Rawson Receives Award for Excellence

Professor of French awarded for instruction using technology.

Dr. Gay Rawson, chair of World Languages and Cultures and professor of French, has won the ACTFL/Cengage Postsecondary Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology with IALLT.

The ACTFL/Cengage Learning Awards are presented annually to recognize excellence in the integration and use of technology in world language instruction at the post-secondary level. These awards are the outgrowth of collaboration between American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Faculty Development Programs of Cengage Learning, with the International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT).

The awards are supported by the generosity of Cengage Learning, an American educational content, technology, and services company for education. The recipients each receive a $500 cash award provided by Cengage Learning.

Committee co-chairs of Julio Rodriguez, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Nathalie Ettzevoglou, Alpharetta High School (Ga.), presented the award virtually to Rawson.

Rodriquez and Ettzevoglou noted that Rawson’s approach to the integration of technology to language teaching and learning was best summarized in the statement of her nominator, which read: “She makes technology work for programs and students, not the other way around.”

In her acceptance speech, Rawson talked about living in unprecedented times and that technology has been a lifeline for students. Students communicate, create, collaborate, and find community with peers across the globe and among themselves using a variety of tools.

“We are acutely aware of the shortcomings with technology, but I hope this experience has changed us and that we’re also aware of the power behind these technology tools,” Rawson said. “At our best, we can use technology to bring our passion to students to make language learning come alive and to connect them across the globe. Technology usage enables us to develop responsible global citizens in ways that are more inclusive and far-reaching than when we are limited to a classroom.”

Rawson looks to a future where the pandemic is over and everyone is back in classrooms.

She says, “We’ll see that technology did not and cannot replace us, but this experience changed us. We know we can leverage the power of technology to reach out to all kinds of students.”

“I am humbled and grateful to accept this award,” she said. “ACTFL/Cengage and IALLT, you are leaders in the fields. To all the unsung heroes who helped me get here, thank you. And to my colleagues and students who play and learn with me every day, thank you. This award is for you.”

“Let’s continue using technology to improve teaching and learning,” she added.