URI French professor wins academic award from French government

Second year in a row URI professor receives honor

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JoAnn Hammadou-Sullivan, a French professor at the University of Rhode Island. Photo by Michael Salerno Photography.

KINGSTON, R.I., May 3, 2017—JoAnn Hammadou-Sullivan, a professor of French at the University of Rhode Island, has received an international honor from the French government for her research, writing and teaching.

Hammadou-Sullivan, of Charlestown, has been named a Chevalier (or knight) of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques for her scholarly work in world language pedagogy.

This is the second year in a row that a URI professor has received the recognition, a testament to the University’s outstanding research in the history, culture and language of France. Last year, the award went to Joëlle Rollo-Koster, a history professor and native of France who specializes in the late European Middle Ages.

The Consulate General of France in Boston will present the award, a medal, to Hammadou-Sullivan, a professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures and the School of Education, during a ceremony later this year.

“JoAnn Hammadou-Sullivan is an outstanding professor of French language and culture with phenomenal expertise in language acquisition,’’ says Winnie Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “She richly deserves this prestigious award. She is a pioneer in teleconferencing and other creative means of teaching and learning.”

Napoleon I created the Ordre des Palmes Académiques as an honorary title to recognize members of French universities in 1808. Later, the award was extended to foreigners and French people living abroad who have contributed to French education and culture.

Hammadou-Sullivan joined URI in 1988. In addition to being a professor of French and foreign language education, she coordinates the foreign language education program.

Her scholarship is focused on world language teacher preparation and second-language acquisition. She has published many research articles on second language comprehension and the effects of metaphors, testing tools and inferring hidden meanings on reading comprehension in French. She has also completed studies on portfolio use in world language teacher preparation and teacher evaluation.

“I feel strongly that learning another culture’s language is the key to breaking down walls and building global bridges and that is what I have tried to promote throughout my career,” she says. “I am humbled and deeply honored by this recognition of the importance of second language teaching and learning.”

For 12 years she was a member of the Board of Examiners and the Annual Report and Preconditions Audit Committee for the national Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which reviews and accredits colleges of education. In addition, she is the founder and original editor of Research in Second Language Learning, an annual book series.

She is also on the editorial board of the national journal, Foreign Language Annals. She was the recipient of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages 2005 Paul Pimsleur National Award for Outstanding Research in Foreign Language Education and the advising award from the College of Arts and Sciences.