For her transformational impact on international education at UNC Charlotte, Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, associate professor of German and comparative literature, is the 2018 recipient of the International Education Faculty Award.
“Dr. Aliaga-Buchenau has significantly impacted the internationalization of UNC Charlotte,” said her nominator, Michèle Bissière. “Her contributions in curriculum creation, fundraising, community outreach and research have changed the landscape of international education in the German program, the Department of Languages and Culture Studies and UNC Charlotte in general.”
Currently associate chair of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Aliaga-Buchenau has been a UNC Charlotte faculty member since 2002. During her tenure, she has embraced international education in her teaching, service and research.
Her focus on building strategic, sustainable initiatives and partnerships stands out. During the past 16 years, her leadership has proven critical to the growth of the number of German majors from 32 to 110. Contributing to this growth has been her keen focus on expanding opportunities for students to study, work and intern abroad, with a parallel focus on growing community partnerships to support those students.
Her outreach work with the German community of the greater Charlotte region has led to a partnership with the German Language and Culture Foundation that has resulted in $2,000 scholarships for students to study in Germany each summer. Over 150 UNC Charlotte students have benefitted, the Foundation reports. She also designed a four-week intensive language program at the prestigious Goethe-Institute.
Aliaga-Buchenau worked with the German Language and Culture Foundation and others to establish internship options abroad and with German-American companies in Charlotte. During one semester, for example, 27 German majors worked as interns in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ German Language programs.
She has developed a spring break model for short-term study abroad, with the creation of spring break short-term study abroad programs to Berlin, Germany, Auschwitz, Poland, Vienna and Austria.
In work that extends broadly, she has collaborated on the design of the minor in Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights, spearheaded the design of the minors in Chinese and Arabic Studies, supported the design of the Certificate of Translation in Japanese and the Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies in German, and been instrumental in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies’ engagement with the annual UNC Charlotte International Festival.
In a sign of her impact, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau Witness in Residence Initiative was named in her honor. With the support of generous community donors, the initiative provides scholarships to fund students’ study-abroad experiences related to human rights and social justice. It also brings to the campus and broader community individuals who have personally witnessed important U.S. or world human rights or social justice events from within those events. Witnesses present a free series of lectures to students, faculty, staff, and the greater Charlotte community.
Aliaga-Buchenau was a finalist of the prestigious Bank of America Teaching Award in 2012, a nominee for the Carnegie/Case Professor of the Year in 2011 and from 2009-2012 she was honored with the Bonnie E. Cone Teaching Professorship at UNC Charlotte. In her research, one focus is on 19th century immigrants from Germany and their literary production. In a recent work, she translated the autobiography of a Mexican general from the Mexican Revolution, exploring the culture and rich language of his time and the details of his family life. She teaches upper level German classes as well as translation classes.
The Office of International Programs and the Mu chapter of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars sponsor the award. Areas of excellence may include teaching, research, curriculum development, program development, grant writing, university service, and community service. Aliaga-Buchenau received the honor, including a plaque and a stipend, at the 24th annual UNC Charlotte International Education Celebration in late April.
Words and Images: Lynn Roberson, CLAS Communications Director | Top Image: Wade Bruton, University Photographer