Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Getting Started

Well here we are in Perugia! After so many months of recruiting and enrolling students and planning our courses (and desperately studying Italian) we have finally moved into our Italian home on the via del Paradiso.

This year we have ten great students with us. Five are from SBU: Maggie Amend, Alex Bianco, Andrea D'Angelo, Charlie Dwailabe, and Brittany Lollier; and five are from Neumann College: Anthony Borda, Philip Borda, Samantha Clements, Heather McDermott and Teresa Marino. The SBU students are interested in international business, especially marketing, and we are looking forward to working with John Burke, a loyal Bona alum with extensive Italian business experience, who will join us in May. The Neumann students have already studied a little Italian. Sam, Heather and Teresa are education majors and will be studying special education with Judy this semester. (More on that in a moment.) All ten of these students will be taking my course: Contemporary Global Issues: The Franciscan Worldview.

Judy's course is called "Special Education: A Comparative Approach" and it combines the content of an introductory special ed course that focuses on American policies and practices, with a sampling of some unique Italian approaches to special ed, such as found in Arezzo and Emilia Reggio. She's also arranging for her students to tutor Italian children who are studying English.

My course combines a study of the lives and influence of Francis and Clare of Assisi with a special attention to their relevance to such issues as global poverty, interreligious conflict, particularly relations between Muslims and Christians, and environmental problems, especially global warming. Later this month, we'll be visiting Assisi, and when the weather improves we plan to visit La Verna and Montecasale.

I will post more details regarding these courses and other activities as they develop. (If I can figure out how to do it, I will post links to our course syllabi.) One of my ambitions is to get the students to contribute to creating a website that will report on the various global problems they will study, and provide resources for education and advocacy. When that comes on line I will provide the URL.

I hope you will continue to visit this site and post comments if you wish. I will be posting items about our experiences in and out of the classroom. There's already a lot to report, and not all academic! Stay tuned for photos and anecdotes that will give you a picture of life in Perugia for me and Judy and our students.

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