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The Bronson-Thomas is a faculty nominated award based on the best undergraduate student essay written in a German 425/426 section taught during the fall or winter terms. The winner will be announced at the departmental Graduation in April.
Students must be in German 425/426 during the fall or winter term.
All essays must be turned in by the end of the winter term so the winner can be announced at the departmental Graduation event in April.
How to Apply
Students must be nominated by their faculty member teaching German 425/426.
Criteria and Review
The prize will be awarded to the best essay based on content, complexity of subject, and quality of writing. Essays for the Bronson-Thomas Prize are anonymous and faculty submitted essays should include the original version, as well as the corrected version. Faculty may nominate only one essay for native speakers and one essay for learned speakers per term (a possible total of two essays per section). The competition will be judged by two tenured-track faculty members.
These prizes were established through the bequest of $1,000 by Thomas Bertrand Bronson, class of 1881, in memory of Calvin Thomas, who served as first chair of the department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and was a great pioneer in the field of German Studies generally. Calvin Thomas was a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan from 1878 until 1896. The Bronson-Thomas competition was first held in 1929, and has been held annually ever since.
Martin Haller Award
The Martin Haller Prize is awarded to the best German honors thesis.
German Translation Prize
The German Translation Prize is awarded during semesters that "German 470: Workshop in Translation" is taught. All German 470 students choose a German text that is particularly important to them personally and work on their projects throughout the semester, with feedback from the class as a whole, small groups, and the instructor. The semester-long projects are then submitted to the GDS Executive Committee for consideration.
The Kothe-Hidner Prize is awarded to the best role-play from all German 101, 102, 103, or 231 sections each term. The prize is $200 for the group that wins the competition.
Students must be in German 101, 102, or 231.
End of each term.
How to Apply
German 101, 102, and 231 instructors will nominate one or two groups from each section to do a live role play.
Criteria and Review
Instructors will nominate one or two groups from German 101 and 102 sections. These groups will then perform their role plays. The role-plays will then be judged (inevitably subjectively) as follows: a panel of three judges will each (without discussing their opinions with each other) rank their top three choices on a ballot. The audience will also be given ballots and asked to list their top three choices. The audience ballots will be counted and consolidated into one ballot ranking the audience's overall top three choices. The results from the four ballots will then be added: 3 points for a first-place vote, 2 for a second-place vote, 1 for a third place vote. The role-play getting the most points (out of a possible 12) wins the prize. In the event of a tie, the votes from the audience would be the tie-breaker.
These prizes were endowed by the Department's great benefactor Hermann Kothe in honor of his former teacher Jonathan A. C. Hildner (BA U of M 1890, MA 1893), who was further remembered in the following obituary from The Michigan Alumnus:
"Beloved Jonathan A. C. Hildner, '90, A.M. '93, Professor of German, who was known as 'Dad' to his students, alumni, and other friends, died in Wyandotte, Mich., January 25. He has been living there since his retirement in 1938, and had suffered a broken hip a week before his death.
Besides teaching German, 'Dad' Hildner served as an advisor to foreign students on teh campus for more than twenty years. In the classroom he taught by means of song and other informal methods. Editor of many German texts, his best-known work was his edition of Goethe's Goetz van Berlichingen."
Annual Open-Book Translation Contest
Students are invited to put their translation skills to the test by participating in the annual University of Michigan German Department Open-Book Translation Contest! The contest will take place each year in the Winter Term, and will be judged by a panel of faculty members. The entries are identified only by the student's university ID number, making the judging anonymous. Monetary prizes of $150 for first place, $125 for second place, and $100 for third place!
All undergraduate UM students currently enrolled in a German course or who are registered as a German major or minor are welcome to participate.
All contest participants are required to register for the contest by the annual published deadline. Contact Andrew Mills (email@example.com) with questions.
The contest will be held under the same conditions used by the American Translators Association (ATA) for its certification exam. Students will have approximately 70 minutes to translate a text by hand that will be provided for them (1). The translation will be from German to English. The contest will be held in “open book” format. Students will not have access to the internet, but may bring and use as many hardback or paperback dictionaries as they wish. All students receive the same text, which is approximately 225-275 words in length. The contest must be written in (dark) pencil capable of being photo-copied for our judges. Students must bring their own pencils. Paper is provided.
The text to be translated will be “general” in nature. The text expresses a view, sets forth an argument, or presents an idea or situation. Examples include: a newspaper article, an essay, or a passage from a non-fiction book. The contest passage is chosen in such a way as to avoid highly specialized terminology requiring research. There are, however, terminology challenges in the text, and knowledge of German culture, society, and history often is necessary for contestants to excel.
(1) Accommodations may be made for participants who demonstrate that they cannot write the text by hand. Please contact Andrew Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
History of German Science Prize (Inactive)
The History of German Science Prize was awarded during semesters that "German 378: History of German Science" was taught. German 378 students worked on a final project of their own design. Final projects were research- and/or experiment-based and the project was intended to further students' interests in the history of science. Students worked individually or as part of a team. The best final project was awarded the prize.