Lisa M. Merschel

Lisa M. Merschel

Senior Lecturer of Romance Studies

External address: 2122 Campus Drive, Box 90269, Durham, NC 27708-0269
Internal address: Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708-0257
Phone: (919) 684-8435

At Duke since 2001, I teach all levels of Spanish language courses in the Spanish Language Program, with Task-Based teaching, Second Language Acquisition, language technologies and machine translation's impact on writing in L2 being some of the areas that interest me professionally. Of particular interest of late is critical digital pedagogy and thinking about the intersection of pedagogy, technology and education. Some of the questions that interest me are:  How can we strive to make language classes and language learning more accessible to all?  How can we build community within the classroom? How can we move toward syllabi that are more collaborative and less contractual in nature? For inspiration, I frequently turn to Hybrid Pedagogy. This article on the Pedagogy of Kindness captures well how I approach teaching. That is, I believe students, and I believe in students.  In 2019-2020, I am working on the annotated instructor's edition for Proyectos, published by Difusión, with colleagues Joan Munné and Liliana Paredes. I have had the great pleasure of directing summer study abroad programs in Mexico and Spain in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017.

Here is a recent response I wrote in L2 Journal regarding learning a new language: "It's Just Like Learning to Swim."

In November 2019, I will present a webinar sponsored by AATSP and Difusión, with colleagues Liliana Paredes and Joan Munné, on the challenges of teaching culture in L2.

In summer 2019, after 5 weeks of daily class meetings, my colleagues and I accompanied 21 students for a 1-week immersion experience in Puebla, Mexico. I am very much looking forward to directing the Duke in Chile summer program in 2020, which focuses on learning culture through social and for-profit entrepreneurship in Latin America, and aims at developing students’ proficiency in Spanish through linguistic, social, and cultural immersion in Chile.

Courses I have taught are elementary, intermediate, advanced language and writing classes, with Medieval Spain being one of the highlights from the last few years. I enjoy teaching all levels, interacting with students and targeting my teaching toward the interests of my students. In Spring 2020, I will have the wonderful opportunity to teach a Tutorial on Advertising in Spanish, affiliated with Cultural Anthropology.

One of the mottos that I strive to live by is: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)


  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2003

  • B.A., Smith College 1993

Gente Intermedio Workbook. Prentice Hall.

Merschel, L. M. On the Bleeding Edge. Edited by Mark Pegrum, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Merschel, L. M., et al. “Meeting the Challenges of Machine Translation.” The Language Educator, vol. 8, ACTFL, Oct. 2013.

Merschel, L. M., et al. “Surveying the Landscape: What is the Role of Machine Translation in Language Learning?.” @Tic Revista D’Innovació Educativa, 2013.

Merschel, L. M. Life Amidst the Ashes: Irene’s Search for Meaning and Connection in María Flora Yáñez’s "Las cenizas". Edited by Eva Bueno and María Claudia André, McFarland, 2012.

Merschel, L. M. Jofré de Loaysa. 2010.

Merschel, L. M. Yáñez, Flora. Edited by María Claudia André and Eva Paulino Bueno, New York: Routledge, 2009.