Dr. Scott Kissau Wins National Award for Top Foreign Language Educator

Date Published: 
Monday, October 3, 2016

The College of Education is now officially home to one of the nation’s top foreign language teacher educators. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has selected Dr. Scott Kissau to receive the Anthony Papilia Award, an honor presented to one person annually for excellence in teacher education.

The award honors a teacher, educator, or author who significantly influenced the lives of countless students and practicing teachers.

“Dr. Kissau has taught, prepared and inspired hundreds of students for the profession of foreign language teaching,” said Mary Jo Adams, World Languages Department Chair at Providence Day School, where Kissau consults and many of his former students teach. “His students come from all walks of life in the variety of venues in which he teaches and the impact he has on their teaching has been significant.”

Providence Day School was also recognized for excellence in foreign education this year with the ACTFL Melba D. Woodruff Award for Exemplary Elementary Foreign Language Program.

Kissau’s excellence in the classroom is also consistently reflected in course evaluations.

“Everything I learned in this class directly related to my life as a teacher,” said one student. “This has been the most helpful training I've had both outside and inside my job as a teacher. I would go to work the next day after this class and use whatever game or activity we learned with my kids, and the students loved it!”

Over his ten-year career at UNC Charlotte, Kissau has developed and implemented an undergraduate minor, graduate certificate program, and master’s degree program in Foreign Language Education, as well as an undergraduate minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. He now serves as chair of the Department of Middle, Secondary and K-12 Education. Kissau has been the lead investigator in numerous research studies has published over 30 articles in peer-reviewed foreign and second language journals, delivered over 50 presentations at respected language conferences, and generated approximately $400,000 in grants.

Kissau’s research interests include the effects of single-sex instruction on student motivation, and the role of gender in motivation to study French and Spanish in Canada and the United Sates. University of Richmond professor Robert Terry describes Kissau’s research as “groundbreaking,” saying it explores novel areas of study and significantly adds to the body of knowledge in his discipline. “In this respect, Dr. Kissau’s research is very beneficial to foreign language education in this country,” Terry said. 

Kissau will be honored at the 2016 ACTFL Annual Convention Awards Ceremony on November 18 in Boston, Massachusetts.


The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is the national association for language education professionals from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. With more than 12,300 active members, ACTFL provides innovative professional development opportunities, acclaimed training and certification programs, and widely cited books, publications, scholarly journals, research studies and language education resources, including Foreign Language Annals and The Language Educator magazine.