Claudia Grossmann, Ph.D.
2021 Hoosier German - American of the Year
Dr. Claudia Grossmann has been selected by the Indiana German Heritage Society to be the Hoosier German-American of the Year for 2021. The title is given to people who have over a long period of time provided outstanding service to the German-American community of Indiana and beyond. Dr. Grossmann’s qualifications for the title are considerable.
Dr. Grossmann received her PhD in Language and Literature Studies from the University of Siegen. Thereupon she came to the US and Indianapolis specifically. While Indianapolis and Indiana generally benefitted from that arrival, the direct cause was her soon to be husband Mitch Vogel. The then IUPUI German Department Chair Harry Reichelt and Acting Department Chair Giles Hoyt had the good sense to hire Dr. Grossmann, which turned out to be the beginning of 36 years of service to IUPUI, the profession of German teaching, and the broader community.
Her various awards during those years speak to the excellence of her professional attainment. Indiana Association of Teachers of German Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year 2015, IU Trustees Award for Teaching 2013, IUPUI, School of Liberal Arts Outstanding Lecturer Award 2004-05, and Indiana Association of Teachers of German Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year 1996.
Dr. Grossmann’s academic work includes numerous administrative positions. She was the first to serve as overseas study coordinator in the IUPUI Office of International Affairs, and in that position contributed mightily to the development of the young campus’s sending students abroad.
She initiated a cooperation between IUPUI and the Hochschule Heilbronn in conjunction with the IUPUI Dual Degree Program in German and Engineering. She was co-director of the Dual Degree program, working closely with the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. She also developed a two-week Summer Study Abroad Program in Heilbronn. She took students to Heilbronn every summer from 2010 to 2019.
She served as German Program Director from 2001 until 2014. This is only one of the items in a long list of service to IUPUI and is indicative of the trust placed in her by the university administration and by her colleagues.
Above all one must recount her service to students, who then go on to become integral part of our community leadership. She taught a wide range of courses at all levels. She served as primary advisor to majors for many years. Her mentoring of students was recognized as exemplary.
This is combined with years of service to the German teaching community. She served in multiple capacities in the Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, including as executive board member.
Beyond Dr. Grossmann’s distinguished academic career, she has contributed greatly to the German-American effort. She served as Director of the German School for Children: Saturday morning enrichment program for children ages 3-12 to learn German language and culture. In fact, she has served as director since arriving at IUPUI in 1985. The school served between 30 and 40 children each semester.
Dr. Grossmann has served the Indiana German Heritage Society as Board Member and Co-Chair of the Education Committee. As part of that Committee, she has been coordinating the German-American Day Essay Contest for high school students, as well as a scholarship competition for high school students participating in sponsored programs abroad such as GAPP (German American Partnership Program) or I.U. Honors Program in Foreign Languages (Summer Program for Indiana High School students in Germany or Austria).
The Cologne-Indianapolis Sister City Program has benefitted from her work. Dr. Grossmann has been an active member of the committee almost since the inception of the Sister City relationship.
As Associate Director of the IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center she worked with other organizations such as the American Council on Germany to co-sponsor educational and community events on German and German-American issues.
Her academic activity connected with community work often. For example, she successfully submitted several grant applications for “German Campus Weeks” (educational programs for college students sponsored by the German Embassy), as well as co-authored the application for a series of events during the Deutschlandjahr 2018-2019 ("German-American Year of Friendship"). These events included highlighting the German culture of Indiana through lectures and events.
This again occurred when Dr. Grossmann coordinated summer internships in Mannheim for IUPUI students for 20 years and in turn placed German interns in Indianapolis during the same years (1990-2010). Her own family often acted as host family to the German interns during their two-month stay.
For all of these reasons and many others not listed, the Indiana German Heritage Society is proud to bestow on Dr. Claudia Grossmann the title Hoosier German-American of the Year 2021.