By Michael P Garrett
KU is one of only 34 U.S. public institutions in the Association of American Universities, a nonprofit association that focuses on fostering research at both public and private universities.
Research is a staple to the University. According to the 2011 annual survey from the National Science Foundation, KU ranked 41st among national public research universities in federally funded research expenditures.
KU loves bragging about its research prestige, especially since no other school comes close in the state of Kansas. All of that is great, but do those statistics mean anything to students? Chances are they don’t, especially since the vast majority of undergraduate students don’t conduct research.
Students can look up facts and figures on the Internet; it isn’t that hard, that’s exactly where I found all these statistics for this article. What students can’t find out on the Internet is the essence of the person behind the research and what they are trying to accomplish through their investigations.
Veronica Garibotto heard about KU three years ago at a yearly convention where universities can recruit faculty members. There was an opening to teach and conduct research in her specialization within the department of Spanish and Portuguese.
After submitting her application and interviewing with KU, she got the job as an assistant professor, researching and teaching about Latin American literature.
She originally earned her “Licenciatura en Letras” or Bachelor of Arts, with a specialization in literature from the University of Buenos Aires.
She also spent some time teaching literature, film and grammar at Queen’s University in Canada.
In the fall of 2010, with a PhD in hand from the University of Pittsburgh, Garibotto was on her way to Lawrence, Kan.
Kansas is a long way from her home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but she loves Lawrence and working for KU. Within the Spanish department, Garibotto focuses on the connection of culture, history and politics in the Southern Cone. The Southern Cone is a region of South America made up of Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
She is currently working on getting tenure, which for her consists of writing one book and about eight or nine academic articles in a five or six year span, teaching courses within the Spanish department and conducting service to the University.
Garibotto has already completed one book and is currently working on another. Her first book “Crisis and Reemergence: The Nineteenth Century in Contemporary Southern Cone Fiction,” won the 2013 Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies Book Publication Award. This book will be published by Purdue University press and is written in Spanish.
As a native speaker, she enjoys writing in Spanish much more than in English because she thinks she can be more creative with things such as word choice and connotation.
“I like the Spanish language much better, it’s much more beautiful, much richer,” Garibotto said.
Even though she enjoys the Spanish language, she thinks she is a faster writer in English.
“I think sometimes I write a little bit faster in English because I basically have one option,” Garibotto said. “There is one word I know in order to say this, but in Spanish I know about five ways to say this.”
This semester Garibotto is on research leave from teaching, allowing all her attention to be put on writing her next book, which will focus on the testimonials in Southern Cone cinema. This book will be written in English.
When possible, she tries to focus her classes on teaching students the things she is researching for her articles and books. Spanish 462, a literature class taught by Garibotto, focuses on twentieth-century literature, film and theater in the Southern Cone.
Garibotto said having this semester off has been nice to focus on writing her book. Although publishing works and conducting research is required for tenure, she doesn’t mind because it is what she really enjoys doing.
“For me, because I really like what I do, I don’t feel like I’m doing it because I want to get tenure,” Garibotto said. “But because I really enjoy it.”
Next semester Garibotto will be teaching a graduate level course on literary theory and an undergraduate grammar class.
Her second book is scheduled to be finished in a few years.