Interim Chair of LingLang Appointed

Jason MerrillProfessor Jason Merrill has been appointed Interim Chair of the Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages. The 12-month appointment is effective August 16, 2017, through August 15, 2018.

Merrill will replace Sonja Fritzsche, current Chair of the Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, who was appointed Associate Dean for Faculty and Administration for MSU’s College of Arts & Letters, effective January 1, 2017. Fritzsche is continuing as Chair of the Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages until August 15, 2017.

Merrill is a Professor of Russian in the Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at Michigan State University. He has taught Russian language courses at all levels and various subjects, including IAH, Russian cinema and 20th-century literature, and leads a study abroad program in Volgograd, Russia. He also has served as Director of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College since 2010.

An author of Russian-language textbooks, English- and Russian-language pedagogical works, and scholarly articles on Russian literature and film, Merrill received his Ph.D. in Russian Literature from the University of Kansas. Before coming to MSU, he taught at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where he directed the university’s Russian program. He also taught at Dartmouth College.

He is a gifted teacher, researcher and scholar, and I look forward to working in collaboration with him to raise our international reputation in language studies by establishing an innovative new school of languages.

Christopher P. Long

As Interim Chair of MSU’s Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, Merrill will serve as the chief representative of the department and is responsible for educational, research and service programs; budgetary and personnel matters; and physical facilities.

“I am looking forward to working with all members of the department during an important transition year as we move toward becoming part of the new school of languages and cultures,” Merrill said.

In an effort to advance the world-grant mission of Michigan State University, faculty in the College of Arts & Letters are creating a school of languages that will enhance collaboration across the languages to compete for more prestigious external funding, develop innovative approaches to language teaching and scholarship, and deepen our knowledge of other cultures and literatures to address the most complex challenges of our interconnected world.

“I am pleased to appoint Dr. Merrill as
Interim Chair of the Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “He is a gifted teacher, researcher and scholar, and I look forward to working in collaboration with him to raise our international reputation in language studies by establishing an innovative new school of languages.”

The school of languages will include the programs currently housed in two separate departments – the
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages and Department of Romance and Classical Studies – as well as the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA).