Dr. Betty Webb
Dr. Betty Webb, Director Emeritus of the Office of International Programs, serves as the Director of Meredith Programs in Italy and the UK and was the Faculty Director for Meredith's inaugural year in Sansepolcro. A Professor of English, she has also taught the Sansepolcro course Justice and Liberty, a course that focuses on Italian Jewish writers whose lives and works were molded by the rise of fascism. For over 34 years, Dr. Webb has taken Meredith students abroad. She has led programs in Italy, in Switzerland, in England and Scotland and in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Webb has traveled to over 50 countries and if asked to select a single favorite, she would be unable to do so. If favorites were allowed, England, Italy, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe would head the list—though for sheer scenic grandeur Nepal and Switzerland are hard to beat.
Dr. Webb is married to an Englishman, and they live part of the year in Bath, where they hope to spend more time in the future. Both are current events wonks who love keeping up with world news, wherever they are. And both like to read the fiction of the countries they visit, ideally as they travel.
When asked about what she most enjoys about her job, Dr. Webb says that though watching the rise in the number and variety of our study abroad programs and in the number of Meredith students who participate in them is very exciting, directing study abroad programs is what she really likes. And she likes every stage—from solving the logistical puzzles presented by program and curriculum planning to living and working with students on a daily basis abroad.
Students, she says, often describe their time abroad in glowing terms: as “the best experience" of their lives "thus far,” “one of life's magnificent blessings and adventures,” “a dream come true.” “Who wouldn’t want to be with students at such a time?” she asks. “Directing study abroad programs is often challenging but always rewarding--and most often it is just plain fun” she concludes.
She has held both the Mary Lynch Johnson and the Norma Rose Chairs in the Department of English, and she is the recipient of the Pauline Davis Perry Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Laura Harrill Presidential Award.
Professor Cathy Rodgers
Catherine Rodgers will assume directorship of Meredith Programs in Italy after June 2013. Professor Rodgers holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization & Religion from Meredith College, a Master of Arts in Speech Communication & Theatre from Wake Forest University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting/Directing from UNC-G. Here at Meredith, Professor Rodgers is currently the Program Coordinator for Theatre and the Study Abroad Director for the UK Summer Program. In the fall she will assume the duties of Director of the Sansepolcro program, having taught there for five summers and in the spring semester of 2011. She most recently directed A Little Night Music and Step on a Crack for Meredith Ensemble Theatre and is a proud member of the North Carolina Theatre Conference as a past president of their executive board. Ms. Rodgers received the NCTC Herman Middleton Distinguished Service Award in 2011 for her contributions to theatre education in North Carolina. She looks forward to pursuing her other passion, guiding students to have a transformative experience by studying abroad in Italy!
A native of Sansepolcro, Sara Andreini has been involved with the Meredith Abroad program in Italy for over a decade. Sara will be serving as the Associate Director of Meredith in Italy. Sara also teaches the Italy Today course.
Dr. Gregory Vitarbo
Fall 2013 Sansepolcro Faculty Director Dr. Gregory Vitarbo attended Drew University in Madison, N.J., where he majored in history and received his B.A. in 1990. He did his graduate work at the University of Michigan and received his Ph.D. in Russian/Soviet history in 1999. After one-year teaching positions at Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Dr. Vitarbo joined the Meredith faculty in the fall semester 2001. At Meredith he teaches in the fields of Russian/Soviet history, Western Civilization, and Modern European history. He has developed new and revised courses in the history of Modern Russia, Modern Britain, Twentieth Century Europe, and the World in the Twentieth Century, has taught on the Sansepolcro summer program and also hopes to create new courses in the fields of Modern German history and the historical relationship of gender, culture, and warfare. Dr. Vitarbo is working on a manuscript that examines the military, social, and cultural impact of the new technology of the airplane on the Russian Imperial army in the decade before the first world war. He has contributed an essay to recently published volume on the Russian army and society, and other articles concerning issues of aviation, nationality policy, and modernization within the Russian Imperial officer corps. In Fall 2013, Dr. Vitarbo will teach a History course in Sansepolcro on WWII in Italy.
Professor Maureen Banker
Since 1970, Maureen Banker has lived, studied, and produced art in Florence, Italy for several months each year at Santa Reparata Graphic Workshop, II Bisonte Workshop, or Casa Ghirlandaio Workshop. She studied art at Wheaton College, Taylor University, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Skidmore College, North Carolina State University School of Design, and Meredith College, where she received a BA in Studio Art. She completed her graduate studies with an MA in Printmaking at the Graduate School of Fine Art, Villa Schifanoia, Florence, Italy. Following retirement from 20 years of teaching in the Art Department at Meredith College, Professor Banker has taught multiple courses on the Sansepolcro semester program since Fall 2009. You can view her collection of Sansepolcro and the Palazzo Alberti here: http://maureenbanker.com/maureenBanker.html
In additon to Meredith College faculty members teaching in Sansepolcro, the program will be joined by local faculty who will teach Italian and additional elective courses. As more information becomes available, we will post it here.
Valeria Nardi joined the Meredith College abroad program in the Fall of 2010, as Italian language instructor. She resides in Sansepolcro from 2007, when she and her family decided to came back to the Valtiberina Valley (her native country) after years of living in the States and in several different Italian cities.
Nardi attended University mainly in Florence but then graduated from the Universita` degli Studi of Perugia in Classical Literatures with a major in Etruscan archaeology. Her dissertation focused on Etruscan language and since then languages have always attracted her. She specialized on the Teaching of Italian in Torino, and later obtained an Archival Science and Paleography diploma from the post-master Scuola Speciale Vaticana per Archivisti e Bibliotecari in Vatican City, Rome.
Her husband's job in the Italian Air Force led to them moving a lot between the United States, Europe and Italy, while she tried to shape her career accordingly, working in the teaching field. She taught at middle school, high school and college level. Stopping for a while their family wandering in Houston, Texas, in 1999, Nardi worked for five years at the University of Houston as Italian and Latin Lecturer teaching elementary, intermediate and advanced courses. She also worked for the University library, Special Collection department, cataloging the Manuscripts and Incunabula Collection. Back to Italy she collaborated with local schools as teacher of Italian as a second language before and after moving in Sansepolcro, until she came in contact with the reality of Meredith College abroad, which she thought could be summarizing her previous experiences, love of her own language and American culture. The interaction between the students and Italian world is always an exciting and challenging exchange of discoveries, and she is proud to be in some way one of the ambassador of her own country to the young minds of Meredith College.
Emilija Dimitrijevic was born in Serbia, where she graduated in English language and literature from the University of Nis. In 1994, she moved to Italy, where she continued her studies and obtained a degree in foreign languages and literatures and a PhD in “Comparatistics: literature, theatre, cinema” from the University of Siena. Since then, Dr. Dimitrijevic has taught courses on English language and literature at numerous high schools and at the University of Perugia. Currently, she is collaborating with a study abroad program in Arezzo, where she is teaching a course on the philosophy of art.
Research has been an important part of Dr. Dimitrijevic’s curriculum. She has published articles in literary journals in Italy and abroad as well as a book-length study on the contemporary novel. Since 2005, she has been a member of the Italian Association of Anglistics and of the European Society for the Study of English.
Dr. Dimitrijevic lives in Sansepolcro with her husband and their two sons. Her life in Serbia and Italy and her love of foreign languages and literature have taught her the importance of having more than one point of reference. She believes that the semester program in Sansepolcro provides exactly that opportunity for both Meredith students and people of Sansepolcro