Dr. Wendy Westphal serves as assistant professor of German, chair of the department of languages and cultures, and director of study abroad. She is also the university’s Fulbright program advisor and Gilman advisor. She has been working at Marian University for eight years.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Westphal studied abroad in Germany, and although she started her trip completely uncertain of her future career path, the experience proved to be pivotal. Her German studies allowed her to spend eight years in the cities of Konstanz, Erfurt and Bayreuth, and she was selected for a number of fellowships to make those years possible, including the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program, the Carl-Schurz Research Fellowship, and the Indiana University Graduate Students Exchange Fellowship.
Dr. Westphal was recently named Indiana’s World Languages Teacher of the Year. Q&A with Dr. Westphal Q:
Are you from the Indianapolis area?
No, I’m originally from New Jersey. My parents are from Pennsylvania, and my husband is from Germany. Q:
What is your favorite part of working at Marian University? A:
The students, of course! I love Marian students. It always surprises me how different Marian University students are. There is an idealism at Marian University that attracts a special kind of student–students who want to make a difference.
Do you encourage most of your students to study abroad? Why is it so important? A:
Yes! In my perfect world, ALL students would study abroad—and study abroad for a significant amount of time. The longer you are in a different culture, the more you learn, the more your language ability improves, and the more likely it is to be a really transformative experience. Of course, studying abroad and having a fluency in a second (and third) language greatly increases a student’s marketability. This is a thoroughly globalized world, and Indianapolis is a globally-connected city. Students need cross-cultural skills, and the best way to gain them is by learning another language and studying abroad.
If you were to master another language, what would it be and why?
I had five semesters of French in college, as well as Latin and some Italian. I’d like to continue improving all three languages. I’d like to learn Russian and Spanish as my next languages.