Dr. Susan Fitch Spillman began teaching at Xavier in 1992. Recognized as the William Arceneaux Endowed Professor of French, she holds a doctorate in French, with a concentration in medieval studies, from Tulane University. Upon coming to Xavier, she developed an interest in instructional technology and has incorporated multimedia and Internet resources into her courses. At present, she teaches online classes in elementary French I and II as well as traditional format courses. She completed Vive la Louisiane, un état pas comme tous les autres, a rich media project developed in Director. Incorporating 78 video clips as well as still photos and interactive exercises, the program is designed to emphasize the importance of Louisiana as an integral part of the international Francophone community and at the same time to give users practice in understanding and using French. Continuing her interest in integrating culture into language instruction at all levels, she received grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop The Garífuna: A Vibrant Culture Speaks, a multi-media study of a Central American coastal Afro-Hispanic culture with a significant presence in New Orleans as well as in Boston, New York, and San Diego.
In May and June, 2001, Dr. Spillman accompanied the first group of Xavier Crossing Borders participants to Yaoundé, Cameroon, for a month of study and travel. More recently, she has taken part is a number of educational travel opportunities: the 2012 United Negro College Fund/ Mellon Foundation Seminar, Race, Rights and Rebellion, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. JULY 5-15, 2012; and three International Faculty Development Seminars sponsored by the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE): 1) Modern Debates along an Ancient Way, a 2013 International Faculty Development Seminar, Council for International Educational Exchange, which includes a walk along the last 115 km. of the route. She is a recipient of the Compostela certification verifying participation in the pilgrimage; 2) Contemporary Senegal through Literature and the Arts,2012; and 3) Brazil, Salvador da Bahia: Identity, Race, and Culture in the Afro-Brazilian Heartland, 2011.
She is a very enthusiastic advocate of study abroad for students of every major, and welcomes visits from students who want to discuss how studying in another country enhances both professional preparation and general culture.
In April, 2013, Dr. Spillman was named recipient of the Norman C. Francis Excellence in Teaching Award, Senior Faculty. She is the author of Compère Lapin, Voyageur, an original play in three acts. Accepted January, 2012 for publication by the Éditions Tintamarre, the only publishing company in the United States exclusively dedicated to French-language works, it was published in June, 2013.