DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Marie-Christine Koop, professor of French in the University of North Texas' Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, has received the medal of the Ordre des Francophones d'Amérique from Quebec's Superior Council of the French Language.
Awarded annually since 1978 and conferred by the Prime Minister of Quebec, the distinction recognizes the merits of individuals who are dedicated to developing and maintaining the French language in North America or who have given their support to the development of French life in the Americas.
Koop received the medal during a ceremony held Sept. 25 at the National Assembly building in Quebec City that was attended by two State Secretaries for Quebec and several other government officials, and the city's American Consul.
A member of the UNT faculty since 1990, Koop was previously named a Knight and also an Officer in the Order of Academic Palms by the French Ministry of Education. The order, created in 1808 by Napoléon I, bestows three ranks -- Knight, Officer and Commander-- on French nationals and foreigners who make major contributions to French national education, as well as French nationals living outside of France who make major contributions to the expansion of French culture in the rest of the world. Koop was named a Knight in 1994 and an Officer in 2008.
She served as department chair from 2004-2012 and continues to direct the department's French Summer Institute, which allows French teachers and others who cannot attend classes during the fall and spring semesters to complete a master's degree over three to five summers.
Koop has regularly led study-abroad trips. She directed a trip to Paris and Cannes for the entire spring 2014 semester for undergraduate students -- the only faculty-led trip at UNT for an entire semester. She has also taken graduate students to Quebec; Geneva, Switzerland and Liège, Belgium; Le Havre, France; and Paris. For 10 years, Koop directed the department's French Co-op Exchange Program. The program gives students who are majoring or minoring in French opportunities to study at universities in Caen and Tours, France, for a semester or an academic year, or to work in paid teaching positions for an academic year at the university in Tours.
Koop is the past vice president of the North America Commission of the Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Français and a member of the FIPF Executive Council. She is also the past president of the American Association of Teachers of French and was named a Life Honorary Member of the association in 2011. Her awards from UNT include the 2013 President's Council University Service award, the 2003 J.H. Shelton Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1997 Citation for Distinguished Service in International Education.
Koop specializes in French culture and civilization and has published many articles on contemporary France and Quebec, focusing on the educational system, women's issues and immigration. She has presented papers at many national and international professional conferences.
She holds undergraduate degrees from the Université de Provence and the Teachers' Training Center, both in Aix-en-Provence, France; a master's degree from the State University of New York at Albany; and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University. Michigan State honored her with the Joon S. Moon Distinguished International Alumni Award in 2013.