It took just one visit for Dr. Rosa Stoops to learn the veracity of experiences shared by many of her acquaintances about their time on the red brick streets at UM.
“The motto of the University ‘You belong at Montevallo’ is true for all individuals who study, teach and work here,” Stoops said.
Stoops, who said she “applied without any hesitation” after learning about an open position, is now 18 years into her career at UM as a professor of French and Spanish with the Department of English and World Languages. She has served as an associate professor for the past 12 years after six years as an assistant professor.
Stoops was also recently named the frst Christiane Angele Jacobson Endowed Span- ish Chair.
“I fell in love with the campus, the inti- mate atmosphere and the people here when I was invited for an interview,” Stoops said. “I have to say that I really, really wanted to get the job after I had lunch with the Spanish students. I felt welcome. I felt that I could really make a diference in students’ lives here and share the best of my knowledge and experience with the type of students that interviewed me for the position.”
Stoops is a native Spanish speaker, with an advanced profciency in Portuguese. She also has near-native profciency in English, French and Italian. Stoops said she was inspired to pursue teaching as her calling in life by her family, teachers and professors throughout her education. Her frst teacher was her grandmother who served as a kinder- garten teacher and taught her to read when she was 4 years old.
While family and friends encouraged Stoops’ passion for teaching, she said her students attracted her to the profession and keep the fire burning 18 years into her career.
Stoops has impacted her students in countless ways throughout the course of her career. She has served as an adviser for 13 students completing undergraduate research projects and has led six trips to Europe during her time at UM, including three to Spain and three to France.
“I cannot emphasize enough the benefts for students who travel and study abroad,” Stoops said. “In these trips, students improve their mastery of a foreign language, but more importantly, they travel beyond their area of comfort to transcend views that they consider the most natural.”
Stoops said she’s learned as much from her students as they have learned under her instruction.
“I have enjoyed every single moment in the classroom, in study abroad trips, research days, clubs and other activities with stu- dents,” Stoops said. “Every group is unique in their perspectives and their vision for the future, and that is fascinating to me. I have shared knowledge and experience, but I also have been enriched by my students’ experiences and their great ideas. I have laughed a lot with every single group.”
Stoops said Spanish faculty members are proud and hopeful for the future of Spanish studies at UM. Te funds associated with the endowed chair in Spanish will be destined primarily to advance the studies of Spanish majors and minors through scholarships on campus.