SNL’s Renaissance Woman Betta LoSardo

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SNL Resident Faculty Betta LoSardo

SNL’s Betta LoSardo is Resident Faculty, a Senior Teaching Fellow, Director of the Oak Forest Campus, and Interim Director (Fall Term) for SNL Online.

What are your primary responsibilities at SNL?

In addition to teaching Foundations and Research Seminar, I teach courses in my academic field, Italian Studies. This involves mostly courses related to art, history, and culture.  My current content courses are Advanced Elective Seminar: the Italian Renaissance; Advanced Elective Seminar: Art Collecting (with SNL Resident Faculty member Susan McGury); Art in Everyday Things: Papermaking; and Art and Memory: Scrapbooking. I also teach an Externship course requiring volunteer work at an animal shelter. As director of the Oak Forest Campus, it is my job to formulate the annual course curriculum, recruit, hire, train, and supervise Visiting Faculty teaching at the campus, help them develop SNL courses, and monitor the student experience. Oak Forest is the smallest campus at DePaul, serving approximately 150 students per term.  It is a friendly place, where students learn about SNL from other students.  It is a great pleasure to see the same faces every term and to work with students in an intimate setting.

How does your work affect students?

I believe my SNL work influences students in several ways. I hope that the Oak Forest Campus provides an open forum for intellectual development and that students can learn there in a supportive, diverse environment.  Through teaching, I provide students with several ways to look at the manner in which art and history influence our lives.  Chicago, for example, provides us with a wealth of examples of Italian Renaissance architecture.  The School for New Learning takes its name from the New Learning that was the foundation of the Humanist philosophical movement of the Italian Renaissance.

How long have you been at DePaul? At SNL?

I began at SNL in early 1980, and except for a four year hiatus in Sydney, Australia, I have been at SNL ever since.

Where did you work previously? How did your past experience help in what you do now?

I can hardly remember what I did before SNL, but I can tell you that I have taught Italian and English at various language schools for a very long time. While in Sydney, I taught at the University of Technology in a program similar to SNL.  I also consulted with local arts groups on developing competence based assessment policies down under, and wrote a regular column for an ice hockey organization.  All these experiences contribute to my approach to learning and teaching at SNL.

What do you like most about working at DePaul, and SNL?

DePaul is a people oriented university.  I have attended and taught at universities on three continents and can say that DePaul is the place most focused on students’ needs and perspectives.  In my opinion, SNL is the jewel in DePaul’s crown. I very much enjoy learning from my students at SNL.

What advice would you give to students in the SNL Online program?

Read, write, read, write, read; log on to Blackboard.  Ask questions.  Then read some more. In between posts, read a few things.  Most teachers are dying to discuss their expertise with you.  Keep in contact. Ask for feedback.  Read. On line learning is a fabulous option, but not an easy one.  It requires a great deal of self-discipline.  My hat is off to SNL’s online learners.

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