Cara August, Trinity Communications
Deborah Reisinger, associate professor of the practice of Romance Studies, has been selected as a member of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, an honor that recognizes excellence in teaching and promotion of the French language and culture.
The honor of chevalier, or knight, is bestowed by the French government. French Consul Anne-Laure Desjonquères presented it to Reisinger by in an official pinning ceremony held in Rubenstein Library on November 16.
The Ordre des Palmes Académiques, originally created by Napoleon in 1808 to pay tribute to the leading scholars at the University of Paris, is one of the world's oldest civil awards. It constitutes the third national order of recognition in France after the Legion of Honor and the Order of National Merit.
For Reisinger, also an affiliate faculty of the Duke Global Health Institute, associate director of the Markets and Management Studies program and director of Language Outreach Initiatives, the honor is deeply personal.
“I am so grateful to Duke, and to the department of Romance Studies, for nurturing me in my chosen work, and for believing and investing in me so that I can pursue it with passion,” she stated in her acceptance speech. “I am fortunate to work alongside brilliant colleagues, but most of all, it is my students who have inspired my work in French studies. Our undergraduates at Duke are exceptional thinkers, and they are endless sources of encouragement and inspiration.”
Reisinger’s contributions to the field of French studies and her work promoting the advanced study of French across disciplines are notable. Her focus on transformative learning and community-based pedagogies is evident in the Duke Service-Learning course she teaches each fall, which welcomes French-speaking refugees to Durham by pairing students with resettling families. She also directs several Duke study away programs, including Duke in Provence, Duke in Aix-en-Provence, Duke in Montréal and Duke in Paris.
The award ceremony was highly attended by Reisinger’s current and former students, department colleagues and her spouse and children.
“I am delighted to share this honor with leading educators and thinkers from around the world, but I am especially gratified to join my Duke colleagues and predecessors who have received this award: Phil Stewart, Jean-Jacques Thomas, Michele Longino, David Bell, Alice Kaplan and Helen Solterer, all of whom I have had the pleasure to work alongside,” Reisinger said. “Their dedication to the field has influenced me in so many ways.”