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Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Michael Mosier

Distinguished Teaching Award -- The Lieber Memorial Teaching Associate Award

Doctoral Student in Hispanic Literature
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
College of Arts and Sciences
Indiana University Bloomington
B.A., University of Wisconsin- Madison, 2000
M.A., Indiana University, 2007

Michael Mosier

Michael Mosier

Print-Quality Photo

Before she started Michael Mosier's Introduction to Spanish Literature summer course, Holly Schreiber looked upon the class with trepidation.

"I had to take it to fulfill my department's Ph.D. language requirement and thus viewed it primarily as a test of my abilities in Spanish," says Schreiber, an associate instructor (AI) in the Department of Comparative Literature. "The idea of spending my summer stuck in a class that met five days a week for an hour and 15 minutes was not particularly appealing to me, and I expected the other students in the course to feel the same way." Schreiber was pleasantly surprised to enter the class and find an "upbeat and downright chipper" group of students who knew Mosier and were enthusiastic about being in his class—and she was happy to find that his engaging, energetic teaching style made the class an actual pleasure.

Mosier applies the same energy to every class, whether he's teaching First-Year Spanish or the upper-level Composition and Conversation in Spanish. His colleagues are equally impressed with his teaching and his collegiality. Faculty members Laura Gurzynski-Weiss, assistant professor of Hispanic linguistics; Carl Good, assistant professor of Hispanic literature; and lecturer Inma Navarro-Galisteo describe him as a "dedicated, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic teacher who has exceeded his role as an AI by becoming involved in every aspect of the teaching process, from curriculum development and syllabus design in a formal classroom setting, to teaching and mentoring students in study-abroad and service-learning contexts."

Now in his fifth year in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Ph.D. program, Mosier specializes in twentieth- and twenty-firstcentury Latin American literature and the relationship between literary production and political hegemony in Latin America.

During his time in the department, he has organized and led weekly Spanish coffee hours; created and directed a service-learning class on Spanish language and culture for 5-to-10-year-old children at Binford Elementary School; and taken part in a seven-week summer immersion program in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, where he created a grammar course, taught phonetics and theatre, and coached intramural sports. One of his most rewarding experiences was being asked to mentor the senior project of an IU honors student who took part in one of Mosier's summer immersion courses in Mexico. The student wrote a book in English and Spanish, then declared a major in Spanish. She is now studying in Lima, Peru.

Gurzynski-Weiss, Good, and Navarro-Galisteo note that Mosier frequently incorporates articles and videos of current events from around the world in his classroom, encouraging students to make connections between classroom learning and their lives. "The superior academic engagement, quality, and commitment that Mr. Mosier brings to the classroom have earned him exceptional recommendations from his students, supervisors, and teaching peers," they say.

Mosier's teaching excellence has been noted throughout his time at IU. He was honored with the AI Teaching Award in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 2010 and had been nominated for the award before, in 2009. He was nominated four times for the J. M. Hill Award for an outstanding graduate paper in his department, winning the award for the 2009-10 academic year. He has assisted with the publication of the journal Discourse, was an elected member of his department's Graduate Student Advisory Committee, and organized eight professional workshops for graduate students in the department during the 2006-07 academic year.

Mosier reflects that his teaching style helps students connect with a deeper sense of who they are in relation to the world around them. "Studying a foreign culture and a foreign language is an exciting way of learning that there is a rich variety of cultural practices besides our own that can enrich our lives and help us navigate the ever more turbulent waters of a globalized world," he says. Throughout his 10 years of teaching—which have taken him from rural central Wisconsin to Mexico City to inner-city Minneapolis, and finally, to Bloomington—Mosier has found that fostering a two-way, communicative classroom has enabled him to learn an incalculable amount from his own students, who have ranged in age from 5 to 55.

In Mosier's classroom, students are encouraged to express themselves freely in an atmosphere of mutual respect. To quote one of his students in an evaluation of Mosier's Spanish Grammar and Composition course: "He truly cared about the subject, and he approached every topic we learned from a student perspective and really made the concepts easy to understand. Also, his personality actually made me want to go to class. Keep up the good work!"