Roanoke College Spanish professor wins statewide award for foreign language teaching

SALEM, Va. - A Roanoke College Spanish professor recently won a statewide award for excellent teaching.

Dr. Lynn Talbot received the 2011 Marshall Brannon Excellence in Post-Secondary Teaching Award at the annual Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) conference. Talbot said she was honored to be recognized.

"Receiving this award makes me work harder to be the best I can possibly be," she said. "I would like to make sure students have many opportunities to use their Spanish, whether through service learning, service trips and Intensive Learning trips to Spanish-speaking countries, internships and work opportunities abroad."

Talbot said her favorite part of teaching is seeing students apply their knowledge of the language and the culture in meaningful ways. She notes that studying Spanish, or any language, encompasses a broad range of knowledge, from language to literature, history, art, music, dance, sociology, politics and more. She said she tries to convey that variety to her students so that they see that there is much more than "just learning a language."

Kelsey Largen, a senior at Roanoke and one of Talbot's students, wrote on Talbot's behalf for the award application. Largen said when she needed advice on an academic situation, she emailed Talbot and received a response in less than five minutes.

"It seemed to me that she expected the best of us and would do whatever necessary to help us achieve her expectations," Largen said.

"Teaching at Roanoke College has allowed me to work closely with students, to assist students when they need help and to seek out opportunities where students can learn about other cultures and themselves," Talbot said.

Those experiences have involved students living with families in Cordoba, Argentina, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or following the pilgrimage route on the Camino de Santiago, she said.

Talbot recently edited a collection of essays, "Following the Yellow Arrow: Younger Pilgrims on the Camino," in which students wrote about the impact of the Camino journey on their lives. The book is sold in stores, including Roanoke College's bookstore, and online.

Talbot received her B.A. from the University of California, Davis, an M.A. from Middlebury College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. At Roanoke, she researches and teaches contemporary Spanish novel and drama, civilization and culture of Spain and contemporary issues of Latin America.

Talbot has been involved with FLAVA since 1987, the year that she came to Roanoke. The Marshall Brannon award is named for Brannon, a former high school French teacher who supervised foreign language education for the Virginia Department of Education and worked as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

Released: November 9, 2011
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