Faculty Spotlight

The 2012 Ross M. Lence Award in Humanities

Prof. Giacchetti

Claudine Giacchetti
Professor and Director of the French Program
Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Professor Claudine Giacchetti is the director of the French program. Her continuous accomplishments on French program development, such as the numerous new courses that she created, are truly admirable.

As early as 1995 when Distance Education first started at the University, she volunteered to teach a live “TV” class at the graduate level which was re-broadcast on Houston Public Television. In 1996, she participated in one of the computer-aided programs using “LIBRA” authoring system to develop multi-media course materials that was supported by a federal grant. To use the system to produce course material requires a good command of pedagogical theories and creative use of the authoring system. Claudine created programs for her new course, French for Science, Technology and Law.

Furthermore, she published an article on this project entitled “Learning with Libra: A Multimedia Approach to Special Purpose Language Courses,” which is evidence of close connections between her teaching and her research.

In the Fall of 2011, she taught the first hybrid course in the French program, FREN 4342: French Women Writers and its graduate section, FREN 6340. The course has several new features including online modules, voice presentation and voice authoring, mini lectures, discussion boards, and power point lessons with voice components; these features gave students a different, non-linear, and non-hierarchical approach to the literary texts. Her wide use of multi-media technology in her courses has made her teaching efficient and readily accessible to students. Needless to say, creating such technological initiatives is very time consuming.

The curriculum of the French Program used to be exclusive to traditional literature and linguistics that targeted graduate studies and teaching at K-12 levels. Claudine created and developed a new minor in “French for Business-Related Professions” in response to the needs of students and world globalization. The minor has opened a useful new channel for students, created a balance to the existing curriculum of the program, and brought great enrollment: the Business French courses have the highest enrollment of all content-based courses in French.

Professor Giacchetti is an internationally renowned scholar in French literature. She integrated her research on 19th century women writers into her senior and graduate courses in dynamic ways, introducing students to so-called “minor” literature, its meaning and impact on the literary institution. These courses included Women Writers in France, Images of Women in French Literature, and Women in French Cinema.

As part of the new French Major which she initiated, she taught new courses on Francophone fictions that have restructured the required Stylistics course to include changes in French terminology and the emergence of regional speech practices. For example, her new course, Francophone African Cinema, is a core course, co-listed in the African-American Studies Minor and counted for credit in Women Studies. Her multiple new courses have attracted many graduate students. The French concentration of the M.A. program has much higher enrollment than any other language units in the department.

Among many of her marvelous contributions to the department’s study abroad programs is her initiative and persistency in helping students obtain tuition waivers in faculty-led programs. With her leadership and tireless effort in the work with the UH Office of International Studies and Program, the dean’s office and the department, we finally succeeded in receiving the approval.

Professor Giacchetti has performed at the highest level of quality as a teacher. She has done so out of her own self-motivation: her love to her students and her devotion to her field of teaching and research.

~ Dr. Xiaohong (Sharon) Wen
Associate Professor of Chinese
Department of Modern and Classical Languages