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Stefanie Ohnesorg
Stefanie Ohnesorg

Stefanie Ohnesorg, associate professor of German at UT Knoxville, has received the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association’s 2009 Jacqueline Elliott Award for Teaching and Service in Higher Education, the award that recognizes Tennessee’s postsecondary foreign language teacher of the year. Ohnesorg was recognized at the annual meeting of the Association in Nashville on November 13-14.

Ohnesorg was cited for her outstanding commitment to foreign language teaching at all levels and across different cultures, including her leadership in founding and directing the German Saturday School.

Having earned undergraduate degrees in literature and geography in her native Germany, Ohnesorg did her graduate work in Montreal, where she taught German language and culture courses in both English and French while earning her doctorate at McGill University. When she joined the faculty of UT Knoxville in 1995, she became the founding force behind the German immersion weekend for UT students. Ohnesorg is well known as a classroom teacher who combines deep knowledge with energy, creativity and enthusiasm. As a professor and current coordinator of German instruction, she also trains German teachers, and chairs or serves on a number of graduate degree committees.

Ohnesorg has been recognized at UT Knoxville for her pioneering work in academic outreach to the community. Perhaps her most famous service is her role as founder and principal of the German Saturday School, an opportunity for children and adults to receive expert instruction in German. Now in its sixth year, the German Saturday School was designated this spring as a Partnerschaft-Schule by Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of only forty-three schools in the United States that is accredited to award the Deutsches Sprachdiplom.

In the words of the award citation: “As a teacher who combines mastery of her subject with care for her students, who trains other teachers to the same high ideals, and who brings the joy of studying foreign language and culture to the community far beyond the walls of the university, Stefanie Ohnesorg is a model of teaching and service and a most worthy recipient of the Jacqueline Elliott Award.”