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Anne M. Rusnak

Anne M. Rusnak Title: Instructor Emerita of French Studies
Email: a.rusnak@uwinnipeg.ca


Anne Rusnak retired in 2014 from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in the Faculty of Arts at The University of Winnipeg, where she leaves a lasting legacy as a much beloved and respected teacher, scholar, and strong contributor to the institution’s academic life and governance.

After completing her BA Honours at UWinnipeg and MA at the University of Manitoba, Rusnak received a prestigious Government of France Graduate Award to continue her graduate studies at the Université de Bordeaux 3, obtaining her DEA, or Diploma of Advanced Studies, in 1987. This led to a life-long interest in literature for children and adolescents, especially Canadian francophone literature.

In 1996, Rusnak and Dr. Mavis Reimer were awarded a UWinnipeg Major Research Grant for a comparative analysis of the key concept of “home” in award-winning French and English literature for children in Canada. The results of that study were published in Canadian Children’s Literature/Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse (CCL/LCJ), the only Canadian journal in the field. This collaborative project formed the nucleus of the successful 2002 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council proposal on discourses of home in Canadian children’s literature, which involved 13 scholars and resulted in a well-reviewed collection of essays published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2008. In 2005, the editors of CCL/LCJ moved the journal from the University of Guelph to UWinnipeg’s campus (where it continues to be published, now under the title Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures). Rusnak’s work as Associate Editor with special responsibility for French content, between 2005 and 2008, was important to the growing reputation of the journal — nationally and internationally.

Rusnak was known as a high energy teacher who always put students first and created an engaging classroom experience. Her office bulletin boards were filled with postcards from former students who kept in touch. Early in her career, she earned the UWinnipeg’s Clifford J. Robson Award for Excellence in Teaching — the highest honour students can give their teacher — and was listed as a Popular Prof in the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. In 2013, Rusnak was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her outstanding contributions to our community as a teacher and a volunteer.

In a career that spanned approximately three and half decades, she served on numerous committees at the departmental, faculty and university levels. Well-respected by her peers, she was also instrumental in developing the Flexible Major Program, where she worked with colleagues from across the disciplines to create Student-Designed Majors, Combined Majors, and Thematic Majors.