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UNT Insider | June 2008 Issue | Marie-Christine Koop

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UNT professor named officer in French academic order

From a UNT News Service press release

Marie-Christine Koop

Marie-Christine Koop is made an officer in the Order of Academic Palms by the French Ministry of Education.

Marie-Christine Koop, chair of UNT's Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, has been named an officer in the Order of Academic Palms by the French Ministry of Education.

Created in 1808 by Napoléon I when he was emperor, the Order of Academic Palms is a ministerial order that originally honored eminent members of the University of Paris. In 1866, the scope of the award was widened to honor French nationals and foreigners who make major contributions to French national education, as well as French nationals living outside of France who make major contributions to the expansion of French culture in the rest of the world. The order includes three ranks: Knight, Officer and Commander.

Koop received her distinction as an Officer in the order June 4, during a ceremony conducted by Kareen Rispal, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States, and attended by Dominique Chastres, Cultural Attaché from the French Consulate in Houston.

A native of Cannes, France, Koop was first named a Knight in the order in 1994. Arthur Gionet, UNT professor emeritus of French, is also a Knight, after being named in 1983.

Koop's distinction as Knight came after she received a grant from the French Cultural Services in 1993 to direct a five-week summer institute for Texas secondary school teachers. The institute, which was also funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, brought 25 selected French teachers to UNT for two weeks of instruction. The teachers then traveled to La Havre, France, to immerse themselves in French language and culture over three weeks and improve their teaching methods.

Koop continues to direct the French Summer Institute, which now allows French teachers and others who cannot attend classes during the fall and spring semesters to complete a master's degree over three to five summers.

Participants in the French Summer Institute take one graduate course during each of the two summer sessions. They are in class for four hours in the morning, have lunch with a native speaker of the language, and attend cultural activities, workshops and seminars in the afternoon. They also only speak French during the day to be immersed in the language.

After spending one summer in the program at UNT, participants may spend a summer session at the University of Strasbourg in France. A member of the UNT faculty since 1990 and department chair since May 2004, Koop directed UNT's French Co-op Exchange Program for 10 years. The program gives students who are majoring or minoring in French opportunities to study at universities in Caen, Longuenesse or Tours, France, for a semester or an academic year, or to work in paid teaching positions for an academic year at the university in Longuenesse. In addition, Koop created a program to teach scientific French through an ongoing grant from French Cultural Services. The program was expanded in 1998 to include business French.

The current president of the American Association of Teachers of French, Koop received the association's first National Award for Excellence in Teaching at the post-secondary level. She was also honored with the Nelson Brooks Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Culture, given by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, and UNT's J.H. Shelton Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has also been listed in three editions of "Who's Who Among America's Teachers."

She holds undergraduate degrees from the Université de Provence and the Teachers' Training Center, both in Aix-en-Provence, France; a master's degree from the State University of New York at Albany; and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University.

UNT News Service Press Release
Nancy Kolsti can be reached at nkolsti@unt.edu.

Read other stories in this issue:

June 2008

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