PhD Alumni

Susanne Gundermann Freiburg

English-Medium Instruction: Modelling the Role of the Native Speaker

ErstbetreuerProf. Dr. Dr. h. c. Christian Mair
ZweitbetreuerProf. Dr. Bernd Kortmann

In line with the ongoing internationalisation of academia, English-medium instruction (EMI) in Higher Education is becoming increasingly popular in Europe. My dissertation assesses the role of the Native Speaker (both as real participant and as abstract provider of linguistic norms) in this rapidly growing domain of English as a lingua franca (ELF) use, identifies generic challenges of EMI and provides practical recommendations for EMI quality management. Ethnographic fieldwork in an EMI Master?s programme at the University of Freiburg provided a quantitatively and qualitatively rich data base available to analysis with particular focus on emic perspectives of EMI practice and its challenges. The results show that the English native speaker is linguistically privileged in EMI, while the German native speaker enjoys institutional privilege. These privileges can be explained by the non-existence of an alternative lingua franca identity, by the impact of (native) English in academia and in global markets, and most conspicuously by the impact of institutional power roles within an EMI community of practice. The resulting implications for EMI practice are that EMI stakeholders need to reconsider the impact of the institutional and linguacultural EMI habitat and (on part of the teachers) prioritize EMI-specific didactic competencies, instead of exclusively focusing on (and rebuking) each other?s language proficiency and linguistic performance.


Curriculum Vitae

I. Academic Training

- Doctoral studies in English Philology, University of Freiburg (2008-14)
- Dissertation "English-Medium Instruction: Modelling the Role of the Native Speaker" (defended July 2014)
- M.A. (Magister Artium) studies in English Philology, Spanish Philology and German Linguistics, University of Freiburg (2001-07)
- M.A. Thesis "Interference in Learner Language: A Corpus-based Study of Spanish Speakers' English" (2007)
- Supplementary specialisation in German as a Foreign Language (2005-07)
- Graduate studies in English Philology and Spanish Philology, University of Granada (2003-04)

II. Academic work experience

- Scientific staff member in the English-medium Instruction (EMI) Programme, Sprachlehrinstitut (SLI; Language Teaching Centre), University of Freiburg (Jan 2014 - to date)
- Scientific staff member at the Chair of Professor Dr. Bernd Kortmann (maternity leave replacement for Dr. Alice Blumenthal-Dramé), English Department, University of Freiburg (2012-13)
- Graduate Assistant for Professor Dr. Dr. h. c. Christian Mair, English Department, University of Freiburg (2008-13)

III. Teaching Experience

- Baden-Württemberg Zertifikat für Hochschuldidaktik (Higher Education Didactics Certificate), completed in 2013
- "Teaching in English with a Multilingual, Multicultural Student Body"(with Gregg Dubow), workshop at the Hochschuldidaktikzentrum (HDZ), University of Freiburg
- "Teaching in English for Doctoral Candidates" (with Gregg Dubow), semester course for doctoral students, University of Freiburg
- "Teaching in English: Student Interaction" (with Gregg Dubow), workshop for academic staff m embers at the University of Freiburg
- "Studying in Germany: Introductory Course for International Master's Degree Programmes" (based on my research findings), Sprachlehrsinstitut (SLI)
- "Writing (final) papers in linguistics", extracurricular seminar for advanced students, English Department, University of Freiburg
- "Exploring English as a Lingua Franca and Multilingualism at the University of Freiburg", Master seminar together with Professor Christian Mair
- "Doing Linguistics", compulsory tutorial for lecture "Introduction to Linguistics"
- Individual guest lectures on ethnographic research / Grounded Theory methodology

IV. Research Grant

- Promotionskolleg Empirische Linguistik (PEL) Scholarship, Hermann Paul School of Linguistics, University of Freiburg (2009-12)

V. Conference Talks and Publications

- "English as Medium of Instruction: Overvaluation of Language Skills at the Expense of the Real Challenges?" (with Stephanie Bender), International Conference Language Policy and Language Teaching "Multilingualism in Society, the World of Work, and Politics. New Challenges for Teaching at Institutes of Higher Education/Universities",18 - 20 April 2012, University of Freiburg.
- " 'I think everybody has this thing in mind, this flexibility to accept less than perfect'. An Ethnographic Case Study of the Renewable Energy Management Master's Programme at the University of Freiburg." ZEE Working Papers (02/11). URL:
- " 'Foreigners feel stressed living and studying abroad. Germans know the system and can have more contacts.' An ethnographic case study of an English-medium-of-instruction Master's programme", First Freiburg Language Policy and Language Teaching Conference "Multilingualism and Apsects of Intercultural and Transcultural Langauge Teaching", 14 - 16 October 2010, University of Freiburg.
- "English as a Lingua Franca: Modelling the Role of the Native Speaker", International Summer School "Sociolinguistic Perspectives", LANCHART Centre and GradEast, 07 - 12 June 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark.
- " 'I sometimes think my grammar has suffered a bit by mainly talking to non-native speakers.' The hidden presence of the native speaker in lingua franca interaction", Third International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF3), 22 - 25 May 2010, University of Vienna, Austria.
- "Student Feedback as an Efficient and Indispensable Evaluation Tool: Insights from an International Master's Programme". Essay contribution to BRIGHT 2010 Conference "University Teaching in Europe: Challenges and Perspectives", 15 - 19 April 2010, Munich. URL:
- "English as a Lingua Franca: Native Speaker Authority or Non-Native Speaker Anarchy?", Second ELC International Postgraduate Conference on English Linguistics (ELC2), 30 - 31 October 2009, University of Vigo, Spain.

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Current research

DIS-AGREE (Grant: The European Campus „Seed Money“)

Das geisteswissenschaftliche Projekt aus der Linguistik steht unter der Leitung der Universität Freiburg und wird gemeinsam mit den Universitäten Basel, Haute-Alsace und Strasbourg umgesetzt. Information und Kontakt

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Tuesday, 19th November, 9-12pm
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Mittwoch, 20. November 2019, 18:15-19:45 Uhr
Redefining endangerment and indigenousness. The case of Chabacano (Vortragsreihe "Visibilizar lo invisible: lenguas indígenas del mundo iberorrománico")


Ab 1. Dezember 2018 stehen Ihnen als assoziierte ProfessorInnen unserer Schule Prof. Dr. Juan Ennis, U. La Plata / Buenos Aires; Prof. Dr. Mar Garachana, U. Barcelona, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Gülich, U. Bielefeld und Prof. Dr. Michael B. Buchholz, I.P.U. Berlin als BetreuerInnen und/oder GutachterInnen zur Verfügung. Wir begrüßen die neuen KollegInnen in unserer Runde!

Am 15.Oktober 2018 wurde das Corpus Salcedo von Pieter Muysken veröffentlicht. Es wurde in Freiburg und Basel in Zusammenarbeit mit einem internationalen Team editiert und kann nun über das in Freiburg entwickelte Korpusverwaltungstool moca3 (Daniel Alcón) genutzt werden.


PhD Scholarships Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2019

The Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2019 in Basel went to Ye Ji Lee. Congratulations!

PhD Scholarships Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2018

The Hermann Paul Scholarship in Linguistics 2018 in Basel went to Joelle Loew. Congratulations!

PhD Scholarships Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2017

The Hermann Paul Scholarships in Linguistics 2017 in Basel went to Robert Reinecke and Valentina Saccone. Congratulations!

Hermann-Paul-Preis für herausragende Dissertationen

Seit Winter 2018 verleihen wir jährlich den Hermann-Paul-Preis für herausragende Dissertationen.