Carnegie Mellon University Home

Dietrich College News

Bonnie Youngs

February 2012

2012 Elliot Dunlap Smith Award Winner

The 2012 Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching and Educational Service in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences is Bonnie Youngs, teaching professor of French and Francophone Studies within the Department of Modern Languages.

A 1984 magna cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a BA in French (where she also received an M.A. in French Literature), Bonnie went on to receive a Ph.D. in French Literature/Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. She arrived at Carnegie Mellon in 1993 as a Lecturer in French, at just about the time when Modern Languages was re-emerging as an independent department in the college. She has been an integral part of the French program and, more broadly, the Modern Languages Department’s remarkable growth and success story ever since.

Semester after semester, year after year, Bonnie’s teaching performance at every level of the French and Francophone Studies program has been outstanding. She has created and taught a range of innovative courses and is a master teacher of beginners and advanced learners. She understands well how to promote students’ progress through the levels of learning to support not only their skill development, but also their acquisition of cultural knowledge of the diverse populations of speakers of French throughout the world.

Students describe Bonnie as engaging, passionate, challenging, and caring as a teacher, advisor and mentor. They appreciate the feedback she provides them to support their academic progress and personal development, and many comment on her special combination of rigor and high expectations with approachability. As one student wrote:

“Bonnie possesses a wonderfully effective (yet so difficult to sustain) combination of high expectations with the understanding of competing demands in students’ lives, academic seriousness and rigor with enthusiasm and praise, consummate professionalism with approachability, clear instruction with humor, gentle correction with encouragement, and concern for individual learning with classroom dynamics.”

In addition to teaching and advising undergraduates, Bonnie is deeply involved in the Department of Modern Languages’ new MA program in Applied SLA, launched during the current academic year. It is an intensive one-year program to prepare students for careers in second language teaching. Through her teaching the program’s anchor methodology course, and through extensive individual and group mentoring, Bonnie has worked very closely with the first cohort of six MA students. Their expression of satisfaction with Bonnie’s teaching and support is inspiring. Like her undergraduates, they too note the rigor of Bonnie’s standards, along with her meticulous, expert mentoring and unfailing support. Praise from Bonnie must be earned, but when it comes it is highly prized and deeply moving for those receiving it.

Highly regarded as a colleague, Bonnie is seen as indispensable to the French group. Her contributions to the university community have also been outstanding. Dr. Amy Burkert, Vice Provost for Education, indicates that “Bonnie is prominently on that list of faculty members who are asked to do many things – especially for student-initiated events -- and she does them with joy.”

While carrying a demanding teaching load, Bonnie has been a very productive contributor to the profession at large. She has served as President of the local chapter of the Pennsylvania State Modern Languages Association. Also, for several years she has coordinated for the local chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) the annual Grand Concours, competitive examinations of high school students. At the national level, she is an active participant in the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO), and has contributed to the visibility of the Modern Languages Department in the fields of computer-aided instruction as well as in peer tutoring for students who require help in all aspects of their language learning experiences.

Her nominators conclude by saying, simply, that Bonnie is “an extraordinary individual with an almost magical teaching talent and a dedication to advancing our field.” We certainly agree, and ask you to join us in congratulating our 2012 winner of the Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Teaching and Educational service, Professor Bonnie Youngs.

Stay connected with CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Twitter and Facebook.

Other sources of Carnegie Mellon news include the university news service website and the Carnegie Mellon Today magazine.

Contact Shilo Rea, Director of Public Relations at shilo@cmu.edu or (412) 268-6094.

 

About the Quick Links

Follow the Dietrich College on Twitter and Facebook.
Sign up to receive Dietrich College News, the college's monthly e-newsletter.

  Scott Sandage Helps "Modern Family's" Jesse Tyler Ferguson Learn His Family History on "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Premiering at 9 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, July 30, the episode will show Sandage helping Ferguson uncover the life of his great-grandfather whom trouble seemed to follow at every turn. Read more.
  Save the Date: Celebrating the Work of Steven Klepper
The Dietrich College and Department of Social and Decision Sciences will hold an academic conference and community memorial event on October 17, 2014 to celebrate the work of Steven Klepper. Read more (pdf).
  Dietrich College News: May 2014
Features this month include new psychology research, "Lucky After Dark," the 2014 Adamson Student Writing Awards, alumni news, commencement photos and much more. Read Dietrich College News.
  Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention and Learning In Young Children
Published in Psychological Science, CMU's Anna V. Fisher, Karrie E. Godwin and Howard Seltman looked at whether classroom displays affected children's ability to maintain focus during instruction and to learn the lesson content. They found that children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed. Read more.   Watch a video.
  Four Students Begin Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program
The program provides summer funding to rising seniors in the Dietrich College's senior honors program as they undertake early-stage research and development of their thesis topics. In this video, the four students participating in program's inaugural year discuss their projects which range from relationship research to anthropology and ethnography studies. Watch the videoFind out more about the program.
  Mapping the Future of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University — which has a long history of the humanities and social sciences collaborating with other fields to solve problems — and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences held the first Pittsburgh-area discussion of the "Heart of the Matter" report and its implications for improving education and creating a sustainable global society. Read more.   Watch the video.  View photos.
  New Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program Announced
The program will provide summer funding support to rising seniors in the Dietrich College senior honors program as they undertake early-stage research and development of their thesis topics. Read more.
  Richard Scheines Appointed Dean of Dietrich College
Scheines, professor and head of the Department of Philosophy, has been selected to lead the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences as dean, effective July 1, 2014. He will succeed John Lehoczky, who has served as dean since 2000 and will return to the Department of Statistics’ faculty. Read more.
  Students, Alumni Attend Under Construction
Nearly 60 alumni returned to support 150 current students and help them build their careers. The second annual “Under Construction: Building Your Future” event encouraged students and alumni to explore the diverse fields available after graduation. Read more.
  Video: The Humanities at Carnegie Mellon University
The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to have distinguished faculty and talented students who are leading the humanities into the 21st century. In this short video, Dietrich College faculty, staff and alumni talk about the college’s excellence in the humanities. Watch the video.

 

H&SS Home | Admissions | Advising & Careers | Departments & Programs | Research | Computing & Libraries | News | Alumni

Site Index | About H&SS | Message from the Dean

 

Carnegie Mellon University
College of Humanities & Social Sciences | 5000 Forbes Avenue | Baker Hall 154 | Pittsburgh, PA 15213 | (412) 268-2830