Spotlight on IES Abroad Faculty Award Winners

Each year, IES Abroad recognizes five faculty members from IES Abroad Centers around the world for their teaching brilliance.

At our October 2012 Annual Conference, we proudly recognized award recipients in three categories: Excellence in Teaching (including Instructor of the Year), Long-Term Faculty, and Faculty Innovation.

Read about our Instructor of the Year recipient here, and learn more about our other four award recipients below. Congratulations to all of our winners!

Dr. Guadalupe Romero Sanchéz
Excellence in Teaching Award, IES Abroad Granada
Dr. Guadalupe Romero Sanchéz has been teaching the course Islamic Art and Architecture of Spain and Its Impact at the IES Abroad Granada Center for six years. During the many site visits associated with the course, Dr. Romero shines as a vibrant, engaging teacher capable of transporting her students from the present day to the colorful and artistic past of Granada, the last Muslim kingdom in Spain.

To engage her students, Dr. Romero co-authored a 72-page guidebook designed to help put all of the course-related site visits in context. This guidebook has become an invaluable tool for IES Abroad students and helps connect the content of class lectures to the students’ opportunities for direct observation and reflection.

One of the students who nominated Dr. Romero wrote, "What made her such an amazing professor was her enthusiasm and her dedication to the students.  Her love of the course material came through in her teaching, and this fostered my own interest in the course themes.  The way she cared about the students and her high expectations of us made me want to meet those expectations by doing my very best.”

In addition to her work on the art history of Andalusia, Dr. Romero has published a monograph on the history of the Native American villages in the Spanish colony of New Granada.

Sra. Alice Friscelli
Excellence in Teaching Award, IES Abroad Siena
Sra. Alice Friscelli, who is on the faculty of the Università per Stranieri di Siena, has taught Italian at the IES Abroad Siena Center since it opened in 2006. She teaches every level of Italian language offered at the Center, where it is not uncommon to hear her students say things like, “She was the best teacher I’ve ever had.” She seems to be able to reach every individual student in her classes and works tirelessly to ensure that she does.

Sra. Friscelli also has great skills in working with students who have learning difficulties or problems with adaptation. She closely links language learning with cultural learning and helps students to discover slang, gestures, and “inside knowledge” that allows them to function as Sienese.

One student wrote, “She was consistently the greatest source of academic and personal support for me provided by IES.  She was patient and effective as a teacher, allowing space for each of us to excel in our own way.  Most importantly, she made an appreciable effort to act as our own cultural ambassador, taking us out to eat in order to practice ordering food  and practicing etiquette, answering all the questions that came up for us outside of class when we tried to use the Italian we were learning.”

Andrea Sernett
Long-Term Faculty Award, IES Abroad Vienna

Andrea Sernett has taught German language at IES Abroad Vienna for more than 34 years. She guides students through the process of learning a foreign language with a great deal of personal investment, and a commitment to nurturing students to the mastery of the German language.

Her enthusiasm and dedication to this task has grown over the years. For Andrea, teaching is not a profession as much as a fulfillment, living out of her natural commitment to passing on not only linguistic proficiency but also life’s experiences with an energy and enthusiasm that is truly inspiring.

One student who nominated her wrote, “She expected a lot of her students but her high expectations led us to successes and the achievement of our German language learning goals.  She was concerned with our progress and always willing to spend her own time helping us in any way possible.  She went out of her way to provide us with immersion experiences and opened her home to us for events outside of the classroom.  She always went above and beyond in her role as a teacher in order to enrich her students’ experiences in Vienna.”

In addition to her many efforts inside the classroom, Andrea also organizes a regularly held event called “Stammtisch,” where advanced German students meet weekly to discuss topics in different cafés. This is just one example of her interest in expanding the experiences and learning opportunities for IES Abroad students outside of the classroom.

Sara Pizziconi
Faculty Innovation Award, IES Abroad Siena
Ms. Pizziconi has brought a deeper understanding and incredible commitment to teaching Italian Art and Art History to students at the IES Abroad Siena Center.  Her teaching style has been greatly influenced by the introduction of educational technology to the IES Abroad curriculum and she has, as Moodle champion for the Siena Center, shown a level of dedication and innovation that goes above and beyond the requirements of her job.

She skillfully demonstrates how to blend advanced educational technology with “classic” university-style teaching, building interactive Moodle pages loaded with extra materials and cues for student reflection on Italian Art History.  Alongside her considerable technological abilities, Ms. Pizziconi also manages to communicate with her students in a way that makes complex subjects understandable and motivates them to strive for excellence.

One student wrote of Ms. Pizziconi, “She is unbelievably knowledgeable and her teaching style is very easy to learn from.  Sara’s class is the best I’ve taken anywhere, abroad or in the States.”


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