through our distance education program.