Godoreccis foster growth in UA Italian department: Barbara bridges Italy, United StatesBy Tatum Roessler | 01/08/2015 1:09am
Barbara Godorecci and her husband Maurizio were hired in the 1990s to create and implement the Italian progrm. The program went from a few courses to now offering a minor for students in addition to graduate classes.
“Their collaboration is quite productive and works perfectly, as they perfectly complement each other in their philosophy and style of teaching,” said Gabriella Merriman, an instructor in the Italian department who has worked alongside the couple for over 15 years.
While Barbara Godorecci was studying abroad in Bologna, Italy, during her undergraduate studies at Queens College in New York, she met her husband, also a Queens College student studying abroad. Since then, the two have been together and worked together.
Barbara Godorecci said she knew she wanted to become a college educator during her undergraduate years. She and her husband both continued their graduate studies at Queens College.
“Our graduate studies opened up a path to teaching at the university level, and it has been a very rich and interesting experience,” Barbara Godorecci said.
Barbara Godorecci and her husband have not done any team teaching, even though both of them instruct classes in the Italian department as well as classes through the Blount Undergraduate Initiative and the Hudson Strode program in Renaissance studies.
Still, the two sometimes collaborate on curriculum and discuss their courses, students and research together.
“It’s constant [conversation] from our research to our teaching,” Barbara Godorecci said. “You’re living with the person, so sometimes we brainstorm and recount our experiences. Over the years we both may see the same student, and over the years we can watch and see them growing up with the language, and that’s really wonderful.”
Barbara Godorecci and her husband often travel to Europe and Italy to visit universities the Italian program is partnered with.
“With every trip we realize how much we change,” Maurizio Godorecci said. “Traveling to Italy in particular has been for us both a pleasure and a necessity, since studying and teaching Italian language and culture is what we do at [the University].”
Both have published works, and Barbara Godorecci has collaborated with her husband on a collection of poems he wrote, “Tra li fijeume/Between Rivers.” She also wrote the foreword for another one of his poetry collections, “Celebración de la Poesía Italo-Guatemalteca,” which features several Guatemalan and Italian poets. The book was published in a bilingual Spanish-Italian edition.
“That was really an interesting project to work on, especially as a larger group,” Barbara Godorecci said. “We had many interesting, intense discussions about how to render certain things in translating the languages.”
Recently, Barbara Godorreci published her own book of poems about growing up in New York City, and Maurizio Godorecci said he is glad they can share their ideas and passions.
“I enjoy that we have the constant opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions together,” Maurizio Godorecci said. “Our intellectual interests are part of our daily life.”
The program started out with just the Godoreccis teaching all of the Italian courses. Now the program has one additional tenured professor and two instructors.
Under the Godoreccis, the Italian program has grown from an average of 50 students enrolling every semester in the 1990s to 550 to 600 students enrolling every semester now.