Dr. Kevin Murphy - Director
A native of Liverpool, Kevin Murphy has been Director of the University of New Haven's Tuscany Campus in Prato since its foundation in 2012. He brings more than 15 years of experience in international education as an instructor and director in the UK and Italy. He has taught courses and seminars in Italian Art History at many North American programs in Italy (such as Syracuse, Florida State, Gonzaga, Kent State), and for many years was Director of the Art History department at the British Institute of Florence. Before taking up his position in Prato, Kevin was Academic Dean and Campus Director of the CEA Global Education Programs in Rome and Florence.
Kevin is active in the field of international education, and has presented sessions and workshops at conferences in Europe and the US, focused particularly on aspects of intercultural competence, experiential learning and the relationship between international study and careers. He is a member of the National Society for Experiential Education, from which he received his Experiential Education Academy Certificate of Completion in 2012. He is currently Chair of SAFSA (Study Abroad and Foreign Students Advisers), a professional section of the EAIE (European Association for International Education).
In 1997 he earned his PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London, UK and has published on Italian Renaissance art and patronage. Kevin also teaches the course ‘Art & Science in Renaissance Italy’ at the Tuscany Campus.
“My courses are structured to give students the chance to engage in field trips to museums and galleries in Prato and Florence to see the things and places we are talking about, and hands-on activities such as mapping and drawing to help bring the material alive.”
Lara Pugi- Program Coordinator
Lara worked for many years for Italian and international firms before becoming the Prato Program Coordinator. A native of Florence, she graduated from the University of Florence with a degree in Media and Journalism.
Dr. Piero Ianniello – Italian Language Instructor
In my Italian language classes I try to adopt an inductive method. In this way language acquisition happens when we forget about learning a language and just use it to achieve other goals. Consequently, I propose activities in which the students need language to communicate content instead of worrying about their own performance. Knowing the language is not the end but the means through which a goal is achieved, effectively reproducing a spontaneous situation outside of class.
I hold to Naom Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device theory, according to which a part of our brain is dedicated to language acquisition, just as birds have wings to fly and all animals have eyes to see. The language professor is not the possessor of some knowledge that students need to absorb passively, but rather directs students' potential. I like to tell my students that I am like a sport trainer, and they are the players. Exams are our matches. The opponent is not Italian language, but the embarrassment that prevents students from speaking it!
Teaching has always been my passion. Besides my courses at the Tuscany Campus of the University of New Haven (where I have worked since 2012) I have taught Italian language and culture at Vanderbilt University, Smith College and the Istituto Machiavelli, and I have also taught courses to Chinese people living in Prato. All these experiences have enriched my life both professionally and personally.
I am originally from Cassino, a small town near Rome, sadly known for having been destroyed during WWII. In 1996 I moved to Prato and graduated in Foreign Languages and Literature (English and French) at the University of Florence. My dissertation on the American writer A. B. Guthrie is now owned by the University of Montana. In 2010 I received a Master’s degree in teaching Italian language and culture to foreign students, which of course added professional awareness to my work, enhanced my enthusiasm and gave me new inspiration for my courses.
I am a freelance journalist, professional trainer and creative writer, a passion for which I have been awarded several prizes. Among my publications are a number of short stories, some essays on local history and Via della Cina, a novel set in Prato published in December 2012.
My hobbies include music (I’ve been trying to learn how to play the guitar for about 20 years!), trekking, and travelling to non-touristic countries. I am also involved in groups promoting sustainable food and green living.