By Ayden Pugh, The Circuit.
Dr. Julie Sellers, Associate Professor in the department of World & Classical Languages and Cultures, received the Kansas World Language Association Teacher of the Year Award in October.
The Kansas World Language Association, KSWLA, concerns people of all levels in language education. Sellers, a collegiate educator, says she can still learn new things from those who teach as young as pre-kindergarten level students.
Sellers is in her fifth year teaching at Benedictine, but her history with Benedictine goes back to her time living in Spain as a rotary scholar.
“There was a rotary scholarship that was called the rotary ambassadorial scholarship,” Sellers said. “I was sponsored by the Manhattan Kansas Rotary Club to compete. In the district, they only gave out two scholarships, and I came up to the Benedictine campus when I was in college to compete for that award. I always felt very fond about Benedictine because I associated it with that scholarship that allowed me to go to Spain for a year.”
This fond memory of Benedictine later inspired Sellers to teach at Benedictine when offered the job in 2012.
In her time at Benedictine, she has seen exponential growth in the department.
“We’re seeing students come out of only a couple of semesters of Spanish but being able to talk about themselves,” she said. “It’s not giving an intricate political discourse. We don’t expect that after two semesters, but just that they’re able to communicate things is gratifying to me.”
“Part of what I like about teaching those lower level classes is that sense of community and getting to know them as individuals,” she said.
Claire Schroettner, senior BC student and member of the KSWLA, was the person who nominated Dr. Sellers for the Teacher of the Year award.
“Dr. Sellers is one of the best Spanish instructors I have ever met,” she said. “She is extremely professional and transparent; there is never any guessing as to what a student is expected to do. Her classes are difficult, definitely, but that is what pushes students to higher learning achievements.”
When asked whom she wanted to thank for receiving the KSWLA, Sellers said, “Obviously the team in the Spanish department, Dr. Daphne McConnell our department chair, Claire Schroettner for nominating me, the Association for naming me, and, of course, all the students.”