German Program History

Foreign language programs, including German, have been in existence in the IU School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis since the early 1960s. In the 1970s, German grew into a separate Department with multiple faculty members teaching across the entire German Studies curriculum. Since the late 1990s, German is part of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, with both faculty members and students benefitting from the intercultural environment.

Former faculty members:

Gabrielle Bersier, Prof. Emerita of German

Gabrielle Bersier, Prof. Emerita of German, retired in 2014 after 35 years of service. Not only did Prof. Bersier teach language courses at all levels, but she was also the resident expert on the eminent German writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, as well as eighteenth and nineteenth-century German literature in general. Her publications include three monographs: Wunschbild und Wirklichkeit. Deutsche Utopien im 18. Jahrhundert (1981), Goethes Rätselparodie der Romantik. Eine neue Leseart der ‘Wahlverwandtschaften’ (1997), and Wege des Heilens. Goethes physiologische Autobiographie ‘Dichtung und Wahrheit’ (2014).

Giles Hoyt, Professor Emeritus of German and Philanthropic Studies

Giles Hoyt, Professor Emeritus of German and Philanthropic Studies, has been a pivotal figure in the field of German and German-American Studies for more than four decades. An internationally recognized scholar on early modern German literature, he is the recipient of the Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Federal Cross of Honor, which is the Federal Republic of Germany’s highest tribute for services to the nation. Prof. Hoyt was also instrumental in the establishment and development of the IU Indianapolis Max Kade German-American Research and Resource Center, a national model in intercultural and interdisciplinary German and German-American Studies. In 2020, Prof. Hoyt and his wife, Dr. Dolores Hoyt, were presented the Bicentennial Medal for their distinguished service to Indiana University.