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Faculty Spotlight

Monica Ercolani, Modern and Classical Languages

Monica Ercolani

The Ross M. Lence Award in the Humanities goes to Monica Ercolani, instructional assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Professor Ercolani teaches and serves as the coordinator for first- and second-year Italian.

Her nominator, Dr. Francesca Behr, notes that Professor Ercolani’s classes are extremely demanding, but she is amazed at how much fun they are. Ercolani’s students agree that she engages them and teaches way more than the basics of the language, sparking a life- long interest in Italian language and culture.

Ercolani points out that teaching a foreign language requires a certain amount of memorization and drill. But with her enthusiasm, passion for the language and culture and, she admits, a little bit of acting, she engages her students, making them forget that they are doing the hard work of mastering a language. Students are clear – her classes teach them the joy of learning to communicate in another language. Student evaluations confirm Ercolani’s success in instilling in her students the joy of Italian. In one class, a student wrote “I heart Monica Ercolani” and another “I heart Monica Ercolani more!”

We ask students if they would recommend the professor to other student and Ercolani’s students said, “Yes, she’s awesome, brilliant, enthusiastic.” One wrote , “Ercolani is Everything! I’ve never had a better language instructor in my life.”

What was really fun to see was how many students responded like this: “Si, è meraviglioso!” Se Amo!” “Viva Italia!” “Molto Bene!” One student described her as “awesome e molto bella.” Her students love expressing themselves in Italian, which is the best recommendation of all!

Congratulations, Professor Ercolani.

- Dr. Sarah Fishman, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.