BA in Italian added to undergraduate list of degrees

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ROME, ITALY - JUNE 7: View of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Photo by Anthony Mazur.

On February 26, the Department of Modern Languages received a letter from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) approving a Bachelor of Arts in Italian program.

The University of Dallas has been sending students to study abroad in Italy since 1970, and has had its sister campus at Due Santi for nearly 14 years. From TGIT to the Cap Bar, there is no doubt that students have returned with unchecked  luggage: Italian culture.

However, while the rich exchange of culture occurred, UD has lacked an Italian major; that is until recently.

The Department of Education supported organization, SACSCOC, certifies that institutions are able to provide quality education through the institutions’ available resources and implementation of specific degree plans. SACSCOC is responsible for institutions in ten southern states, including Texas, Virginia and Alabama, as well as in Latin America.

In the letter, Dr. Kevin W. Sightler, director of Substantive Change, confirmed the proposed major and stated that the addition would come without problems  because of UD’s existing concentration and resources.

Dr. Anthony Nussmeier, the assistant professor of Italian behind the proposal, discussed the approval process, possible future courses and the importance of Italian.

According to Nussmeier, the Italian major was approved by the Faculty Senate last September, but would have been approved sooner if the discussion about the new college had not taken priority. Still, because Italian culture and language is deeply involved in multiple courses currently offered at UD, the major passed almost unanimously.

Nussmeier also stated that additional courses such as Italian Film, Italian Cities Across the Disciplines and Italian Poetry, would be created in order to satisfy the major’s credit requirements.

“Italian is the most beautiful language that exists and that is spoken today,” said Nussmeier.  

“There is no doubt that its mellifluousness trumps every other language out there. So, from that perspective, the aesthetic perspective, Italian should be studied for its intrinsic beauty.”  

Despite being a recent addition, the Italian major has already enticed two students into majoring.

Marlena Figge, a sophomore Italian major, was the first person to sign and is currently studying abroad.

“Italian was the first class I had at UD, and it’s what really made me feel at home there. I’d been to Rome before coming to UD and had fallen in love with Italy,” Figge wrote in an email. “Language is an intrinsic part of the structure of any society, and studying language gives a deeper appreciation of the power of words and insight into particular cultures. I think the Italian language has a certain spirit befitting a rather expressive people, and it’s been woven into some of the most beautiful examples of verse and literature.”

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