The College of Staten Island (CSI) has launched a new Bachelor of Arts degree program in Italian Studies. The new undergraduate program was created to address the needs of the students and the Staten Island community. The degree has two distinct tracks: Italian Studies and a second track that includes NY State adolescence education certification.

Why Italian Studies at CSI?
Dr. Jane Marcus-Delgado, chair of Modern Languages at CSI states, “A major in Italian Studies is an important addition to the College’s curriculum, both for its academic significance and for its recognition of the importance of Italy and the Italian American community in our globalized society. This exciting new program goes beyond the study of Italian language and literature, providing an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses such areas as the history of Italy, its philosophy, architecture, art, culture, and politics.”

Most importantly, stresses Marcus-Delgado, Staten Island (Richmond County) is the county with the highest concentration of residents of Italian heritage in New York. Italy and Italian Americans are not only important globally, but have also played a critical role in creating the rich, unique, and vibrant culture of Staten Island. “Our Italian Studies major clearly recognizes the valuable relationships that have always existed among the community, the College, and CUNY and serves as an intellectual home for strengthening these ties,” she notes.

What can an Italian Studies student do after graduation?Many students will pursue a career in teaching Italian at the middle to high school level [GU1] . Others will benefit from taking Italian Studies as a second major, as it works particularly well in tandem with fields such as International Business, International Studies, Social Work, and Psychology, as well as other disciplines in the liberal arts.

“There are a lot of relevant jobs available for a graduate with this degree, ranging from teacher to museum curator to businessperson in imports and exports — from cars to food and wine and fashion,” comments Marcus-Delgado. She adds that some Italian language students have already completed internships, through other majors, in businesses that are either based in or do business with Italy.

The new Italian Studies major complements the Modern Languages Department’s dedication to providing a rich portfolio of courses and programs that embrace a multicultural world, having recently added Chinese and Arabic to its offerings in French, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

For more information about the Italian Studies Major at CSI, visit the CSI Undergraduate Catalog. You may also visit the Department of Modern Languages Website.

Two events celebrate Italian Heritage and the launch of the Italian Studies major
One event is a party and celebration on October 7 sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. It includes a WSIA DJ playing Italian and English language music, free gelato, and information tables hosted by the Department of Modern Languages, The Center for International Service, and the Career and Scholarship Center, and a raffle of Italian gifts. Students wishing to get CLUE credit can take a quiz on Italy after reviewing the informational posters made by the 400 CSI students currently enrolled in Italian.

The second celebratory event is “Celebrating Italian Culture” at the Tuscan Garden at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, on October 16, 2010.

Other events include a performance by DisCanto, a presentation by Distinguished Professor Dr. Fred Gardaphe of English and Italian American Studies at Queens College entitled “Is Moustache Pete Dead? The Power of Italian American Oral Tradition,” and a “Meet the Professors” information session. View the Italian Heritage Events calendar on CSI Today for a complete list of activities and event details.

By Carlo Alaimo