The Italian Language Faculty at CCSU
Professor Maria C. Passaro
Maria Passaro, Professor of Italian, received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the Graduate School and University Center of New York in 1987. She taught at CUNY, at Fordham University, and has been teaching Italian Language and Literature at CCSU since 1989. She has received Academic Honors from NEH, Agnelli Foundation, NIAF, Fulbright. She was the recipient of the "Excellence in Teaching Award" at CCSU (1994), was nominated for CASE (1995), was awarded a Yale/Mellon grant (1996), was the recipient of three CCSU/AAUP grants (2000, 2001, 2002), was nominated for CSU Professor (2002), received from the Modern Language Association of America " The Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies" (2004), "The Ambasciatore Award" (2009), and the CCSU Service Award (2010).
She is the author of several short plays and translator of Longfellow's Michael Angelo, Tusiani's Gente Mia and Other Poems, Rind and All, The Fifth Season, and Tasso's King Torrismondo (Fordham University Press, 1997) and Rhymes of Love (NY: Legas, 2011). She is the author of Representation of Women in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Texts (The Edwin Mellen, 2005), an editor and translator of Selected Writings of Girolamo Savonarola: Religion and Politics 1490-1498 (Yale University Press, 2006), contributed three essays to the Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies (2006), and an essay to Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine (Oxford University Press, 2012). She has conducted scholarly research on the Middle Ages and Renaissance and has lectured in several Universities in the US and Europe. Her critical essays, poems, translations, and other creative works have been published in national and international scholarly journals. Since Summer 1995, she has led groups of students to Urbino, Perugia, Siracusa, Roma, Firenze, Milano, and other Italian cities.
Professor Carmela Pesca
Carmela Pesca, Professor of Italian, received the Laurea in Sociology from the University of Salerno, Italy, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian Literature from the University of Connecticut. Before teaching at Central Connecticut State University, she taught Italian in Mexico, Venezuela and, in the U.S., at the University of Connecticut and Trinity College, where she also taught Spanish. She has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses of Italian language, literature and culture at CCSU since 1995. Since 2006, she is the Assistant Chair of the Modern Language Department.
Her many research interests include medieval, Renaissance, baroque and contemporary Italian literature, film studies, women studies, intercultural communication and language acquisition. She published the book La cittą maschera, a study on the image of the city in Renaissance comic theatre, and is the author of several articles on Dante, Pirandello, Renaissance literature, Italian culture and society, as well as methodology of language teaching, published in the U.S., Italy, England, Cuba and Australia. She has presented numerous scholarly papers, lectures, seminars and workshops at national and international conferences. Dr. Pesca participated in the development of national AP exams in Italian language and culture, and in world language portfolio assessment for the Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) program of the CT Board of Education. She is a certified Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) tester in Italian for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) since 2005.
Prof. Carmela Pesca is the Director of the Italian Resource Center at CCSU, and the academic liaison for the University for Foreigners of Perugia, Italy. In support of language education, she has established collaboration with institutions based in Connecticut, New York and Boston. Her activities include the organization of conferences for language teachers and programs dealing with professional development, study abroad, international education, West European studies, Oral History, and community engagement. She was the recipient of the 2008 Best of Connecticut Award of the Council of Language Teachers (CT COLT). For her contributions to the teaching of Italian language, culture and literature, Prof. Carmela Pesca was conferred the honorific title of Knight of the Italian Republic in 2007.
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