APSU French professor Sorenson is Tennessee’s Foreign Language Teacher of the Year
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University Professor of French literature Dr. Karen D. Sorenson has been named this year’s Jacqueline Elliott Award for Service in Higher Education recipient by the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association (TFLTA).
TFLTA presents this award annually to a foreign language educator at the post-secondary level for outstanding service to the profession. Sorenson is the 33rd recipient of the award, and the first winner from Austin Peay, and was recognized at the annual meeting of the Association in Nashville on November 17-19.
Sorenson said she was honored to receive the award, named in recognition of the late professor Elliott, who served as a freedom fighter for the French Resistance during World War II before marrying an American soldier and settling in the United States, where she taught French at the University of Tennessee.
“I’m honored to win this award, and I’m especially honored to be the first person from Austin Peay to receive this recognition,” Sorenson said. “This is an award for service to the profession, and I think it’s as much a credit to the way my colleagues value both my work and the work of the entire languages program at Austin Peay in terms of the advocacy work we perform for foreign languages.”
Sorenson was selected for the award, in part, for her commitment to advocacy for foreign language in higher education. As a member and former vice president of the Mid-Continent Consortium for International Education, Sorenson focused on immersion-based foreign study for two languages (French and Spanish) in five countries (Canada, France, Austria, Spain, Mexico).
“As we prepare more and more students to leave college and function in a global world, it’s more important than ever that we integrate foreign language study into our students’ educational experiences,” Sorenson said. “With our study abroad programs, we are giving Austin Peay students a chance to go somewhere else in the world and experience a culture and way of life that’s different from their own. And by giving them immersion-based experiences, they are able to develop skills that they couldn’t earn any other way.”
Since arriving at Austin Peay in 1987, Sorenson has been a respected and decorated member of the campus community. During her career, she has received the APSU National Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award, the APSU Student Affairs Governor’s Impact Award and the Innovations Award from the Tennessee Board of Regents. Sorenson has also been named Exemplary Faculty Member of the Year by the APSU Division of Student Affairs.
For more information about Austin Peay’s foreign language program opportunities, visit www.apsu.edu/langlit/foreignlanguages.