Grotans awarded the 2022 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching
Please join the entire department in congratulating Prof. Anna A. Grotans on having been awarded the 2022 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching!
In course after course and in semester after semester, Anna Grotans’s course preparation is exemplary, and her student and peer evaluations are superlative.
The chair of GLL for the past eight years, Prof. Holub, noted that “her colleagues had come to respect her for her instructional prowess well before I became chair or had arrived at Ohio State.” It is no surprise to any of her colleagues that she is being celebrated now for her teaching excellence, student engagement, and pedagogical innovation.
Anna has engaged herself in a spectrum of courses that stretches from the 2000-level, fourth-year language instruction, to courses essential for the major at the 3000 and 4000 level, to general education courses that attract students from outside our major and minor, to graduate level courses for MA and PhD students. In each of these courses Anna displays the dedication and careful attention to detail that makes her so beloved by her students. Students who take courses from Anna know exactly what materials they will have to master and what they have to do to excel in their courses with her. She makes the subject matter accessible, fun and meaningful.
This sort of careful planning would not be as important if Anna did not bring to her classroom instruction the enthusiasm and student rapport that is the hallmark of all outstanding teachers. Here are some comments from her GE course evaluations: “10/10 teacher and teaching style. Very happy I took this course – one of my favorites!” “Well organized, fun, learned a lot.” “Grotans is amazing and actually makes this material interesting.” “Anna Grotans is the best!” “I absolutely loved having Professor Grotans teach us.” “Frau Grotans is one of the best professors I’ve ever had.” “She is an amazing teacher all around.” “Professor Grotans is the Best Professor I have had.”
The chair of GLL points out that Anna’s courses do not focus on her main area of research, which involves tenth-century monastic learning. “She is always teaching material that is unrelated to her research. Yet she masters this material and conveys it to her audience in such a way that students marvel at her knowledge and expertise.”
Anna engages with students in life-changing ways outside of the classroom, too. A typical record could be taken from the year 2020, when, in addition to her regular courses, she supervised four students writing undergraduate theses, one student writing an MA thesis, and one working on a PhD. That year she also helped to advise a record number of 6 German Fulbright ETA and 4 Austrian of Education ETA awardees. In addition she met informally over the summer with two undergraduates every week to read with them a “Chronicle of the City of Nuremberg.” She has served as the Department’s honors advisor for over a decade and every year she has supervised at least one honors thesis, and she has helped produce more honors theses in GLL than all the other faculty members of our Department combined.
Anna has been perhaps the most outstanding member of GLL making suggestions for improving the curriculum and for the development of new courses. She answered the chair’s call for higher enrollment GE courses in 2014, responding with “Magic, Murder, Mayhem,” a course that now regularly attracts 50 students and that could be expanded if GLL had a room for them and funding for a GTA. She has also been instrumental in teaching and reforming our fourth through six semester language sequence.
There is no one in GLL who is more adept at making engaging and attractive presentations than Anna. She has obviously invested a good deal of time to become expert in power-point, and students regularly signal their approval. And she has spent much time and energy finding ways to acquaint students – at both the undergraduate and graduate level – with the tools they will need to master medieval manuscripts. Accordingly, her courses and seminar make more use of the Rare Book Room at the Thompson Library than any other colleague in GLL. Indeed, she has arranged regular meetings in Thompson for several of her courses dealing with medieval and early modern projects.
It is rare to meet a teacher as dedicated, as accomplished, and as successful as Anna. She is a gem in a Department that has many outstanding instructors. She is richly deserving of the Distinguished Teaching Award this year. We applaud her!