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Co-Authors Prof. Cochran and Student to Present Paper at National Conference

Covenant College Professor Diana Cochran, assistant professor of modern languages, and freshman Covenant student Anna Wiersema recently co-authored a paper that they will present at the North American Christian Foreign Language Association (NACFLA) conference at Pt. Loma Nazarene University in San Diego on March 27-29, 2009.  


The paper, entitled "Fostering Spiritual Development Through Entering Unamuno's San Manuel Bueno, Martir," analyzes Spanish author Miguel de Unamuno's novella San Manuel Bueno, Martir (St. Emmanuel the Good, Martyr) and presents a helpful method for teaching foreign literature.


"When we were studying San Manuel Bueno, Martir in class," says Cochran, "we began to place ourselves into the story and to see the characters as our friends and family.  It helps us to gain a deeper understanding of the text."


Wiersema says, "One of the reasons we read literature, especially international literature, is to develop empathy with others, and this approach definitely helps build that."


Cochran sees the paper as presenting important spiritual reminders to Christians. In teaching a foreign language, particularly literature, she says, "It's important that there not be an ‘us versus them' mentality. It's all part of the intercultural goal to see our connectedness."


The NACFLA conference encourages faculty-student collaborations such as Cochran and Wiersema's. "It's a huge thing for me, as a freshman, to be able to collaborate on a paper like this and to present our work at a national conference," says Wiersema. "I'm hoping I'll learn a lot at the conference about what it means to study language as a Christian, and I hope it will pave the way for my work with languages and literature in the future."


Faculty-student collaborations such as this are hardly uncommon at Covenant.  Other Covenant professors who have worked with students on publications recently include chemistry professor Dr. Dan Zuidema, management professor Dr. Scott Quatro, and theology professor Dr. Kelly Kapic.