Susan M. Gass

Susan Mary  Gass
  • University Distinguished Professor
  • Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages
  • English Language Center


Susan M. Gass is a University Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts & Letters. Her appointment is in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages where she specializes in second language studies. Her research is concerned with how second language learners are learned, focusing on the linguistic and psycholinguistic characteristics that help understand what second language learners know about their second language and how that knowledge comes to be. She joined MSU in 1987.

Gass received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, her M.A. from UCLA, and her Ph.D. from Indiana University. Prior to joining MSU, she spent eight years in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.

At MSU she has held numerous administrative positions including chair of Romance and Classical Studies (2010-2011) and of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages (2013-2015).  She also served as director of the Second Language Studies Program (2005-2017) and since 2007, as co-director of the Center for Language Teaching Advancement at MSU. Since 1990 she has directed the English Language Center. In addition to her leadership positions at MSU, she has also served as president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics and as president of the International Association of Applied Linguistics. She has served on numerous journal editorial boards in her field, as Associate Editor and currently Co-Editor of Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Gass is the recipient of numerous awards at MSU, nationally, and internationally for her research and service to the field. She has authored/edited and/or co-authored/edited nearly 50 books, and authored/co-authored more than 150 articles. Her co-authored book Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course was first published in 1994 with translations appearing in Arabic, Chinese, and Korean is a classic text in the field.