Carnegie Mellon Press Release: March 30, 2004
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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
March 30, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Spanish Professor Honored For Dedication and Excellence in the Classroom

PITTSBURGH—The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University has named Susan Polansky, a teaching professor of Spanish, the winner of the 2003-04 Elliott Dunlap Smith Award, which is given annually by the college to honor excellent undergraduate teaching.

Polansky, who has taught at Carnegie Mellon since 1986, is the associate head of the Department of Modern Languages. She supervises academic advising for majors in the department, and she has been responsible for maintaining the quality of the department's undergraduate education programs. Polansky also oversees new faculty orientation, and she receives consistently high course evaluations, as do most of her colleagues in the Modern Languages Department.

"Susan is a model of commitment, innovation and excellence. Her students always are her focus and top priority, and this shows in the high quality of her course design, class preparation and classroom teaching," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Susan also has played a major role in making Modern Languages one of the best teaching departments on campus."

Polansky teaches the popular course Tutoring for Community Outreach, in which Carnegie Mellon students go to local public schools to tutor elementary, middle or high school students in French, German, Japanese, Spanish or English as a Second Language. An article by Polanksy describing this teaching model has been accepted for publication in the Foreign Language Annals, the flagship publication in the field of foreign language education.

"Dr. Polanksy's role as a teacher spans far beyond the classroom, office hours and exams. She honestly cares for her students. She actively seeks to be supportive in any way possible," said Marguerite Kallman, a senior French major.

Polansky has authored three Spanish textbooks and has taught 18 courses during her tenure at Carnegie Mellon.

"I am deeply touched by this special award and extend mil gracias to those who wrote letters of support. It is an honor to have my name added to the list of distinguished awardees from past years," Polansky said. "Life at Carnegie Mellon constantly encourages personal and professional growth, and my life in the Department of Modern Languages has brought exceptional opportunities. I am truly grateful for the privilege of working with wonderful colleagues and most especially with such a rich diversity of talented students, who are my inspiration and have taught me so much."

Elliott Dunlap Smith was provost of the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1946 to 1959. He also was the Maurice Falk Professor of Social Relations. He and President Robert Doherty forged the Carnegie Plan for Professional Education, a program to train men and women to become creative and productive professionals.

The Department of Modern Languages is one of eight departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the second-largest academic unit at Carnegie Mellon. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary study in a technologically rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance toward the arts and sciences.


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