Department of Romance Studies
Melissa Simmermeyer teaches Spanish-language courses at all levels. Besides second-language acquisition, her research interests include assessment, teaching grammar, teaching writing and rhetorical strategies, cultural and sustainability studies, translation, community-based learning, and digital pedagogy (approaching the use of digital tools in courses from a critical perspective). In her classes she integrates literary and other artistic production from all parts of the Spanish-speaking world, but especially works by Latinx in the US and artists from minority groups in Latin America.
Simmermeyer is the coordinator of Advanced Spanish Writing courses, and the Bacca Fellowship has sustained her exploration of the complex relationship between spoken and oral discourse in the 21stcentury. As a 2011-2102 CIT-TWP Research with Writing Faculty Fellow she began examining the role of student presentations as support for research with writing (Scaffolding the writing process: Framing a space for critical thinking in L2). In community with the 2015-2016 Bacca Fellows, she continues to develop her vision for how professors (who generally lag behind their students when it comes to digital genres and innovations) can learn from their students and in turn teach them key time-honored rhetorical strategies that survive translation to present-day realities. She believes it is incumbent upon professors to help students identify and articulate their individual research interests, to advise students how to present effectively either orally, in writing, or both in a variety of media and contexts, and to get students started on a path toward increased autonomy and greater participation as citizens of the world.