She received the award on Oct. 15 and was selected from language teachers throughout South Dakota, including secondary and college/university teachers.
Van Den Oever has been a Spanish instructor in The U's languages, linguistics and philosophy department since 2002. Prior to teaching at The U, she taught for the Fort Worth Independent School District in programs for native speakers and also for non-native learners of Spanish. She also completed postgraduate courses in linguistics at the University of Texas in Arlington.
Van Den Oever is currently the coordinator for the Spanish program at The U and is pursuing an Ed.D. with emphasis in adult higher education. Her current research interest is in tracking students' motivation to lengthen their Spanish learning sequences and how their motives to gain fluency change throughout their program of study.
"It is an honor to receive the award," Van Den Oever said. "But it is most gratifying to know that our colleagues throughout the state also value continuing education, collaboration and cooperation.
"Learning a language takes years," she continued. "When the whole language learning community promotes excellence, we create better learning opportunities for students."
The Spanish section hopes to continue growing and serving the needs of students who hope to gain Spanish fluency for both academic and other professional purposes, as well as for enjoyment throughout their lives.