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Faculty Feature: Dr. Deborah Forteza
Faculty Feature is a series in the Blue Tribune that recognizes the excellent professors and staff of Covenant College through a series of questions.
This week we're highlighting Dr. Deborah Forteza, Assistant Professor of World Languages.
What brought you to Covenant? How long have you been teaching?
I've been teaching in church since I was fifteen years old, but had my first, formal college class in graduate school ten years ago. I've been teaching at least one class almost every semester since then, but this is my fifth year teaching full time.
I was attracted by Covenant's thoughtful integration of faith and learning, its desire to produce high-quality publications, arts, and resources, and the strong sense of teamwork throughout the entire community.
What do you love about teaching at Covenant?
I love Covenant's emphasis on the whole human being and the study of all of God's revelation, wherever it is found. At Covenant you don't have to choose between being an academic or a Christian, or whether to do research or to teach and mentor: you are encouraged to do all as one thing for God's glory and the good of others.
What's your favorite Covenant tradition?
Although I'm not sure I have only one favorite Covenant tradition yet, I really like that students wear funny costumes at Convocation because it shows joy and excitement about meeting again and starting a new year.
What is a current research project or area of interest you're excited about?
I'm currently involved in a research project based at the University of Salamanca in Spain that centers on Irish Catholics and their experiences in Spain during the early modern period. This is exciting because we are looking through many boxes of unpublished documents that will open up this understudied area of research and give us a better picture of English Catholic exiles in Spain and Anglo-Spanish relations and representations.
Anything else prospective students should know about you?
Although I never had to learn English or Spanish in a classroom (I grew up bilingual), I have studied other languages (most recently, the biblical languages and Modern Standard Arabic), so I know the joys and challenges of studying other languages and cultures. Languages can be intimidating, but learning them enriches your life in ways that you may never have expected.
How do you/your department encourage each student to pursue academic excellence?
Whether a student is in a required language course or in an upper-level class, we in the World Languages Department tell them that learning Spanish language and culture is a tool God has given them to learn more about the beautifully diverse world God made, to learn more about their own language and culture, and to love God and others better. This mindset is the greatest motivation to pursue academic excellence in a class.