The Columns

Journalism Prof Says “Ciao” to Italy

— by on August 4th, 2011

Doug Cumming, associate professor of journalism and mass communications at Washington and Lee, acquired some continental habits this summer. He learned to dry his clothes on an indoor clothesline, display potted geraniums in his window, and don what he calls a “Fellini” jacket and a Panama hat. He chalks up this transformation to a four-week teaching assignment — in Italy.

The other faculty members included a Pulitzer-winning reporter from the New Orleans Times-Picayune; a photojournalism professor who worked in Poland for Time, Life and other magazines; a Polish photojournalist; and two broadcast journalism professors from our neighbors in Harrisonburg, Va., James Madison University. (Read JMU’s story about the program, including a video, here.) Doug counts them all as friends now.

In addition to the journalism topics, the students dug into intensive lessons in Italian. Meanwhile, Libby enjoyed the vacation and Sarah, a student at Sewanee, took the course. “It was like winning the lottery,” Doug tells us, “the academically rich international experience I was hoping for during my nine-month break from teaching.” As a bonus, the Cummings enjoyed “a beautiful family vacation on the side.”

The students showcased the result of their work on this website, Urbino Project 2011. Doug says of the course, “I would highly recommend it for our journalism majors as a study-abroad experience.” You can also read Doug’s delightful blog, “DCumming in Italia,” where he describes his adventures with the cuisine, language, churches, students, colleagues, opera and other magical features of the country.