Learning Goals for Italian Major

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Skills: Upon completion of the Italian major, students will be able to communicate effectively, clearly and cohesively in both written and oral discourse. They will have developed modes of analysis and ways of critical, interpretive, and creative thinking that may be applied to a variety of career paths.

Knowledge: Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of major Italian literary texts, the contexts in which they were written, and the perspectives they represent.

Dispositions: Students will be prepared to respect difference and diversity both in the context of their own culture and globally. They will be able to develop an intellectual engagement and reflective sensibility that will contribute to their life-long learning.

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Learning Outcome and Assessment Chart (pdf)



Students will be able to understand spoken language, even when delivered at native-level speed. They will be able to comprehend a range of recorded audiovisual materials in Italian (film, television, online media, etc.), including those with idiomatic usage, to follow propositionally abstract and linguistically complex lines of argument, and to synthesize and paraphrase the ideas and details of extended speech and academic lectures.


Students will be able to understand complex and/or extended literary works in Italian from all periods and genres. They will be able to consider intention and effect from the perspectives of the author, the text, and the reader, to discern finer points, allusions, irony and other nuances in meaning, and to relate formal aspects of the text to its theme.


Students will be able to express themselves clearly, accurately and effectively in a variety of communicative contexts and situations. They will be able to sustain an advanced level of spoken interaction with native speakers in academic, professional and informal settings; to prepare and deliver well-organized, logical oral presentations; to formulate and support ideas and opinions, and to respond to complex lines of reasoning.


Students will be able to write clearly, precisely, and cohesively using the disciplinary conventions and methodologies that constitute effective literary analysis. They will be able to frame and sustain an argument that includes both the exposition and analysis of information; to demonstrate competence, fluency and clarity of expression, with minimal interference from English, and with a good range of vocabulary and syntax. They will be able to incorporate a wide range of expressions and rhetorical forms in their written work (persuasion, etc.) with attention to register and finer shades of meaning.

Critical Thinking

Students will be able to evaluate and interpret texts through a range of critical approaches (stylistic, historical, intertextual, etc.). They will be able to apply analytical skills to the interpretation of a wide spectrum of cultural phenomena including art, film and popular media; to uncover hidden meanings and complexities of the text through multiple modes of inquiry; to discern between well-argued and poorly articulated points of view and to use this critical perspective to formulate their own arguments. They will be prepared to recognize stated and unstated assumptions and to judge the validity of inferences, and to assess the claims of competing interpretations of a literary text.

Information Literacy

Students will be able to support their judgments with textual evidence, bibliographical research and relevant secondary sources. They will be prepared to appraise the merits of ideas and materials from a variety of bibliographic sources, to differentiate between popular and scholarly material, and to apply the standard citation format of literary studies (MLA).



Literary terms and Concepts

Students will learn to identify different stylistic devices and rhetorical tropes and evaluate their function within the text. They will be able to apply appropriate critical and theoretical terminology to the formulation of their own work and to relate abstract concepts and theories to specific literary texts.

Texts and movements

Students will be able to identify major literary, artistic, and cultural figures of the Italian tradition and their principal works. They will be able to demonstrate knowledge of different approaches, principles, and schools of literary analysis (e.g. stylistic, historical, intertextual analyses) and to distinguish the principal characteristics of major trends, periods, and movements in Italian literature, to recognize the limitations of such categorization and to consider that conventions and canons may be questioned.

Socio-Cultural, Historical Terms and Concepts

Students will be able to recognize key terms specific to Italy. They will be able to situate literary works in the context of their historical, cultural, and aesthetic traditions; to demonstrate knowledge of significant historical events that have impacted Italian literature and culture across the centuries and to consider relationships between culture, society, history, politics, religion, and economics in the production of texts.



Intercultural competence

Students will be able to demonstrate an awareness of the linguistic, ethnic, racial, religious, cultural, and social diversity of the Italian peninsula. They should be able to recognize the points of contact between Italy and the United States, to reflect upon how cultural values can be traced across time and how these values shape perceptions, practices, and texts; and to consider issues of colonization, globalization, race, and ethnicity in their Italian, European, and global contexts.

Global citizenship

Students will learn to recognize and respect difference, and to engage the perspective of others to better understand and critically reflect on their own world view. They will be able to discuss contemporary ethical issues related to Italy, Europe, and the world, and to act with informed awareness of contemporary issues in their historical contexts.

Reflectivity and Aesthetic Response

Students should be able to consider how aesthetic categories and value judgments are constituted historically. They should be able to reflect upon how the analysis of cultural texts encourages creative thinking, to develop a heightened sensitivity to figurative language and imagery that may be applied to other contexts, and to be attentive to connections they may otherwise have overlooked.

Independent Learning

Students should be able to discover meanings and solutions for themselves through active participation in their own learning process. They should be able to adapt the knowledge and skills they have learned to new experiences and learning opportunities, to integrate multiple ways of knowing into their daily lives, and to develop an appreciation for and life-long interest in Italian culture.