Faculty of the Year: Jim Lavine


Maddie Hamilton, Photography Editor / The Bucknellian

Jaxon White, Editor in Chief

Professor Jim Lavine, Linguistics and Russian Studies, has been awarded The Bucknellian’s Faculty of the Year Award, after being nominated by the student body. 

As a member of Bucknell’s faculty since the fall semester of 2001, Lavine has taught a number of courses; including Introduction to Linguistics, all levels of the Russian language courses and the Language Creation Foundational Seminar. He is also in the process of completing his second 4-year term as a Posse Mentor. 

He said his favorite memories at Bucknell include “forming relationships with my awesome Posse students and good times in my Advanced Syntax seminars.” 

Siobhan O’Sullivan ‘24 took Lavine’s  Russian 102 course, and said he was “truly an excellent professor, probably the best I’ve ever had at Bucknell.” 

When Lavine isn’t trying to jokingly force his students to take Russian courses, he said he tries his best to “listen and laugh” with them to develop their relationship and foster a positive learning community. 

“He really knows his stuff and it is obvious that he cares about his students,” O’Sullivan said. “Even though he teaches some challenging material, he makes class understandable and fun.” 

In and out of the classroom, Lavine embodies what it means to be a linguistic scholar. He researches the “development of syntactic theory” based on Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian, and Icelandic data. 

His research also recently included “‘defective syntax,’ ‘edge phenomena,’ ‘agnostic movement,’ impersonal constructions in Russian and Icelandic, ‘pain verbs’ in Lithuanian, ‘non-passive passives’ in Ukrainian, and ‘active passives’ in Polish.” 

Lavine said he even enjoys continuing his study of languages when he isn’t on campus, but he also enjoys spending time with his daughter. 

I study any foreign language on my own (lately, Hebrew) and watch teen dramas on TV with my daughter,” he said, in an email. 

Before he retires from higher education, Lavine said he hopes to live and learn while on sabbatical in a post-war Ukraine. 

Lavine studied towards his Master’s Degree at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University in 1992 and earned his Ph.D. in Program in Linguistics & Department of Slavic Languages from Princeton University in 2000. 

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