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Katherine Kulick named first recipient of Shirley Aceto Service Award

Professor Katherine KulickAssociate Professor of French and Modern Languages Katherine Kulick is once again being lauded for her service and governance to William & Mary.

Kulick has been selected as the first recipient of the newly created Shirley Aceto Service Award, an honor to be awarded annually to a member of the instructional or professional faculty “who demonstrates most fully a commitment to excellence in service for the common good.”  Established in 2010, the award is named for Shirley Aceto, whose dedicated service to the College as assistant to the provost spanned nearly four decades.

This is not the first time that Kulick has been recognized for her service and governance contributions.   In 2009, Kulick received the Thomas Jefferson Award – one of the College’s most prestigious awards given to a faculty member recognizing a deep devotion and outstanding service to the College.

“To even be nominated for an award bearing Shirley’s name is a distinct honor, and I was touched when I heard the news,” said Kulick.  “Knowing how many dedicated and deserving individuals there are in departments, programs, offices and units all across the university, I am both humbled and honored to learn that I will receive the Shirley Aceto Award.  I am grateful to be a part of such an exciting and engaged community.”

Colleagues describe Kulick as a leader, mentor, consensus builder, and a champion for her department and the College.  She has been a member of the faculty for more than two decades, providing valued leadership in many areas of faculty governance. 

Her contributions are endless.  In 2009, for example, she served simultaneously as the William & Mary faculty representative on the Board of Visitors, as a member of both the Faculty Assembly and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly, and was also a member of the president’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee.  Her leadership roles have included that of president of the Faculty Assembly, co-chair of the Faculty Committee on University Priorities, chair of the Faculty Compensation Board, chair of the Arts & Sciences Faculty Affairs Committee and six years as chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.   Over the past 12 years, she has led four triennial faculty surveys, which are now web-based – thanks to Kulick’s efforts.

“Katherine’s track record in the area of service and governance ranges across every level and in every area of the College,” said Provost Michael R. Halleran.  “Her service is vital to the College’s core mission, her leadership is extraordinary, and her dedication exceptional.  I am delighted that she is the inaugural winner of the Shirley Aceto Award."

Faculty across campus praise Kulick for her leadership, collegiality, and gracious generosity to the academy.  In his nomination letter, Professor of Sociology and American Studies David P. Aday, Jr., described his close working relationship with Kulick.  The two served on SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation leadership teams and helped to lead William & Mary through a successful 10-year reaffirmation process.

“Katherine was a steady source of information, guidance, and plain hard work as the committee worked its way through the many requirements, comprehensive standards and federal mandates,” he said.  She also provided critical insights, says Aday, as the faculty outlined a “Quality Enhancement Plan” to build independent inquiry into the general curriculum.

In the scholarly world, Kulick is a nationally recognized expert in the field of second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy and has shared her expertise through the Foreign Service Institute, the British Ministry of Education, the Defense Language Institute, the Peace Corps, as well as dozens of colleges, universities and national professional organizations.

For years, Kulick has offered a program of instruction to William & Mary students seeking international experiences beyond study abroad options.  Teaching English overseas enables these students (from disciplines across the social sciences, the natural sciences and humanities) to find employment while immersing themselves in the languages and daily lives of other cultures.    Kulick, and her departmental colleague, Jonathan Arries, are currently collaborating with faculty in the School of Education to establish an accredited TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program at the College.

Colleagues say Kulick’s university-wide governance and service is inspiring for all individuals in the William & Mary community – and a great tribute to Shirley Aceto’s legacy.