Domínguez named Outstanding Teacher of the Year


Julia Domínguez, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, was named the college/university Outstanding Teacher of the Year by The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. She was recognized for her exemplary scholarly pursuits, commitment to student success and her extraordinary efforts outside of the classroom to advance study in her field.

Julia Dominguez (Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University)

Domínguez has published on Cervantes, the picaresque and film in the Bulletin of Comediantes, Hispania, Cervantes and Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, among others. She is the editor of a collection of essays titled Cervantes in Perspective (Iberoamericana Vervuert, 2013) and the co-editor of Hispanic Studies in Honor of Robert L. Fiore (Juan de la Cuesta, 2009). Over the past two years she has begun to take a closer look at the cognitive processes involved in constructing autobiography. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled Cervantes and Memory in Early Modern Spain.

Some of the nomination language follows:

In the strong student recommendation letters written by her students, one of the phrases that students consistently used to describe Domínguez was that she goes “above and beyond.” Her passion and enthusiasm for teaching Spanish has led to her impact on her students’ career trajectories; one student eloquently described how taking a class with Domínguez is a process of “learning with” as opposed to “learning from” an instructor given the inviting environment, space for critical inquiry, and Dominguez’s caring, genuine, and energetic demeanor. Domínguez’s commitment to world language education is transformative; another student wrote that “students who struggle in other classes shine in hers.” Put succinctly, Domínguez knows how to reach her students, to cheer for them, engage them, and encourage them to see themselves as successful in and out of the language classroom.

While Domínguez’s success in the classroom by all standards of measure, (10 out of her 30 most recent courses taught earned a perfect score on student evaluations), can be considered a model for language instruction, Domínguez is also an exemplary scholar-teacher. A specialist in Early Modern Spain, Domínguez’s senior seminar on Cervantes is one of her department’s most sought-after courses. As one colleague noted, “Making early modern Spanish literature engaging and interesting to 21st century students can be extremely challenging, yet her students still love reading Cervantes.” Domínguez doesn’t just teach Spanish literature, however, she also has developed and regularly teaches courses in various areas including applied linguistics, dialectology, and culture(s). Domínguez engages her students from both sides of the Atlantic, as demonstrated by her transatlantic course “Don Quixote in Latin America and Latin America in Don Quixote.”

Outside of the classroom, Domínguez has directed a 6-week study abroad program in Valencia, Spain for 13 years and a semester-long program in Cáceres, Spain for 7 years. Both successful programs provide opportunities for international internships and Domínguez has successfully supervised over 40 of these internships abroad, ranging in fields from engineering, to business, to the health sciences. Domínguez is a tireless advocate for her students and she encourages and inspires them to become intercultural global citizens through coursework, study abroad opportunities, and international internships.