Sandra Clevenger

Sandra Clevenger


  • MA (Spanish) Michigan State University 1974
  • PhD (Spanish) New York University 1987

After starting out at Calvin, I received a scholarship to finish my bachelor and master of arts in Spanish at Michigan State University. I started teaching at Calvin in 1975 in a very small Spanish Department. After teaching several years at Calvin I took time off to complete my PhD. at New York University. I did my course work in Spain and before finishing my degree, I met and spent some time with Carmen Martin Gaite in New York. It was she who suggested that I write on the theme of childhood in her works so that was what motivated me to write about childhood and adolescence in her fictional narratives.


  • Quilting. I have been quilting for some 25 years. I have been a member of the West Michigan Quilter's Guild and the Thornapple Country Quilter's quilt bee and have won prizes for some of my quilts. I have taught the Spanish Interim on quilting several times and will be doing it again in Jan. 2014.
  • I started at Calvin as a music major. I started to play the violin when I was very young but during my elementary school years changed to piano and flute. When I lived in Spain, Paco de Lucia was my neighbor so I tried a bit of guitar which I don’t play well but I have a beautiful hand crafted guitar which Paco’s dad helped me to purchase when I lived there. I like almost any kind of music.
  • I enjoy any type of crafting and have enjoyed sewing, knitting and crocheting.
  • I have acted in community theatre and am part of the drama team at my church.
  • I love spending time with my 4 year old pug Bebe, who accompanied me to Spain and was often the center of attention. We go out walking every day no matter how bad the weather is.
Spanish-speaking countries visited

I lived in Spain for several years, though not all at once. I lived in Madrid under Franco for a year and a half near the Plaza de España. I lived with a family and taught English at a language academy. My neighbors were Paco de Lucia's family and I would often go to bed to the sound of him practicing as there was the typical Spanish patio that connected all of the apartments. I later returned to Madrid and lived for a year near the Atocha train station when the new parliamentary government was being formed and another year when I was preparing for my doctoral exams. I also lived in Granada for two years and traveled all over Andalucia. I have led interims to Spain twice and to Mexico twice. I have visited Puerto Rico with my family. I directed the program in Oviedo, Spain during the spring semester of 2013 and I visit my daughter and her family in Denia, Spain periodically.

Additional information

My daughter Tracy lives in Denia, Spain with her husband Mauri and my grandson Eric. She used to work with the Calvin program in Spain when they were in Denia. My other daughter is now living with me along with my pug Bebe, my Persian cat Sasha and her dogs, Dude, Judah and Wicket (because she used to live in the country, so sometimes I feel like I live in a kennel).

Academic interests

  • Picaresque Novel
  • Contemporary Peninsular Literature
  • Spanish Civil War
  • Carmen Martin Gaite
  • Spanish Peninsular History
Recent activities
  • "History of American Quilting", Mother and Daughter Banquet, Christ Church, Oct. 27, 2012.
  • "Resistance under Franquism". Systems of Control/Modes of Resistance. 27th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference in the Humanities, University of West Georgia. November 1-3, 2012. Carrollton, Georgia.
  • Directed the program in Oviedo, Spain, Interim and Spring semester, 2013.
  • AP Testing Cincinnati, Ohio, June, 2013.
  • Scheduled presentation at the International Conference on Professions: "Using literature of the 21st century in the Spanish classroom: La felicidad es un  contigo". Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2013.


  • "Changes in Gender Roles in El cuarto de atrás”. Masculinities, Femininities and More – An Interdisciplinary Conference on Gender in the Humanities, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of West Georgia (23rd Annual Conference): November 6-8, 2008, Carrollton, Georgia.
  • "Erasmus, Martin Luther and the devil in El cuarto de atrás”. Annual NACFLA (NORTH AMERICAN CHRISTIAN FOREIGN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION) Conference, Point Loma Nazarene University, March 26-28, 2009.

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