Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty

Click here for Adjuncts

Compton NMU Timothy Compton
Department Head
Professor, Spanish
145B Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1107
Arenillas María Guadalupe Arenillas
Assistant Professor, Spanish
Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1817
Foster NMU Tara Foster
Associate Professor, French
167 Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1814
Joy Michael Joy
Associate Professor, Spanish
172 Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1818
Kupper NMU Nelly Kupper
Professor, French
*On sabbatical 2013-14

168 Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-2648

Amy Orf Amy Orf
Assistant Professor, Spanish
170 Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1876
Sherman NMU Jon Sherman
Associate Professor, German
165 Whitman Hall
Phone: 227-2582
Strauss NMU Carol Strauss Sotiropoulos
Professor, German
169 Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1201
Ulland NMU Rebecca Ulland
Associate Professor, Spanish
166 Whitman Hall
Phone: 906-227-1820


Learn more about the Modern Languages Faculty:

María Guadalupe Arenillas

Assistant Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 2010

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • M.A., University of Notre Dame
  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame (Latin American Literatures and Cultures)

Favorite place to visit abroad: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Favorite subject to teach: Latin American Film and Literature

Fun Fact: I lived in Patagonia, the other extreme of the continent for many years.









Timothy Compton

Department Head, Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 1989

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Brigham Young University
  • M.A., University of Utah
  • Ph.D., University of Kansas

Favorite place to visit abroad: Mexico City!

Favorite subject to teach and why you like to teach: I love being at NMU so I can teach a wide variety of courses.   I love to see students perform plays in my Hispanic Theatre Performance classes.  I love seeing students learn to communicate in basic Spanish classes.  I love seeing students start to see how interesting and expressive language can be.  I love seeing students come to admire the incredible poetry, theatre, short stories, and novels of Spanish-speaking writers.  I love seeing students learn and admire the accomplishments of the people of Spain and Latin America.  I love sharing the amazing music of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world with my students.  I love seeing students get excited about studying & living abroad.   I love learning about what my former students are doing after they graduate.

Fun Fact: I met my wife on a study abroad in Mexico!














Michael Joy

Associate Professor | Began teaching at NMU 2006

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Carleton College
  • M.A., University of Minnesota
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Favorite place to visit abroad: Guanajuato, Mexico and Madrid, Spain

Favorite subject to teach: Golden Age Spanish Literature, especially the Quixote.

Fun Fact: I've run three marathons and three half-marathons.










Amy Orf

Assistant Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 1997

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Iowa State University (Spanish and Linguistics; Minor: French)
  • M.A., University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Romance Linguistics -- Spanish)

Favorite place to visit abroad: Cuba

Favorite subject to teach: I particularly enjoy teaching Spanish grammar and linguistics.

Fun Fact: I play the piano, autoharp, hammered dulcimer, and bowed psaltery.









Rebecca Ulland

Associate Professor | Began teaching at NMU 2006

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Carleton College
  • M.A., University of Minnesota
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Favorite place to visit abroad: Argentina, Spain, Istanbul

Favorite subject to teach: I love to teach Argentine women writers because they open up a whole new world of experience and perspective!

Fun Fact: I love to play Settlers of Catan (anyone interested?) and I also cross-stitch.










Nelly Kupper

Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 2000

Degrees Held:

  • B.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University
  • M.A., University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Ph.D., University of Tennessee-Knoxville






Tara Foster

Associate Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 2008

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Rice University
  • M.A., Rutgers University
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University

Favorite place to visit abroad: France and the British Isles

Favorite subject to teach: Medieval Literature

Fun Fact: I'm a descendant of Eleanor of Aquitaine.









Jon Sherman

Associate Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 2008

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., University of Vermont
  • M.A., University of Massachusetts
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Favorite place to visit abroad: Vienna, Austria

Favorite subject to teach: Viking Mythology (it is Viking Mythology!)

Fun Fact: I once spent a week on islands off the coast of Norway which are above the polar circle (where it stays light 24 hours a day in the summer).










Carol Strauss Sotiropoulos

Professor | Began teaching at NMU in 2001

Degrees Held:

  • B.A., Clark University
  • M.A., Clark University (German and Comparative Literature) 
  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut (Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies)

Favorite place to visit abroad: City: Vienna Austria / Countryside: Corinthian Gulf, Greece

Favorite subject to teach and why you like to teach: I can honestly say that I am totally enthused about every course, whether language or content based.

I love classroom engagement and trust students to sense that for every class session their grasp of the material and progress is my #1 goal, and that their classroom is the only place I wish to be.

In talking more specifically about cognitive rewards for myself, these always center on my learning something new and inspirational from students. In a German language course it may be that a student raises a question that leads me into a more effective way to teach a concept or vocabulary field.  In a content course, e.g., German Culture/Civilization, German Film & Fiction, European Romanticism, etc., it often happens that students make observations and connections that punch holes in traditional understandings of an historical course of events or of a literary work or a socio-cultural “fact.” These are thrilling moments that nudge me to think in new ways and invigorate the “how’s” and “what’s” of my teaching.

Fun Fact: Secret wish, now public: to operate a Dairy Queen (in Europe perhaps??) :)