After earning my Ph.D. in 2003 in Hispanic Linguistics with a focus on Second Language Acquisition and then completing a one-year visiting position at Miami University, I was appointed to a tenure-track position at the University of Kansas. I've been fortunate to remain at KU as a professor and as its Spanish Language Program Director (LPD) ever since.
Alumni spotlight: Amy Rossomondo
Over the course of my career I have been fortunate to be recognized for my various contributions to KU's teaching mission—both within my department and across the university, including my work for several years with our Center for Teaching Excellence and as an advocate for Open Educational Resources (OER). Most recently, I was named a Chancellor's Club Professor. Beyond KU, a highlight of my service to the profession is my current role as President-Elect of the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators, and Directors of Language Programs (AAUSC).
As a tenured professor, the advantage of academic freedom has allowed my work as LPD to be more ambitious than is often the case at other institutions that do not secure a tenure line for this role. Within the first five years of my service at KU, I had developed an innovative online platform for teaching our third- and fourth-semester classes so as to address the shortcomings I had found in existing textbooks for this level. Acceso (acceso.ku.edu) leveraged our graduate students' expertise in Hispanic literary and cultural studies to generate carefully structured opportunities for both cultural and language learning in an open-access environment. It is now being used at dozens of high schools, colleges and, universities across the U.S. and around the world. In 2012 it was recognized with the CALICO (Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) Access to Language award, and it now serves as the flagship project for our new Title VI Language Resource Center at KU (OLRC). In the last year, this grant has funded a complete redesign of the learning environment with respect to both content and accessibility, and the project now serves as outreach to support professional development among high school teachers in Kansas, as well.
My most recent project, Contraseña (LingroLearning), applies the lessons learned from developing and successfully implementing Acceso to first- and second-semester students (with a complimentary program for third- and fourth-semester learners slated for release this year). It is well known that the clear benefits of OER also carry significant limitations, especially in terms of the resources available to develop and maintain them. After years of collaboration with a major textbook publisher to develop a sophisticated but financially accessible solution to these problems, Contraseña was eventually realized in partnership with a startup company that allowed my co-author (Gillian Lord, Professor and Chair of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Florida) and me to fully realize our vision for a research-informed native-digital platform and learning ecosystem. After its launch two years ago, the platform has now been adopted by more than 45 colleges and universities.
KU's Department of Spanish and Portuguese just celebrated its 100th anniversary and enjoys a long tradition of excellence in Hispanic literary and cultural studies. Because it does not offer degree programs in Hispanic Linguistics, however, my research profile has developed in ways that my professors and colleagues at IU could hardly imagine. Apart from some collaborations with colleagues in the Department of Linguistics at KU, the bulk of my research activity has focused on questions directly tied to my role as LPD, including the language acquisition implications of online and hybrid learning platforms, the pedagogical and professional development of graduate students, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Despite the unforeseen ways in which my research profile has developed, I remain grateful that my education at IU provided the strong foundation of disciplinary knowledge and principled teaching experience and research that made my career possible.