Italian Diaspora Studies

On being accepted to the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute’s
Italian Diaspora Studies Summer School

by Nancy Genova, Lecturer
Behavioral and Social Sciences


A few weeks ago the Provost sent out a school wide email encouraging faculty to apply for John D. Calandra Italian American Institute’s Italian Diaspora Studies Summer School. My curiosity took me to the Institute’s website. Imagine my surprise when I learned the studies would take place at Calabria Italy. This is the birth place of my paternal grandfather, (I am of Italian and Puerto Rican decent). I am filled with gratitude to have had my application accepted.  As I learned more about the course work this summer I began brainstorming on how I could incorporate the course material into the development of a curriculum for one of my Public Administration courses.

When I prepare curriculum for my Public Administration courses I rely on the immigration history of the United States to provide a thread that the students can relate to. In the book, How Learning Works/ 7 Research-Based Principals for Smart Teaching the authors who are all faculty at The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University argue that “in order to develop mastery students must acquire a set of component skills, practice combining and integrating these components to develop greater fluency and automaticity, and then understand the conditions and context in which they can apply what they have learned.” I am committed to navigating my students through this process and will use my time at Calabria University to develop curriculum for my students that will help navigate them through policy development in New York City with the immigration of Italians and the impact it had on those policies.

The curriculum can lend itself to become a model that helps students achieve mastery in field of public administration. During our current political climate our students need to be encouraged that they have the ability to be agents of social change. Studies in public administration prepare you for government and/or non profit employment one of our learning outcomes is to ensure that our students become knowledgeable of public administration; concepts and principles which include immigration. In the process of teaching them to communicate clearly and think critically about the role of public administration in a democratic society whose primary concern should be public interest, it is important to tie these complex ideas to a thread they can identify with like immigration. I am hopeful that my time at Calabria University will help inform the development of the course that will help yield better student learning outcomes along with an awareness that global citizenship includes; working ethnically, appreciating & understanding differences, so they can work effectively in the local and global community.

I am appreciative of how enthusiastic and supportive my colleagues in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences have been not just now but since my arrival in 2014. I also appreciate all the development opportunities that are provided by CUNY and Hostos.


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