Karen Williams Burdette, Ph.D. in Linguistics
Karen Burdette came to TTU in 2002 from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where she was a Spanish instructor for two years while working on her doctoral dissertation on Spanish verbal morphology. Dr. Burdette holds the Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from the University of Georgia, where she taught several sections of an introductory Linguistics course, as well as all levels of Beginning and Intermediate Spanish. Her other alma maters are Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Virginia, and Ohio University. She also taught Spanish courses at MTSU as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and as an Instructor.
Dr. Burdette teaches Written Communication in Spanish, Oral Communication in Spanish, Introduction to Spanish Linguistics, Senior Capstone, Spanish Service Learning, Materials and Methods for Teaching Foreign Language, and Beginning and Intermediate Spanish. She also supervises students in FOED 3820, Field Experience in Teaching Foreign Language. (Dr. Burdette would like to clarify that she does not typically teach all of the above every semester!) She is also academic adviser to about a dozen Spanish majors, and is involved in a number of campus committees and activities. In 2004 Dr. Burdette initiated a Spanish Service Learning course, in which advanced students of Spanish work indepentently with Latino immigrant children in the public schools to help them transition to an English-speaking school environment, or with Spanish-speaking adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. Her professional interests include: second language acquisition; literacy and bilingualism; creative, dynamic approaches to communicative language teaching; language and dialect issues in education and society; Spanish verbal morphology and morphological theory; and language variation.
Originally from Charleston, West Virginia, Dr. Burdette and her husband Rick, an aerospace engineer at Arnold Engineering Development Center, are the parents of five children and two grandchildren: one son in Cookeville, one daughter in Murfreesboro, TN, two sons in Portland, OR, and one daughter in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Burdette has lived in Quito, Ecuador, and Ajijic and Puebla, Mexico, teaching English-Spanish Comparative Grammar and English Phonetics and Phonology to teachers of English.
Dr. Burdette says that when she was a child she was inspired to follow her dreams -- and to study Spanish -- by Don Quixote and the musical Man of La Mancha. Here's one of Dr. Burdette's favorite quotes: "When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness! To surrender dreams, this may be madness, to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness! And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be!" (Miguel de Cervantes in the musical Man of la Mancha)
When not teaching, grading exams and compositions, planning for classes, attending committee meetings, writing papers, or pondering the mental organization and processing of the Spanish verb system, Dr. Burdette's favorite activities are: spending time with her family, listening to music, reading, working out at Curves, traveling, writing about travel experiences, and organizing her travel photos. She says that one of these days she will have all those photos completely labeled and organized.
Another of Dr. Burdette's favorite quotes is: "One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time" (André Gide). For Dr. Burdette, the primary goal of foreign language teaching is to broaden students' minds, introduce them to cultures and ideas different from their own, and help them feel more a part of the global human community. She believes that anyone can learn a new language and discover new lands if he/she is willing to lose sight of familiar shores, even if just a little bit at a time.