About the Professorships

The College of Arts & Letters seeks nominations for faculty who have become leaders among their professional peers and colleagues through their efforts to share knowledge, mentor and expand opportunities for others, and act as exemplary stewards of programs and organizations for the Arts & Letters Professorships.


Nominees for an Arts & Letters Professorships must: 

  • Hold the rank of Professor with tenure and be actively engaged in work in their discipline(s) and department.
  • Be intellectual leaders in their fields of scholarship and creative activity. Their efforts to share knowledge and inspire others with their contributions should be recognized as exemplary, as documented by their record of exhibitions, publications, performances, awards, and other forms of recognition, with peer review as the standard of excellence.
  • Have a sustained record of excellence in teaching undergraduates and (where appropriate) graduate students, as documented by teaching evaluations and observations, placement and achievements of students supervised, teaching awards, instructional and pedagogical innovations, or other related evidence.
  • Hold leadership roles at the department, program, college, or university level. They may play major roles in key committees or lead cross-campus initiatives, have a record of mentorship of junior faculty, or have other signals of confidence from their colleagues to be an effective leader.
  • Not hold any other endowed, titled, or distinguished professorships or chairs at Michigan State University.

Goals of the Arts & Letters Professorship Program

We hope to recognize the outstanding contributions faculty at the rank of Professor make in the critical areas of intellectual leadership and to broaden the number of other people, inside and outside the university, that each A&L Professor can reach and positively influence.  

In addition to the title, which may be held for as long as the faculty member remains active at MSU, A&L Professors provides annual expendable funds that may be used to share knowledge and inspiration and create opportunity. These funds might be drawn upon to further research or creative projects, support events programming, or provide for a research assistant, to name a few possibilities.

Arts & Letters Professorships

Paula Winke

Professor and Director,  Second Language Studies Program 
Inaugural Arts & Letters Professor 

Dr. Paula Winke is the Inaugural Arts & Letters Professor in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Dr. Winke is a former Peace Corps Volunteer to China, a two-time Fulbright Scholar (Hungary 2008; Germany 2022), a former National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee member, and a four-time, national and international research award winner. She teaches courses on language assessment, language teaching methods, and cognitive and affective factors that contribute to differential language-learning growth. Dr. Winke’s research, which has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Public Radio International, SLATE Magazine, The Associated Press, and other outlets, focuses on ways educators and testing bodies can create language assessments that are fair, reliable, and valid. She also uses test data to track growth. She is a partner with the Michigan Department of Education, using state data to track English-learners’ English-language growth in Michigan K-12 schools. Dr. Winke is Editor of the international journal “Language Testing.” She is also a national advisor to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI) through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement between the U.S. Department of State and MSU’s Office of the Provost: Dr. Winke is advising the FSI as it revises its language proficiency assessments, which are given in over 60 languages and used to place U.S. diplomats and Foreign Service officers abroad. Dr. Winke is Co-PI on a U.S. National Security Agency STARTALK grant to educate K-12 teachers of Chinese on language assessment design: The grant will bring 15 K-12 Chinese teachers from around the United States to the MSU campus for a two-week 2023 summer camp on language assessment and STEM teaching. Dr. Winke is additionally a project leader in MSU’s new National Less Commonly Taught Languages Language Resource Center and a mentor to a CAL undergraduate researcher through funding from the CAL Undergraduate Research Initiative. Dr. Winke is a faculty mentor in MSU’s International Studies and Programs’ Alliance for African Partnernship (AAP). Dr. Winke and her mentee, Dr. Kadidja Koné from the University of Arts and Humanities in Mali, West Africa, will travel together to Dakar, Senegal in Spring 2023 to work at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop to develop a teacher development series for female African faculty on language testing principles. They will also establish a site for research on methods in assessing African children’s foreign language skills.