German Professor Receives State Awards

From the July 2014 Desktop News | Dr. Rasma Lazda, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, received two statewide teaching awards this year. She received in February the Outstanding Post-Secondary Teacher Award from the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers. She also received the award in 2003 and was selected from all foreign language teachers working in post-secondary education in Alabama.

She also received this year the Dr. Barbara Fischer Education Award from the Alabama Germany Partnership, an organization that facilitates collaboration between businesses and individuals with ties to Alabama and Germany. This award recognizes annually an educator who is engaged in the teaching of German language and culture.

“It is an honor to be selected by your colleagues in the field,” Lazda said of the Outstanding Post-Secondary Teacher Award. “But the Barbara Fischer Award is, for me, personally meaningful. Barbara Fischer was our colleague in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics and a professor of German until her untimely death in 2010. She was also my personal friend. We shared much more than a professional love for German literature. Of all the honors and awards I have received, this is without a doubt the most meaningful to me.”

A native of Germany, Lazda studied at the University of Münster and the University of Minnesota, where she received her doctorate. After working as an assistant professor at Baylor University, she joined The University of Alabama faculty in 2002.

Dr. Thomas Fox, chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, officially presented Lazda with the Barbara Fischer Award during the Alabama Germany Partnership banquet this year. He said she was being recognized for undergoing rigorous training to become an examiner for the prestigious German Goethe Institute, which allowed UA to become an official Goethe Institute test center that can provide internationally recognized language certification; for serving two years as vice president and two years as president of the Alabama chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German; for founding and directing the Alabama in Berlin summer abroad program; and for facilitating numerous cultural exchanges both in Alabama and abroad.

“Dr. Lazda’s extensive extra-curricular engagement for German education projects may well be unparalleled in the state of Alabama,” Fox said. “She is an ideal recipient, and it is also very fitting that she was a colleague and close friend of Barbara Fischer.”