Matt Kanefsky received the Michigan World Language Association’s (MIWLA) Georges J. Joyaux Post-Secondary Educator Award for his outstanding achievement as an Academic Specialist in Michigan State University’s Department of Romance and Classical Studies (RCS).
Kanefsky has served as Coordinator of the French Basic Language program in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies since 2012 and teaches introductory courses in French language and French phonetics at MSU. As the coordinator of the lower-level language program, he supervises teaching assistants and instructors and works on curriculum development, scheduling, and conflict resolution.
“I am very fortunate to be working in what is my dream job,” Kanefsky said. “I have the opportunity, and the support, to be creative and to help push the field of language education to a place where it is more equitable and effective for our students. We have a great team in RCS with everyone working toward these goals.”
Kanefsky currently is working on developing two different textbooks to be used in the French Basic Language program at MSU. These will be released as Open Educational Resources (OERs) for all teachers to use free of charge.
Each year, Kanefsky works with visiting Fulbright Language Teaching Assistants at their annual orientation in collaboration with several other units at MSU. He also has led MSU students on the summer study program to Tours, France; has led a biweekly French conversation group at the public library during the academic year; and has taught classes at MSU’s Grandparents University and 4-H Exploration Days.
“I am very fortunate to be working in what is my dream job. I have the opportunity, and the support, to be creative and to help push the field of language education to a place where it is more equitable and effective for our students.”Matt Kanefsky
He is a regular presenter at the MIWLA conference and the national American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention and has presented at a variety of other pedagogy and linguistic conferences.
Prior to joining MSU, Kanefsky taught both high school and middle school French for 11 years in Massachusetts and Ohio. He has an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. He also worked for a period as a Flight Attendant for a small airline traveling between New York’s JFK Airport and Paris, an opportunity made available to him due to the French language skills he developed in college.
Considered as the Teacher of the Year Award for post-secondary education from the MIWLA, the Georges J. Joyaux Award is presented each year to an outstanding post-secondary faculty member or administrator who is committed to the principle of expanding Americans’ understanding of world languages and cultures to enhance their standing in education, culture, and business in the world. Kanefsky was presented with the award on Oct. 20 at the MIWLA’s annual conference in Lansing.
“An award like this is rarely about one person,” Kanefsky said. “If not for the mentorship and encouragement of other educators I have worked with, I would not have been in the position to receive this award.”
The Michigan World Language Association is a state association for language education professionals from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. MIWLA supports and promotes world language education through professional development opportunities and networking and seeks to advance world language proficiency for all students.