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April 10, 2003

ULM and NSU Team up to Bring a Fulbright Scholar in Residence to Each Campus

The University of Louisiana at Monroe and Northwestern State University have received funding to provide a Fulbright Scholar in Residence program at each institution during the 2003-2004 academic year.

The program is funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and will allow both institutions to bring Italian archeologist Dr. Vincenzo Di Giovanni to their campus. This is the first time either institution has received a Fulbright Scholar in Residence.

Di Giovanni is co-director of New Archeology, a cooperative of professional archeologists who excavate sites in Campania, in south central Italy where Naples is the principal modern city. Work done by Di Giovanni and his colleagues has brought to light artifacts that realign the current understanding of the Greek, Etruscan, and Italic roles in the formation of Roman civilization.

The first Greek colony on the Italian mainland was established at the Campanian site of Cuma close to Lake Avernus, which was recognized as the location of the ancient underworld. Both Cuma and Lake Avernus were important sites in much of the Roman poet Vergil's monumental "Aeneid." Also located in Campania was the rather decadent city of Capua whose allurements so enticed Hannibal's exhausted forces that they were easily defeated by inferior Roman troops.

A graduate of the University of Rome, Di Giovanni has done various excavations in the Campania region for the Italian Suprintendence of Antiquities. He has been a visiting scholar for the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers in a program held in Campania.

"Students at both institutions will get a first hand view of how archaeology is done in one of the most important areas of the world," said NSU professor of classics Dr. Jean D'Amato Thomas, co-principal investigator for the project. "This will greatly expand offerings at both universities and give students the opportunity to learn from an acclaimed scholar from another culture."

Dr. Kathleen Byrd, head of the Department of Social Sciences at NSU is co-principal investigator.

Thomas is working with Dr. Holly Wilson, associate professor of philosophy, director of the University Honors Program and interim head of the Department of History and Government at ULM, and associate professor of geogrpahy Dr. Mike Camille to coordinate the program.

"I am excited about the opportunity this will give our honors students to study with an internationally renowned archeologist," said Wilson.

During the fall semester, Di Giovanni will teach two courses at Northwestern, one in the Department of Social Sciences and another in the Louisiana Scholars' College. The Scholars' College course will be made available through compressed video to students at Louisiana-Monroe and the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. In the spring, he will teach at ULM with one course provided by compressed video to Northwestern students.

While at Northwestern, Di Giovanni will make weekly visits to local schools. He will also work with scientists at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training to share ideas and methods. He will also speak to several area civic clubs.

In the spring at ULM, Di Giovanni will coordinate activities with local archeologists in Northeast Louisiana, visiting high school classes and giving guest lectures in foreign language and classics classes.

Wilson is principal investigator on a submission for a Board of Regents' Enhancement Funds grant with Camille and Byrd as co-principal investigators. If this grant is successful, students from both universities will be able to participate in a course in field archeology at the Campanian site of Conza, located on the slopes of the Apennine. The city has remains that go back to the ninth century B.C.

"This project is an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration," said Thomas. "People at both universities worked together to put together a proposal that was one of the best submitted."

Thomas also credited associate provost Dr. Anthony Scheffler, professor of anthropology Dr. Hiram F. Gregory and assistant professor of anthropology Dr. Tommy Hailey along with Dr. Margaret Cochran, director of the Louisiana Scholars' College, with playing instrumental roles in obtaining the grant. She said acting director of Research and Sponsored Programs Dr. Priscilla Kilcrease and associate director of director of Research and Sponsored Programs Marcia Walker also played vital roles.

Wilson and Camille are grateful for the assistance of Dr. Eric Pani, associate dean of arts and sciences, and Dr. Virginia Eaton, interim director of the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Wilson said the grant writing was a cooperative affair and many faculty at ULM will be participating in making Di Giovanni's Scholar-in-Residence a successful experience.

The project extends a relationship between the two universities for classics/archeological studies begun last year through the establishment of the Louisiana State Classical Consortium which resulted in a joint membership to the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome.

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