A message from the RC Director, Catherine Badgley

Janet has academic roots in the study of Germanic and Slavic languages from several universities.  She has a BA in German and Russian from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts in German Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.  In addition, she has studied at Albert-Ludwigs Universität in Freiburg, Germany; at the University of Zagreb, Croatia; the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California; the Institute for Political Research in Wiesneck, Germany; the Goethe Institute in Dresden, Germany; and the Harvard Project Zero Summer Institute in Massachusetts.  She has language proficiency in German, Russian, and Croatian.  

Janet started teaching at the RC in 1981 as a Graduate Student Instructor when she was a graduate student in Russian Literature.  She became a Lecturer in the RC in 1984 and since 1988 has been the head of the German Language Program.  A sampling of her courses includes Intensive German I and II, Contemporary German Theater, The Arts and Politics of Weimar Germany, Cultures in Dialogue: Crossing External and Internal Borders, first year seminars (The Self, the Other, and the Self as Other in Text, Image, and Performance), and From the Page to the Stage (Improvisation Seminar).  She collaborated with many RC faculty—including Kate Mendeloff, Barbara Sloat, Ann Savageau, Jennifer Myers, and Olga López-Cotín—in courses, workshops, and artistic endeavors.  Since 2002, she has led groups of students on study-immersion trips to Germany related to arts, theater, and intercultural dialogue.  She has extensive theater experience as a director and producer and frequent composer for plays and films in German theater.  She founded U-M RC Deutsches Theater in 1985 and led numerous plays and workshops for current students, alums of the program, and distinguished visiting artists.  Over several decades, she also served on many active RC committees.  

Janet has received numerous awards and recognitions for her accomplishments in teaching and mentoring students.  In 1990, she received the first annual teaching excellence award from the State of Michigan.  In 1996 and 2000, she received Excellence in Teaching awards at the University of Michigan.  In 2003, she received the U-M Ruth Sinclair Excellence in Advising Award.  In 2013, she received the U-M Global Educator Award.  Perhaps most distinctive is that the RC named a student award the “Janet” for excellence in foreign language study, in 2016.

Janet found in the RC the qualities that all of us value—a place of deep commitment to intellectual challenges, teaching, learning, collaboration, and engaging with the world at large.  Janet excelled in all of these ways and helped many of us do so as well.  In her own words, “The RC is more than “just” a college. RC administrators, staff and colleagues have always emboldened me (and others) to grow, to share, and to be confident. Because of this, I never really considered myself to be “just” a German teacher; the RC encouraged and accepted exploration that led to my most rewarding work here….  Theater kicked off my foray into other arts that I have integrated into my teaching: book arts, music composition, film, photography, cartooning, and painting. I’ve been able to model the process of “taking good risks” for my students. Teaching, advising, and doing creative work are now a way of life for me, which have made them not feel like work at all.”

Janet’s boundless energy and creativity were a palpable force in the academic and community life of the RC.  She leaves a multi-faceted legacy with a lasting impact on the character of the RC.  We wish you many creative adventures in the years ahead, Janet! 

Catherine Badgley
Director, Residential College