Students at West Virginia University can now continue their study of Italian beyond the traditional language courses with the creation of an Italian Studies minor.

The minor is designed to teach students about the culture and history of Italy and Italian Americans, and may eventually lead to opportunities for students to teach Italian in the public schools in West Virginia. The Italian Studies minor now qualifies University faculty to submit proposals for federal grants dedicated to the teaching of less commonly taught languages in the nation’s public schools.

The new minor is an interdisciplinary initiative managed by the Department of Foreign Languages in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, with additional course support from the department of history and the art history unit of the College of Creative Arts.

The minor was created because of significant student interest in Italian Studies, Eberly College officials note. Italian grammar classes have been well enrolled, and two Italian oriented student organizations on the WVU campus have sprung up over the past two years. In addition, strong community and alumni interest in Italian Studies exists through numerous activities co sponsored by the Committee for the Preservation of Italian American History and Culture and the Eberly College.

Italian Studies minors will be expected to complete course work focusing on not only the Italian language, but the rich heritage of literature, art history, civilization, history of the Italian peninsula and Italians abroad.

M. Duane Nellis, dean of the Eberly College, noted,”There has been a tremendous amount of intent expressed in creating this special opportunity in Italian Studies at West Virginia University. We are pleased to add this new emphasis to our international offerings.”

Annastella Vester, Italian Studies coordinator, added,”This minor is a tribute to the Italian American community, an important part of the heritage of the state of West Virginia.”

The minor consists of 15 credit hours beyond the prerequisite course Italian 204, the fourth semester of Italian language courses. Of the 15 hours, at least 9 must be upper division level.

For more information contact the Department of Foreign Languages at 304-293-5121 or Dr. Vester at Annastella.vester@mail.wvu.edu .