by Kyle Arnold
The impact of a small group of UW faculty was realized last week when the UW’s Swedish studies program was named the top in the world.
The Swedish Institute in Stockholm gave the award to the UW’s nine faculty members in the Scandinavian studies department.
“For us, it is tremendous. It is a feather in our hat and in our hearts, to come from a department with such little clout on campus and be given such an award,” said Scandinavian lecturer Ia Dubois. A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Dubois is one of several Scandinavian faculty members hailing from the region.
Also presented with the best Swedish studies program award was Czech Republic University in Brno, which shares the award with the UW.
According to Dubois, the UW hosts the flagship Swedish studies program in the nation, and probably the biggest outside of Sweden itself.
“Other programs like UCLA, Minnesota, Harvard and Yale only have small programs in Scandinavian studies,” said Dubois. “We have an entire department.”
Dubois attributes the UW’s award to its unique look at Scandinavian culture, including literature, political science and history courses, in addition to the more common Swedish language program.
The Scandinavian department has approximately 80 majors. It is far from large among UW programs, and also small in terms of its faculty. However, Dubois said that Scandinavian programs are very popular among non-majors as well.
“We have great faculty who teach classes students want to take,” Dubois said.
The award also considered the Conference for North American University Teachers of Swedish held in October at the UW, that brought faculty from all over the world to observe the UW’s program. Associate professor Lotta Gavel Adams, who spearheaded the event, was named in the award as well as Dubois.
Gavel Adams and Dubois are both from Stockholm.
The award brought in 10,000 Swedish Kronor — approximately $1,300 — which will probably be used to send students to conferences.
Both Gavel Adams and Dubois attribute the success of the program to its students.
“It is really our students who make us shine,” Gavel Adams said.