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German professor receives teaching award

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A longtime professor of German at Bethel College has received a statewide teaching award.

The Kansas chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German (KATG), at their annual conference Oct. 15-17, named Merle Schlabaugh German Teacher of the Year. Schlabaugh is adjunct professor of German.

The KATG annual meeting, called the Fall Immersion Weekend for Teachers, moves its location each year and has been held three times at Bethel College, most recently in 2009. This year’s meeting took place in Valley Falls with Dr. Mohamed Esa of McDaniel College, Westminster, Md., as the keynote speaker.

Merle Schlabaugh has an Associate of Arts degree from Hesston College and a Bachelor of Arts from Tabor College, Hillsboro. He earned his master’s degree at the University of Iowa and his doctoral degree at the State University of New York-Stony Brook.

Schlabaugh began teaching German at Bethel in 1985. Before that, he taught German and church history at Iowa Mennonite School, Kalona, Iowa, where he also served as assistant principal.

Schlabaugh has been active in the KATG, having served as president on several occasions. He was co-editor of the Kansas Foreign Language Association Bulletin from 1997-2000.

He participated in several international summer courses organized by the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and held in Weimar, in addition to four Loyola College Berlin Seminars. Since coming to Bethel, he has organized and accompanied the Bethel College Concert Choir on five European tours and has led eight January interterm study/travel tours to Germany. He founded, organized and coordinated a well-loved German Advent/Christmas service, Deutsche Weihnachten, at Bethel for 25 years.

On the statewide level, Schlabaugh has served as a folio reviewer for the Kansas State Department of Education and has regularly taught the modern language methods course for the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas.

Schlabaugh’s professional interests include modern German literature, foreign language methodology and German film. His research interests are in translation of old hand-written German documents and the history and literature of the German Democratic Republic.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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