Professor Schleicher Receives Awards

Professor Antonia Y. Schleicher of the Dept of African Languages and Literature and Director of the National African Language Resource Center, was the recipient of two prestigious awards this year. First she received the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 which took place at Pyle Center (702 Langdon St.) in the AT&T Lounge, while the  reception took place at Lee Lounge. This is an award that has been in place since 1953 when the University of Wisconsin- Madison began honoring its finest educators.

On presenting Prof. Schleicher for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at the ceremony, Prof. Dustin Cowell, Chair of the Department of African Languages and Literature at UW Madison, noted that she is one of the major voices in North America today, in the field of African Languages. He stated, “Schleicher established the National African Language Resource Center (NALRC) here at UW-Madison in 1999 - the only such research center in the U.S. -- and she  has worked to expand it through successive federal grants. She has won grants of nearly $5 million for developing innovative resources and  programs for the effective teaching and learning of African languages. The center trains teachers of less commonly taught  languages locally, nationally and internationally in the latest techniques of classroom pedagogy and language curriculum development”. Prof. Cowell went on to state that Prof. Schleicher has taken the lead in teaching Yoruba at UW-Madison. “Our university stands at the undisputed forefront of training students at the undergraduate and graduate levels in this important West African language”, he said.

The second award was the Ronald A. Walton award, presented by the National  Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL) to an individual whose career has been distinguished by selfless service and noteworthy contribution to the fostering of Less Commonly Taught  Languages (LCTLs). Prof. Schleicher received this award on April 24th, 2010 during the Walton Award Dinner and Banquet at the 2010 NCOLCTL Conference held in Madison, WI. On accepting the Walton  Award, Prof. Schleicher attributed her success to God and the support of her husband and family. She mentioned the roles various mentors played in her early professional life and focused the majority of her acceptance speech on the importance of field building. “Being given the opportunity to move beyond my own language to the level of field building has been the transforming experience for me professionally,” Prof. Schleicher said. She related how moving beyond her Yoruba language to seize opportunities to learn and participate in various organizational structures expanded her professional career. Prof. Schleicher’s concluded her message by urging the young and upcoming scholars to not only get excited about their language teaching and  learning, but to go beyond just that and be involved in field building. “Reach for the top. Get involved in your organization and build your field. As you are building your field, you will be indirectly building yourself  professionally”.