Congratulations to Patricia Okker, who will receive the Association of Departments of English Francis Andrew March Award, and to Paul Sandrock, who will receive the Association of Language Departments Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession.
Patricia Okker is the former president of New College of Florida and dean emeritus and professor emeritus at the University of Missouri, Columbia. During her tenure as dean, she increased diversity among new faculty hires, developed community engagement programs that supported the public humanities, and promoted new majors in digital storytelling and health humanities (among others). Beyond her campus, her support of ADE programs has been critical in ensuring opportunities for others whose leadership will influence both the field of English and the larger humanities ecosystem. In July 2021, she began her term as president of New College, where she led initiatives that focused on improving faculty pay and on better aligning infrastructure to advance students’ curricular and co-curricular experiences. Okker’s presidency was terminated in January 2023, an action she and others have referred to as part of a “hostile takeover” of the small, public liberal arts college. Since then, she has joined the PEN America initiative Champions of Higher Education. In presenting the Francis Andrew March Award to Okker, the ADE recognizes her commitment to the ideals of liberal education as well as her support for English faculty and faculty leadership more broadly and the extent to which these efforts are often intertwined.
Paul Sandrock joined the ACTFL staff in 2011, and served the organization for more than twelve years, in roles including director of education, interim director of professional learning and certification, and, most recently, senior advisor for language learning initiatives. Through initiatives such as the Leadership Institute for Language Learning and publications such as the updated Guidelines for Implementing the Seal of Biliteracy, Sandrock brought together diverse groups of institutional representatives from the world languages community, ranging from early language learning and K–12 to higher education. His work has been guided by a keen understanding of institutional and organizational contexts, along with attention to the needs of historically underrepresented groups, such as heritage language students and English-language learners. Sandrock’s broad range of experiences and commitment to professional development across institutions and ranks also informed the publications he wrote and collaborated on, including Planning Curriculum for Learning World Languages (2002), the original Integrated Performance Assessment, and ACTFL’s Keys series, a four-volume set of guides that successfully link research and practice for classroom instructors. A 2003 State Supervisor of the Year and the 2008 recipient of the Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in World Language Education, Sandrock is both an accomplished and effective national language advocate in his own right and an inspiring mentor and colleague who has trained and empowered generations of language professionals to lead with languages in their communities.
The awards will be presented during the MLA Awards Ceremony, which will take place on 5 January at the MLA Annual Convention in Philadelphia.