Department of Art Offers Rome Study Abroad Program

By Lisa Y. Garibay

UTEP News Service

UTEP’s Department of Art invites students of all majors to get an international experience with a summer study abroad program in Rome.

The 37-day program runs from June 27 through Aug. 3 and will be led by Max Grossman, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history, a major that was started only two years ago.Max Grossman, Ph.D., sits with UTEP students at Piazza Santa Maria in Rome in July 2012. The piazza is a few minutes from John Cabot University and the residence where the students are housed during the study abroad program.Max Grossman, Ph.D., sits with UTEP students at Piazza Santa Maria in Rome in July 2012. The piazza is a few minutes from John Cabot University and the residence where the students are housed during the study abroad program.

“This Rome program is a jewel in our crown,” said Grossman, who specializes in medieval and Renaissance Italian art.

Students will be housed in a beautifully renovated palazzo in Trastevere — just a five-minute walk from the campus of John Cabot University (JCU), where classes will be held. The centrally located palazzo will give students easy access to all that the Eternal City of Rome has to offer. Students can expect additional excursions to Pompeii, Venice, Florence, and Siena, all cities renowned for their beauty, history, cuisine and culture.

“What’s most exciting is that the program is open to the entire university, which is a recent development,” Grossman said. “Any UTEP student can spend 37 days in Rome, including two 3000-level courses, excursions to three different cities, and housing in a converted palace in the center of Rome. We began last year with 10 students and are expanding with up to 30 this year.

“My course is an on-site art history course among churches, palaces, catacombs, monuments, the Forum and so on, but then students can take a second course of their choice through JCU, which can be from about a dozen different fields. So a student from engineering can knock off two electives to make progress toward their degree program while having a life-changing experience.”

For Grossman, this is more than just an opportunity to get out of the country. He firmly views it as an asset that can boost a student’s future success.

“This overseas experience makes our students more competitive when they apply to graduate schools. It shows maturity and depth and makes them more impressive to employers and graduate schools,” he said.

“It’s a wonderfully successful program,” said Study Abroad Coordinator Niamh Minion. “We are ambitious in what we hope to accomplish in terms of a large number of students participating. And it’s the only UTEP faculty-led program where students can simultaneously enroll in a UTEP course and a course led by the host institution.”

Grossman encourages students to take a semester of Italian and one art history course, but these are not required. Students who are in the College of Liberal Arts may also receive honors credit for participating in the program.

Students will be required to take Dr. Grossman’s on-site course "Medieval Rome and its Monuments" (ARTH 3399, which can count toward the art history major or a block elective) or Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Anne Giangiulio’s ARTG 3307, “Special Topics in Art: Graphic Design in Rome,” which may substitute for Graphic Design 3 (ARTG 2306 and ARTG 2326 are pre-requisites for ART 3307).

In addition, students must register for at least one additional course of their choice for a total of two 3-credit courses during their time in Rome. Courses offered by John Cabot University include art, art history, business, communications, English, history, Italian, law, religion, political science, and psychology. Most are fully transferable toward UTEP degree requirements and will be automatically added to UTEP transcripts.

Any UTEP undergraduate or graduate student may apply for the program even if they have never taken a course in the art department before. Applications — which must include two letters of recommendation — are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, in the Study Abroad Office (Room 218 of the Mike Loya Academic Services Building). Click here to download the application.

To be eligible, applicants (who do not have to be attending UTEP full-time) must be in good academic standing, have a minimum GPA of 2.67 and at least 18 credit hours completed (12 at UTEP). A maximum of 30 students (15 for Dr. Grossman’s class and 15 for Professor Giangiulio’s class) will be admitted to the program, so a solid application is essential in order to make the final cut. Financial aid may be applied to all courses taken while studying abroad and all students accepted into the program will receive a scholarship of at least $1,000 toward the remaining fees.

“The program is very cost-effective – it costs less than 50 percent of many similar programs in Rome without sacrificing any quality,” Grossman said.

A spreadsheet detailing the costs and program schedule can be downloaded by clicking here. To get a feel for the kinds of courses that may be offered by John Cabot University, students can take a look at what was offered for summer 2012 by clicking here.