Visiting Associate Professor in the Valpo CORE

ASB 260



  • Ph.D. in German Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001
  • M.A. in German Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994
  • B.A. magna cum laude in German, St. Olaf College, 1991

Curriculum Vitae


Professor Bjornstad joined the VU faculty in 2001. She teaches the full range of German courses, from German 101 through the Senior Seminar; she especially enjoys figuring out new ways to help her students increase their language proficiency: “I love it when I hit on a classroom activity or homework assignment that really helps students make quick progress toward their language-learning goals.”

Professor Bjornstad’s research interests include 20th century German prose fiction and the teaching of German. She is especially interested in texts with multiple endings, sets of texts that are versions of a single story, and texts that explore important ethical issues. She is an avid reader in both German and English.


“Observations in the Woods: The Role of the Implied Viewer in Trina Schart Hyman’s and Lisbeth Zwerger’s Versions of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Submitted to Children’s Literature.

“A Postcard Autobiography: Jurek Becker’s Unnarrated Response to the Holocaust.” Narrative, October 2015.

“Der? Die? Das? Easing the Struggle to Learn Definite Articles in German.” Die Unterrichtspraxis. Spring 2014.

“From East Berlin to Hollywood: Literary Resistance in Jurek Becker’s Jakob der Lügner.” The Journal of the M/MLA. Spring 2008.

“‘Damit der liebe Gott weiterschaukeln kann’: The Psalms of Bertolt Brecht,” Brecht Jahrbuch: Young Mr. Brecht Becomes a Writer, Volume 31, 2006.

“A First-Day Realia Activity: ‘Was ist in dem Umschlag?’Die Unterrichtspraxis, Fall 2004.

Review of Ethics and Remembrance in the Poetry of Nelly Sachs and Rose Ausländer by Kathrin M. Bower, Monatshefte, Summer 2002.

“Using Group Role-Play to Test Speaking: Setting Up a Wohngemeinschaft,” Die Unterrichtspraxis, Spring 2001 (with Julia Karolle).


  • Modern Language Association
  • American Association of Teachers of German
  • Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association
  • The International Society for the Study of Narrative


Distinguished Teaching Award Nomination
Valparaiso University

Summer Research Fellowship
Valparaiso University

Summer Research Fellowship
Valparaiso University

University Dissertation Fellowship
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Suhrkamp Fellowship
Washington University

Fulbright Teaching Assistantship
Gymnasium Petrinum

Phi Beta Kappa
St. Olaf College


Professor Bjornstad is married; she and her husband have a son who attends St. Olaf College. Each June, her family travels to Governor Dodge State Park in Wisconsin for a two-week camping trip. When she’s not teaching, Professor Bjornstad loves to hike, work in the vegetable garden, sing, bake cookies, and play board games.

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