Polish American Congress Michigan Division

11333 Joseph Campau

Hamtramck, MI 48212



Dear President Andrews-Espy,

It has come to our attention that an offer, made by the Kosciuszko Foundation and Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (known as NAWA), to fund a full time Polish lectureship at Wayne State University, was rejected. The offered funds would pay for a full-time Polish lectureship for the 20224/2025 academic year. Discussions in this matter were initiated in the fall of 2022. At that time, the chair of the CMLLC Department, Prof. Vanessa DeGifis, backed the project.

As president of Polish American Congress-Michigan Division, an 80- year-old representative organization of the Michigan Polish American community, I have occasion to voice concerns on behalf of Michigan’s Polish Americans (numbering 800,000). Today I write to express our disappointment about the decision made by WSU in this matter and to fervently appeal to the university administration to seriously reconsider the offer.

We are proud of WSU’s long tradition of teaching the Polish language and maintaining a vibrant language and cultural program showcasing Polish, as well as other Slavic languages, from which hundreds of WSU students benefitted, as far back as the 1940’s.  It was a respected program known by the Polish American community as well as the area community at large. It has such a proud legacy.

In more recent years, Polish Studies, as part of the Slavic Studies program, offered students a variety of educational experiences beyond the classroom as well, such as study abroad trips, on campus cultural events, panel discussions, film screenings, and various workshops. These efforts not only educated students about Poland, but about other Slavic and European countries. We would be saddened to see such valuable experiences not continue.   We were heartened, however, with the recent response of past Polish students, who recently organized an on-line petition to support the plan to reinstate a full-time lectureship in Polish. The enthusiastic response to the petition is a testament to earlier achievements and continued interest in the WSU Polish Studies program.

Furthermore, allowing the opportunity for a full-time lectureship in Polish by an experienced NAWA lecturer, would also greatly enhance the university’s Slavic and Global Studies Programs. With today’s geo-political situation in Eastern Europe, a full time Polish Studies lectureship could provide better exposure and a deeper understanding to students and the campus community, by teaching not only the language and culture, but also by sharing current perspectives about that part of the world.

The financial commitment made by these two institutions would have alleviated a financial burden which normally would have fallen on WSU.  By not only satisfying the financial aspect, Kosciuszko Foundation and NAWA would be available to build a closer relationship with WSU and the student body, offering scholarships, sponsoring informative campus events and study abroad opportunities.

We believe that investment in a full-time lectureship would ensure the program’s continuation, enrich university course offerings, and even allow opportunities for expansion. We see it as an asset for WSU, its diverse campus community, and the larger community of the state of Michigan.

Polish American Congress is ready to promote the proposed WSU Polish program among high school students, parents, local language schools’ teachers, youth program leaders and our community’s various media to encourage its development and sustainability.

Therefore, on behalf of the Board and membership of Polish American Congress, and the Michigan Polish American community, I respectfully make an appeal to you to reconsider the offer being made by Kosciuszko Foundation and NAWRA to institute a full-time Polish lectureship, thus increasing and enhancing learning and enrichment opportunities at Wayne State University.


Ann Bankowski, President

Polish American Congress-Michigan



WSU Provost Laurie Lauzon-Clabo

CLAS Dean Stephanie Hartwell