2004 Kemper Fellows

Image of Margaret “Molly” Olsen

Margaret “Molly” Olsen

Department of Romance Languages & Literatures

Molly Olsen comes from a family of teachers and she considers herself both a learner and a teacher in all areas of her life. Since arriving at MU in 1998 she has been labeled “extraordinary” by colleagues and “inspiring” by students. Olsen says, “Teaching is a form of community service, and it is primarily for that reason that I value it.” It is for that philosophy that students value Molly Olsen.

Whether she’s teaching Spanish composition and conversation or introduction to Hispanic literature, Molly Olsen has a powerful command of her subject and brings an enthusiasm to her teaching that engages all of her students. As one professor put it, Olsen is in demand: “Professor Olsen is one of the most sought-after teachers in our department, one with whom students always want to take other classes.” These classes are called “stimulating,” “interactive,” and place much “emphasis on student participation.” One student said: “Her style was relaxed, her charisma drew me into the class, and I remember distinctly thinking to myself, ‘this is the kind of person I always hoped I would have as a professor.’ ”

Olsen received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University and her doctorate from Tulane University. She was nominated for the Anniversary Faculty Award at Tulane and was awarded the Tulane graduate school academic fellowship for five years. She makes many contributions outside the classroom, including working with the Freshman Interest Groups, the language residency hall and serves as director of MU’s Cuernavaca, Mexico Summer Program.