Faculty conversations: Thomas Lovik
After studying several languages in high school and a participating on a study abroad trip to Germany as an undergraduate student, Thomas Lovik knew he wanted to invest time in the study of languages.
As professor and chair in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at Michigan State University, Lovik is living out his goal.
“We have excellent students,” Lovik said. “They are interested in learning German; they want to learn the language, so it’s a pleasure working with them. They appreciate what we can do for them.”
According to Lovik, between 400 and 500 students are enrolled in German courses at MSU. Sixty of those students are majoring in German and 85 are minoring in it.
“This suggests to us that students really see the value of having a skill in a second language,” Lovik said of the data. “That’s a real emphasis that we’ve been trying to make in this department; students should see language acquisition and language proficiency as something that will bring them great success in whatever profession they choose for the rest of their lives.”
The success of the program has recently received national attention by being named a German Center of Excellence by the American Association of Teachers for German for 2013.
MSU was one of only two recipients of this high distinction.
“We’re delighted to be recognized by the American Association of Teachers for German with this award because it really shows the effort and cooperative nature of our entire faculty, graduate students and undergraduates,” Lovik said. “It’s a great asset and boost for the department and for the college because it validates what we have done successfully in the German program.”
It looks as though 2013 will be a big year for Lovik and the department. Aside from the recognition, Lovik is publishing the third edition of his textbook “Vorsprung.” The textbook will be used at MSU this fall.