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Steffen Kaupp

Steffen Kaupp smiles for a photo.

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Ph.D. Candidate (Adviser: Priscilla Layne)
German Studies


Steffen Kaupp joined the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies in 2010. During his time as a Ph.D. student, Kaupp has taught three courses at Duke, including “Rivalrous Masculinities—Images of the Male Body over Time,” a course that he co-designed and co-taught with fellow graduate student Christian Straubhaar and Professor Emerita Ann Marie Rasmussen, the person who envisioned, initiated, and implemented the German studies graduate program. In that course, students curated a virtual exhibition focusing on changing images of masculinity from the Middle Ages to the present.

Kaupp has also taught three courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a semester course and a summer course for the Duke in Berlin program. Since 2015, he has been a faculty member at the Middlebury Language Schools, a seven-week immersion program in Vermont where he teaches beginning and intermediate German. Before coming to Duke, Kaupp taught at the University of Konstanz in Germany and St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Kaupp is currently a Duke Graduate School Administrative Intern. In 2015, he won the German Department’s Frank Borchardt Teaching Award and a fellowship in the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge at Duke’s John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. He is also a participant in The Graduate School’s Preparing Future Faculty program.



“As a native speaker, you really don’t think about how your own language works before you start teaching it. So one thing I constantly challenge myself to improve on is to look at German grammar through the eyes of my American students. … I want my students to come to me to talk to me about what’s going well, what’s not going well. I often do individual meetings with students where they address challenges. And I really take student evaluations very seriously to understand where am I meeting them, where do they need me to be, and where am I falling short of that.”

On what the DEAL is


On using tech to maximize time with students



Excerpts from Kaupp’s Nominations

“His classroom presents itself as a pleasant but at the same time performance-oriented space, which particularly is inspired by his style of communication and motivational skills. He takes a respectful and appreciative tone with his students and achieves a strong measure of acceptance.”

“Co-teaching with him for one semester showed me that he is an engaging, well-­prepared, thoughtful, dynamic, and inspiring teacher. Steffen was both alert to the smallest detail and always aware of the big picture.”

“Kaupp’s dedication to his students and his joy in teaching is evident to all who meet him. He is regarded by faculty and fellow students alike as a model, and students often turn to him for advice on teaching matters.”

“Steffen is one of the most innovative and quick problem-solvers I have ever met. He is also one of CDG’s most versatile, well-rounded, and well-connected graduate students and he continually draws on his connections and this knowledge in his teaching and on behalf of his students.”


List of 2016 Dean's Award recipients