French professor feels connected with Eastern’s staff, students

Janet Pernell, Multicultural Reporter


Hailing from a Big Ten university, new French professor Ryan Schroth said he already feels connected with both his students and coworkers.

He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May and got the position in the foreign language department right after. Schroth said there were a few new hires.

At Wisconsin, he taught French and English classes.

Schroth said he first learned French in high school and since then had perceived ideas about it.

“I went to French because everyone was going to Spanish, and I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing,” Schroth said. “So I ended up taking French and then I fell in love with it from there.”

After taking French classes, he knew he wanted to make it his career.

Schroth said so far at Eastern, he notices how hard the other staff members are working especially during the budget crisis.

“A lot of people had to take on work and it’s unfortunate,” Schroth said. “Going the extra mile is just beautiful.”

Schroth also likes how unified the campus is here at Eastern.

“I’m just happy to see that there is something going on around campus that brings everyone together,” Schroth said.

Schroth said he is also happy to be at Eastern and is grateful that the staff chose him to work in the foreign language department.

He chose to teach at Eastern because he wanted to have a closer relationship with his students. Normally at schools like Wisconsin and other larger universities, the students are not as connected and are seen as just a number, Schroth said.

He said he thinks larger universities tend to be removed from the professor.

He is the advisor for the French Club.

Schroth said so far he is getting great feedback from his students because of how quickly they pick up the lessons.

“I think that the students are definitely responding,” Schroth said. “I can’t believe how much they’ve learned in nine weeks.”

Schroth explained how the size of Eastern’s foreign language department is different from other foreign departments.

“It’s much more intimate [and] I get to know all of my students,” Schroth said. “It’s almost like a more advanced one-on-one tutoring session than a large lecture with 50 people in the room.”

Schroth would like to work with the Women’s Studies Department, EIU Pride and the Africana Studies Department.

Next spring, Schroth hopes to travel to Quebec with some students.

“I think that so many students don’t know that French, outside of the United States, is the most studied language.” Schroth said.

Schroth said he would like to get all of his French students and the foreign language department to go into the Charleston, Mattoon and other central Illinois areas.

“I’m really trying to get us to do things in the classroom, but I also want you to go out into the community and use French.” Schroth said.

He would also like to go out to senior citizen homes with advanced students and volunteer by teaching them French.

Schroth said one thing he would like to change about Eastern is making the French language more visible on campus and would like for others to acknowledge it being spoken in other places and not just France.

“I would like for students to also think of French as not just a language that is spoken in Europe,” Schroth said. “But the majority of French spoke in the world is spoken on the African continent.”

Janet Pernell can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].