Released: Sept. 27, 1999
Centre faculty member honored as top Kentucky professor
DANVILLE, KY - Dr. Karin Ciholas, professor of languages at Centre College, has been
named for the 1999 Acorn Award, given by the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education to honor an outstanding professor at a Kentucky college or university. The award was presented Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Advocates annual dinner held in Covington.
Ciholas is a veteran of 25 years of teaching at Centre, and she played an instrumental role in establishing the college's overseas study programs.
Born in the United States and raised mostly in Switzerland and France, Ciholas is fluent in French and German, and she has a wide-ranging knowledge of the history, culture and literature of Europe. She joined the Centre faculty in 1974, and in addition to teaching language and literature, she served nine years as associate dean.
In 1991, when Centre decided to establish a residential program in Strasbourg, France, Ciholas spent several weeks trudging the streets of Strasbourg in bitter winter weather in search of apartments and classroom space. Back on campus, she enticed students to enroll in the Strasbourg program by serving crepés in the cafeteria and sitting for long conversations with students to reassure them about their ability to live and study in a foreign country.
Today, Centre's Strasbourg program provides an intense study, travel and living program that accommodates 50 students per year. A senior Centre faculty member lives and works with the students in Strasbourg, offering classes and leading field trips. Ciholas has served as on-site director for two of the program's nine years. Centre now has 360 graduates of the Strasbourg program, and an additional 488 students have lived and studied at comparable Centre sites in Latin America or London.
On campus, Ciholas has been honored with the Van Winkle Professorship. She does extensive creative writing and has published poems, short stories, and articles. Two of her original plays, Four Queens and One Candle in the Night, have been performed on campus. Ciholas' scholarly writing includes Gide's Art of the Fugue: A Thematic Study of Les Faux-Monnayeurs, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1974.
Ciholas is a graduate of the University of Richmond and has earned master's and doctoral degrees from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Back on campus this fall after a year in France with the Strasbourg program, Ciholas says she believes in the value of international study more than ever. "This is a life-changing experience for students," she says, "absolutely life changing. Centre gives them a sound academic program, and they become immersed in French culture and civilization. But equally important, they have to live as adults -- grocery shopping, housecleaning, dealing with other adults. They have to struggle in a way and learn about the real world."
Asked about her commitment and style of teaching, Ciholas says she tries to keep one thing in mind: "As a teacher, I learned early on that the students will not care about what I know until they know that I care about them. I hope that I never miss an opportunity to encourage students."
Milton Reigelman, director of international programs at Centre and a
long-time colleague of Ciholas, says of her: "She is brilliant in the
classroom, and around the campus she is a remarkable role model for our
students. She writes plays and short stories, she is a talented musician
and a painter, and she is a good leader. I think of her as a Renaissance
person for the next century."
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