World Languages  


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By teaching the respective languages offered by the Department of World Languages - Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish - the Modern Languages faculty promotes the “live” aspect of language and culture study through its coursework and language-related events, including specific holiday celebrations, film screenings, or cultural events.

Department offices are located in the Academic Building, AB 9.

Full Time Faculty Adjunct Faculty
Marcos Romero M. Laura Dentel
Stéphane Bédère Elizabeth Flores
Katharina Häusler Gross Susan Hojnacki
Michel Pichot Kim Ibarra
Shelli Rottschafer Jodi Lamm
Carmen Ruiz Sánchez Kayoko Matsumoto-Hoover
  Sarah Matthews
  Laura Schneckenberger
Program Websites
French Program German Program Japanese Program Spanish Program
Full Time Faculty
Marcos Romero Asencio Marcos Romero Asencio, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish
Chair of the Department of World languages
Phone: (616) 632-2123
Office: AB 1-A

Dr. Marcos Romero Asencio earned his Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of New Mexico where he was awarded a Fray Angélico Chávez Fellowship and a Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship. He taught college-level Spanish for nine years at the University of New Mexico and Indiana University East before arriving at Aquinas in 2005.


Dr. Romero is the Chair of the Department of World Languages at Aquinas and teaches SH 201 Third Semester Spanish, SH202 Fourth Semester Spanish, SH 302 Advanced Spanish Conversation and Diction, SH 325 Seminar in Spanish Literature: Medieval and Early Modern Spain, SH 326 Seminar in Spanish Literature: 18th Century to Present Day Spain, and SH 333 Spanish for Medical Professionals. His research interests include Medieval Spanish Narrative, Paleography, Iconography, Golden Age Drama, and English-Spanish Medical Interpretation.


He is married and has three children, two corgis and a shih tzu. In an effort to meld his Spanish and New Mexican heritage, he hopes to one day own an apartment near the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain and to cruise the streets of Madrid in a 1960 Chevy Impala convertible. However, he will probably retire near the Santa Fe plaza in New Mexico and drive a 1973 SEAT 600.

Stephane Bedere

Stéphane Bédère, M.A.

Assistant Professor of French and Spanish

Phone: (616) 632-2118


Stéphane Bédère was born and raised in the Basque country in southwest France. After completing high-school, he moved to Paris and then Argentina, and traveled to Bolivia and Chile. Upon returning to Paris, where a large part of his family now lives, Bédère specialized in Spanish and Latin American studies at the Université Paris VIII, where he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees.

While working on his doctoral degree, he was employed as a high school Spanish teacher in Paris and met his wife, Christa, an American (originally from Washington, DC). Bédère also had the opportunity to return to Latin America (1999-2000), where he spent several months in Paraguay and Argentina conducting research for his dissertation.


In 2006, he moved to the United States. Bédère’s wife’s family is from Michigan and her parents retired here. Before coming to Aquinas, he spent four years teaching at Grand Valley State University.


When he’s not teaching, there are many things Bédère enjoys doing, including (but not limited to) spending time with family and friends, the cinema, soccer, good French (or Argentine) wine, discussing politics, reading a good book, and of course a good espresso.

Kati Gross

Katharina Häusler Gross, Ph. D.
Professor of German & Foreign Language Methodology
Coordinator of the German Program
Phone: (616) 632-2122


Ph.D. German and Cultural Studies, Michigan State University
M.A. Second State Exam (English/German), Kultusministerium/Berliner Senat/ Germany
Diplom (English/Russian), Ernst Moritz Arndt Universität Greifswald/Germany (including studies at the State University Odessa/Ukraine)

Dr. Katharina Häusler-Gross came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar and joined Aquinas College in 1998. Prior teaching appointments include Westminster College, PA (German/Russian), Michigan State University, the Universität Tübingen/Germany and the Goethe-Institute. At Aquinas Dr. Häusler-Gross is head of the German Program and teaches all levels from beginning language to advanced content courses, German Literature, Culture and Civilization, Business German, and Studies of German Culture and Society through Film, as well an interdisciplinary course on European Cultures and Identities. She also coordinates the methodology courses for Teaching Foreign Languages in K-8 and Secondary Schools for prospective FL teachers.  Her scholarly research is in the area of (East) German studies, and film and cultural studies with a focus on identity formation in post-Wende Germany.

As a volunteer teacher and language consultant at the German Language School of West Michigan, Dr. Häusler-Gross keeps promoting her native language and culture by teaching German to bilingual children and engaging them in cross-cross-cultural activities. She is also actively collaborating with Chiaroscuro, West Michigan’s International Film Series, which celebrates cultural diversity and multiculturalism by showcasing and discussing international films from around the globe. Her love for other languages and cultures keeps her traveling extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe and the United States.
Michel Pichot Michel Pichot, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of French
Coordinator of French Program
Phone: (616) 632-2120
Dr. Pichot joined the Aquinas family in the Fall of 2002. He is an Associate Professor of French who teaches French courses at all levels. He holds a B.A. in History from Atlantic Union College, a M.A. in Language and International Trade from Eastern Michigan University, a M.A. in French Literature from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in French from The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to his appointment at Aquinas College, he taught at Clemson University and Andrews University. His areas of specialization are applied French to international business, French translation, and history of French civilization. He has presented and published research on French social history of colonial Algeria. He has traveled extensively and lived in Europe and several countries of Africa.
Shelli Rottschafer

Shelli Rottschafer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Phone: (616) 632-2116


Dr. Rottschafer, or “Profe” as she is known by her students, completed her doctorate from the University of New Mexico in Latin American Contemporary Literature December 2005. Summer of 2006, she moved from New Mexico back to Grand Rapids, Michigan where she was born and raised. Dr. Rottschafer also attended Hope College for her B.A. in Spanish and History, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for her M.A.

In addition to Spanish language courses, Dr. Rottschafer teaches 301 Advanced Composition, 310 Special Topics Courses in Latin American Literature, Chican/Latina Literature and Hispanic Film.  Within the Modern Language Department she is the faculty advisor for the Spanish Club and chaperones the fall Study Abroad students to their orientation in Salamanca, Spain.
Outside of the department, Dr. Rottschafer has led students on summer retreats to South Manitou Island. She has been a Spanish translator for service learning trips to the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Rottschafer enjoys the great western Michigan outdoors. She may be seen riding her road bike in Ada, hiking with her dog Makeda in Seidman Park, or Telemark skiing up north.
Carmen Ruiz Sanchez

Carmen Ruiz Sánchez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Spanish

Phone: (616) 632-2838



Dr. Carmen Ruiz-Sánchez is originally from Seville, Spain. She came to the United States to do her graduate studies. She completed her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University. Her areas of interest are Sociolinguistics, Second Language Acquisition and Spanish Phonology, and she has published a book and several articles in these areas. Before joining the faculty at Aquinas College, she taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Michigan State University. In her spare time, she teaches Flamenco dance and likes to spend time with her family.

Adjunct Faculty
Laura Dentel


M. Laura Dentel

Adjunct Professor of Spanish


Laura Dentel is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and Spain. She has a B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education with Spanish and Computer Science minors from Ferris State University, as well as a M.A. in Spanish from Central Michigan University.

Elizabeth Flores


Elizabeth Flores
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spanish
Phone: (616) 632-8900 ext. 5697

Office AB 6

Susan Hojnacki Susan Hojnacki
Adjunct Lecturer of German
Phone: (616) 632-
8900 ext. 5691
Ph.D. Candidate; German and Cultural Studies, Michigan State University
High School Teaching Certificate (German/English), Michigan State University
B.A. (German/English), Indiana University

Study Abroad Year at the Universität Hamburg

Having joined in the German Program at Aquinas in 2008, Prof. Hojnacki has taught Introductory German courses (101, 102) and also tutored students in Intermediate German (201, 202). In addition to teaching, she is also a Ph.D. student at Michigan State University where she is currently taking courses in both German Studies and Language Learning and Technology. In 2010-2011 Prof. Hojnacki received the Max Kade Fellowship at MSU, which funded the implementation of a research project examining the effectiveness of technology to increase students' oral and written output in the foreign language classroom. As a high school teacher for many years she developed her teaching skills and as a student and teacher in Germany she was able to increase both her linguistic and cultural fluency.
Kim Ibara


Kim Ibara, M.A.T.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education
Phone: (616) 632-8900 ext. 5697



Jodi Lamm


Kayoko Matsumoto-Hoover


Kayoko Matsumoto-Hoover, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Japanese
Coordinator of Japanese Program
Phone: (616) 632-2154

Sarah Matthews



Sarah Matthews
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spanish
Phone: (616) 632-8900 ext. 5694

Laura Schneckenberger



Laura Schneckenberger

Lecturer of Spanish