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Pro­fessor Anne Theobald. Courtesy | Col­legian

After five years of teaching French at Hillsdale College, former Asso­ciate Pro­fessor Anne Theobald has left the college and taken a new role as faculty asso­ciate and director of the French House, a fran­cophone res­i­dence for stu­dents at the Uni­versity of Wis­consin-Madison.

“It felt like a good time to take on a new chal­lenge,” Theobald said. “I have the oppor­tunity to combine the small-com­munity atmos­phere of the French House with the resources that a large research insti­tution can offer.” 

With the departure of Theobald as well as the retirement of Marie-Claire Morellec, former chair­woman of the French department, Sherri Rose is now the only returning French pro­fessor. This year marks Rose’s sixth year at the college and her first serving as the French department chair. She is joined by two new French pro­fessors, assistant pro­fessor Jan Star­czewski and his wife, lec­turer Whitney Star­czewski.

“We brought on someone with a spe­ciality in 18th-century lit­er­ature and history whose research focuses on phi­losophy and religion,” said Rose, who is starting her sixth year at Hillsdale and is now chair­woman of the French department. “So, I think he’ll bring a lot to the department. I am also very happy to have his wife teaching with us.” 

The French department hopes to hire another pro­fessor later this school year. 

“We will be doing another job search this year to find a third tenure-line pro­fessor,” Rose said.

Theobald said she was impressed by the quality of Hillsdale’s French department and will miss her stu­dents. 

“I was sorry to have to leave without saying goodbye to my stu­dents and col­leagues due to the cir­cum­stances of the pan­demic,” Theobald said.

Junior French major Luciya Katcher took many classes with Theobald. 

“She was very much a mentor to a lot of stu­dents, even those not in the French department,” Katcher said. “She really had the men­torship aspect that made everyone feel com­fortable on campus.”

With the addition of new faculty, Rose says the mission of the department remains the same and it looks forward to offering stu­dents a robust edu­cation in French culture, lifestyle, and history.

“It’s still about teaching lan­guage, lit­er­ature, and culture,” Rose said. “Being there for our stu­dents to help them really open their per­spec­tives to the world.”