Professional Development

Professional Development

Professionalization Workshops

In alternate years, the FRIT Graduate Student Organization coordinates workshops, with the participation of department faculty members, to prepare students for the academic job search and professional life beyond the PhD. These workshops focus on preparing students for the job market, targeting skills like how to prepare an academic portfolio, how to write successful grant applications, and how to publish academic research.

Grad Student Writing Group

The FRIT Writing Group is designed to support advanced FRIT graduate students as they write their dissertations, articles or chapters for publication, conference papers, grants, and by extension job dossiers. The program also aims to help introduce students to resources available to them in the library and on the web. The groups are founded upon two basic principles: 1) daily writing produces better quality work while also minimizing stress; and 2) group accountability helps reinforce motivation. Contact the Writing Group faculty mentor, Professor Alison Calhoun , to find out more. View detailed description.

Student-Faculty Forum Series

Our Student-Faculty Forum meets several times per semester on Friday afternoons. At the forum, individual students and faculty members present their current research for discussion in an informal setting. This is a great way for graduate students to practice giving a paper before they head off to their first professional conferences, and/or to gain feedback on their dissertation research.

Student-Faculty Research Collaborations

The Department also funds faculty/student collaborative research projects through which students gain hands-on experience in research ranging from historical linguistics to the exploration of a certain theme in contemporary cinema or poetry. Students are paid hourly for their research work. Some recen projects include:

  • Creation of an annotated bibliography on the topic of the body in Early Modern France
  • Preparation of a Lilly Library exhibit on the theme of “Sense and the Senses” in 20th and 21st century Francophone literature
  • Transcription of interviews with native speakers of Picard for linguistic analysis
  • Assessment of variants and errors in Boccaccio’s transcription of Petrarch’s Canzoniere

French Linguistics

In the French Linguistics program, the Second Language Acquisition group is particularly active, led by Professor Laurent Dekydtspotter .

The Second Language Acquisition of French Laboratory supports the production of dissertation research, class projects and group research mentoring. Joint-authored papers have been published in open access venues and in archival journals: such as Second Language Research and Studies in Second Language Acquisition, and as book chapters. Current research investigates the role of real-time syntactic analysis (parsing) in sentence comprehension by native and non-native language users. This is done through psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic means. The goal is to better understand the role of parsing in acquisition and to understand the neuro-cognitive foundations of a continued ability to acquire second languages. The Second Language Acquisition of French Laboratory supports various research studies including moving window silent reading experiments, cross-modal priming experiments, forced-paced reading aloud with picture classification, word monitory as well as eye-movement research with a portable Eyetech V2 mini Lab that allow off-site research and class-room demonstrations. Our neurolinguistic work takes place at the Imaging Research Facility. The Second Language Acquisition of French Laboratory offers a dynamic environment to engage in second language acquisition research on French.

In French Linguistics, additional student-faculty research opportunities include grant-supported projects such as Julie Auger's Picard project and Albert Valdman & Kevin Rottet's Louisiana French Dictionary Project. The Picard group is currently investigating the following topics: Comparision of vowel epenthesis in Québec French, Acadian French, and Picard; Surcomposé verb forms in Picard; Gemination; Prosodic Structure; Nasal Assimilation. The Louisiana French group (in collaboration with researchers at other universities) has released a CD-Rom "Discovering Cajun French through the spoken word" and its Dictionary of Louisiana French was published in 2008.

Conferences and Lectures

Symposia and conferences provide graduate students opportunities to attend or give lectures, and to discover new insights in the contemporary research. Recent events organized by the Department of French and Italian include the 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies international conference (2017), Affairs of the Heart: Medieval Cardiologies (2016), and the sociolinguistics conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation (2012). Each spring, we host the symposium “New Trends in Modern and Contemporary Italian Cinema,” and every two years, the Department also hosts a Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Colloquium.

The Department pursues an active program of lectures by distinguished visitors from other centers of learning. The hallmark of these offerings, ranging in scope from the Roman de la Rose to the latest writers and theorists, is variety and innovation. Recent visitors include Mireille Tremblay (Université de Montréal) who spoke on “Variation across borders: How time, space and modality shape the French language,” Fred Gardaphé (Queens College, CUNY) who discussed “Understanding Cultural Representation in Italian American Literature and Film,” and Haitian-Québécois novelist and screenwriter Dany Laferrière, who talked of his own perspective on the Académie française.

For more information on more recent conferences and lectures, please check our News and Activities page.

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