URI language professor earns national award for teaching German culture

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Niko Tracksdorf, a University of Rhode Island assistant professor of German and associate director of the German International Engineering Program, has received the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages’ Nelson Brooks Award for Excellence.

The award, URI said, recognizes an educator whose writings and teachings change the course of the profession of language education.

URI said Tracksdorf is the editor and co-author of a new college textbook series and creator of several courses that integrate science, technology, engineering and math subjects and both inclusivity and diversity with the learning of German. The series, titled “Impuls Deutsch,” teaches German from a new perspective, URI said, that shifts from cliched topics – such as Oktoberfest and BMW cars – and provides an inclusive approach to teaching language and culture.

“Each of [Tracksdorf’s] publications, presentations and courses reflect his dedication to enriching language study through STEM, equity and inclusion, interdisciplinary approaches, authentic resources and intercultural competence,” the ACTFL awards committee said in a statement. “His most recent publication, the co-authored textbook series … is a testament to his focus on German language study as a way to connect with others and build student knowledge of themselves and the world.”

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James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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