Leadership & Support

A related proposal for a semester-long program involving the purchase of property garnered broad support in the recent past, and that support remains strong. The College, under President Benson, was seriously considering establishing a campus presence in Spoleto, Italy, and representatives from Spoleto visiting our campus to discuss plans. Dr. Benson’s departure stalled these plans, and we feel that this is an opportune time for campus leadership to take up this project in earnest once again. At the time, support was secured from over a dozen departments and a five-year staffing plan was generated from remarkably strong faculty interest

Project Leadership

Bret Lott is the author of fourteen books, most recently the essay collection Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian(Crossway, 2013) and the novel Dead Low Tide (Random House, 2012). He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1984, studying under Jay Neugeboren and James Baldwin. From 1986 to 2004 he was writer-in-residence and professor of English at The College of Charleston, leaving to take the position of editor and director of the journal The Southern Review at Louisiana State University. Three years later, in the fall of 2007, he returned to The College of Charleston and the job he most loves: teaching. He serves as Nonfiction Editor of Crazyhorse, has spoken on Flannery O’Connor at the White House, and served as Fulbright Senior American Scholar to Bar-llan University in Tel Aviv, Israel. From 2006 to 2013 he served as a member of the National Council on the Arts. He is also director of the Spoleto Summer Study Abroad program in English at the College.

Dr. Lacroix received her Ph.D. in Rhetorical Studies/Media Criticism from Ohio University (receiving several honors, including the Rhetorical Scholar Award) in 1999, after receiving her master’s in Communication/Performance Studies from Eastern Michigan University in 1987 and her bachelor’s in Speech from Emerson College in 1985. She was involved in many high-level facets of communication in the 1990s ranging from directing forensics programs to assisting medical school faculty to writing grant proposals for state boards of education. Her research interests include race and ethnicity in popular culture. She has authored a number of national and regional conference papers. She has also authored a number of other “top papers” within the last four years, while serving on several distinguished panels as well. Dr. Lacroix has co-directed more than twenty study abroad programs, including the inaugural fall semester program in Florence, Italy in Fall 2018.  She is passionate about food and has led many field trips to artisinal food producers around Tuscany.

Dr. Vander Zee received his Ph.D. in English from Stanford University in 2012. After serving in a visiting role for three years, he became Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston and Faculty Fellow in the Honors College, where he directs the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards and participates in the Honors First-Year Experience. He has taught students around the world, from Singapore and Siberia, to Stanford University and Stephens College. His teaching and research interests include nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature with an emphasis on Walt Whitman and his influence; poetry and poetics; the personal essay; genre studies; first-year seminar pedagogy; transnational modernism; autobiography; aesthetics; age studies; ideas of form and formalism; and contemporary poetry. In 2011, the University of Iowa Press published A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line, a collection that he c0-edited and introduced. He has articles and review essays published in Modern Philology, The Wallace Stevens JournalAgni and Agni Online, the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, ESQ, Resources for American Literary Study, and the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Project Support

Dean Jerry Hale:

“This project has my unqualified support. The city and College have unique relationships with Spoleto. Professor Lott and others on campus have had a successful study abroad program there for several years and this project can build on the power of place for both Spoleto and Charleston in ways that have tremendous philanthropic and educational possibilities.”

Dr. Andrew Sobiesuo:

“I write to register my support for the proposal to establish a College of Charleston Campus in Spoleto, Italy. The College has run a very successful summer program to Spoleto over many years and a physical presence in Spoleto would enhance our program offerings to students. It promises to serve a wider group of College of Charleston students and has the support across disciplines. I am very cognizant of the challenges of such an endeavor but this commitment would solidify the College’s dedication to providing a world class education to its students.”