Dr. Elena Foulis (left), senior lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, is a passionate educator who has developed several important initiatives, activities, and courses that engage students and the Latina/o community in Ohio. Dr. Foulis continually cultivates lasting relationships with students and community members that lead to meaningful student-community collaborations, understandings, and productions.
She is committed to the advancement of women and underrepresented groups in all areas of her work inside and outside of The Ohio State University. She regularly facilitates opportunities for her students to learn about, engage and work with the Latina/o community and develop meaningful relationships that help them arrive at a deeper understanding concerning different members of our community. She does this every semester through her service-learning course, "Spanish in Ohio." She is committed to pedagogical approaches that are transformative, engaging and grounded in the lived experiences and perspectives of women and Latinas/os. While several aspects of her work have been formally recognized by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Ohio State, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Ohio Hispanic Coalition, she feels most honored when she works collaboratively with her students in publications, conference presentations, and creative and multimedia projects.
Dr. Foulis' commitment to engaged scholarship is evident in her ability to expand the boundaries of traditional publication and pedagogical approaches. For example, her e-books, Latin@ Stories Across Ohio, and Mi idioma, mi comunidad: espanol para bilingues, provide her students key resources for understanding our Latina/o community's rich heritage, and the complexity and diversity, and sometimes, structural and systematic inequalities that this community faces. Her oral history project, Oral Narratives of Latin@s in Ohio, a collection in the Center for Folklore Studies Archives, is also a source of community pride as it gives voice to those who are often excluded or marginalized in mainstream media outlets.