Unlike many study abroad programs, which involve registration at foreign institutions and administrative hurdles to transfer courses, the COLFA Semester in Urbino offers UTSA courses taught by UTSA faculty or by University of Urbino faculty who have been vetted and approved by UTSA. The courses have been carefully selected to fit into UTSA degree plans and will appear seamlessly in ASAP. Moreover, since you will remain a full-time UTSA student during your semester abroad you will have access to UTSA services such as financial aid and library resources and will not encounter difficulties with minimum credit-hour requirements for financial aid or scholarships.  Information on the student residences is now available.

Supplemental art and cooking classes are also available during the semester.

Please follow Dr. McNaughton-Cassill’s blog, Corridori in Italia, as she shares her experiences in Italy this semester!

Important Dates for Spring 2020

printable schedule of program trips for Spring 2020 is now available. Some dates and trip destinations may vary. A printable schedule with class meeting times is also available.

January 30students arrive at the G. Marconi Airport in Bologna (BLQ) no later than 1:30; charter bus to Urbino arrives at 2:30 and departs no later than 3:00. Anticipated arrival in Urbino at 5:30.
January 319:00: GEV orientation. GEV will collect a deposit (€100 or $100) that will be returned at the end of the program if there are no damages to the classrooms or dorms.
13:00: welcome lunch
14:00 tour of Urbino with Roberta
February 19:30: guided tour of historic Urbino (meet in Borgo Mercatale
February 29:30 guided tour of the Ducal Palace in Urbino (meet in front of palace)
February 3Classes begin. We will meet at 7:50 in front of the Collegio Internazionale and walk together to meet the teachers at 8:00
February 6guided tour of Pesaro
February 13day trip to Bologna
February 14organic farm tour
February 20-23Rome
February 27day trip to Perugia
March 5-8Siena and Florence
March 9-15Urbino Spring Break
March 19day trip to Assisi
March 26-31Verona and Venice
April 2day trip to Ravenna
April 6500th Anniversary of the Death of Raffaello: Ceremony and Concert
April 9day trip to Ferrara
April 30farewell dinner
May 1Classroom and studio cleanup and checkout
May 3Latest possible checkout from dorms
Course Information

The following 16 credit hours of courses are offered during the Spring 2020 semester.
The focus on Psychology will be especially relevant to students in the Medical Humanities, Psychology, History, and Museum Studies programs. Graduate versions of these courses are also available. If you are a graduate student interested in the COLFA Semester in Urbino, please contact us for more information.

A detailed schedule will be available soon

PSY 4253Psychology of Health (prerequisites waived)
PSY 4953Special Studies in Psychology: Stress (prerequisites waived)
PSY 3563Couple and Family Psychology (prerequisites waived)
AHC 4333Medieval and Renaissance Art History
FL 1034Elementary Italian
Course Descriptions

PSY 4253. Psychology of Health. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours (Pre-Requisites Waived). Mahatma Gandhi once said that “It is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver.” This course will explore the topic of health from biological, social, and psychological angles. We will explore what it means to be healthy and how conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, the common cold and Alzheimer’s Disease affect us physically and mentally. Emphasis will be placed on the social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence health and illness, mind body links, and what we can do to promote good health in ourselves and others. Students will have the opportunity to research and write a paper exploring a health related issue from both an American and Italian perspective.

PSY 4953. Special Studies in Psychology: Stress (3-0) 3 Credit Hours. Stress occurs when there is a gap between what you have, and what you want. While it   has always been a part of life, the things that cause stress are changing rapidly in the technologically driven modern world. This course will focus on understanding stress from historical, social, and personal perspectives, with an emphasis on learning to recognize your own stress triggers, and developing effective coping strategies. Viewing stress in modern life while studying at a University that was founded in 1506 and  adjusting to life in a culture that differs significantly from our own will afford students the opportunity to apply the things we are discussing in class in a real world context.

PSY 3563. Couple and Family Psychology. (3-0) 3 Credit Hours. This course will focus on psychological research on relationships, processes and factors within couples and families. Demographic status and changes in American couples and families and how these changes relate to changes in racial/ethnic changes and diversity are considered. Psychological models of couples and families will be discussed. Understanding family structure, relationship processes and factors that are related to health and well-being of individual couple and family members that are related to successful and healthy couples and family relationships are discussed.

AHC 4333 Medieval and Renaissance Art History. In this course we will investigate several aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Art that took place in Italy during the 13th-16th centuries. We will begin with a short examination of the transition from Greek-Roman Art to the Art of the Middle Ages and the transition from Medieval Art (with a focus on gothic or proto-Renaissance art) to Renaissance Art, in order to be able to make critical comparisons between artworks from different ages. We will focus on architecture, sculpture and painting with an emphasis on monuments and works of art which students will see during the semester.

FL 1034. Beginning Language Study Abroad. Opportunity to begin developing oral and written communication skills in the target language, along with enhanced comprehension skills in listening and reading. Linguistic and cultural immersion. May be repeated up to 8 semester credit hours in each language.

Spring 2020 Faculty

Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill Dr. McNaughton-Cassill received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the UCSD/SDSU Joint Clinical Doctoral program in San Diego. She is currently a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The courses she teaches include Abnormal Psychology, Psychology and Health, Physiological Psychology and Stress Management. In her 20+ years at UTSA, she has also served as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs, and the Interim Director of the Teaching and Learning Center and the Co-Chair of the UTSA Distinguished Teaching Academy. Awards she has won include the Chancellor’s Council Teaching Award, the UTSA Student Government Distinguished Faculty Award, the Honor’s College Outstanding Mentorship Award, the Howe Service to Students Award and the UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and the Piper Outstanding Teaching Award.  She is also a Fellow of the UT Austin System Academy of Distinguished Teachers. Her research has focused on stress and coping in modern life, with particular emphasis on the impact of the media on well being, and factors that influence student academic success.  She has written a book about coping with stress in the modern world entitled “Mind The Gap” and was the editor of “Adapt and Overcome: Essays on the Student Veteran Experience” which focuses on the experiences of military veterans at UTSA. She also has a small private practice, and is a Disaster Mental Health Responder with the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (Greencross.org).    Her husband, Dr. Aaron Cassill is a Biology professor at UTSA; they have 26-year-old twin daughters, and live with a number of cats.

Dr. James Bray joined The University of Texas at San Antonio as Chair of the Psychology Department in August 2017.  Dr. Bray will establish the UTSA Family Psychology Health Laboratory to continue his research on the impact of family transitions and relationship factors on children, adolescents and adults.  He will also pursue continued work on psychosocial and family factors associated with adolescent substance use and abuse. Before joining UTSA, Dr. Bray was an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  Dr. Bray serves on the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association for the Division on Addictions.  He was the 2015 President of the Texas Psychological Association and the 2009 President of the American Psychological Association.  His presidential themes were the Future of Psychology Practice and Science and Psychology’s Contribution to Ending Homelessness.  He is also president of the Division of Professional Practice of the International Association of Applied Psychology.  Dr. Bray’s NIH funded research focuses on adolescent substance use, divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies.  He has published over 200 articles in major journal and books. He was the director of a federal HRSA faculty development program for physicians and was the director of the SAMSHA funded project on screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) project.  He is a pioneer in collaborative healthcare and primary care psychology.  He has presented his work in 20 countries.  He also maintains an active clinical practice focusing on families and health psychology.

Dr. J. Aaron Cassill has been at UTSA for 25 years and is currently a Professor in the Biology Department.  He received his Bachelor’s in Biology from Harvard in 1980 and his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1988. He has done research at MIT, UCSD and UCSF on human oncogenes, hormone regulation and signal transduction. He regularly teaches majors and non-majors intro biology and genetics although his teaching experience ranges from Freshman seminar and Intro Biology to Ph.D. level Molecular Biology and colloquiums.  The quality of his teaching has been recognized by many kind student kudos and several awards including the UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and the Piper Professorship. While at Urbino, he plans on supplementing the Psychology classes with material on Inaccuracies in perception; social infrastructures; and the genetic invariability of humans.

Dr. Grazia Fachechi is an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Urbino, Department of Humanities, where she has taught undergraduate and graduate students for more than twenty years. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Urbino and did post-graduate work in other cities: Florence (certificate in Museology and Art Criticism at the International University of Art – UIA), Perugia (PhD in Art History at the University of Perugia) and Rome (Diploma of Specialization in Medieval and Modern Art History at Sapienza University). She currently lives in Rome.

Dr. Fachechi’s principal fields of expertise are illuminated manuscripts (specifically works preserved in the Vatican Library) and wooden sculptures. She is the author of a book on Jacopo da Fabriano who was one of the favorite miniaturists of the Renaissance Pope Pius II and two books on wooden sculptures. The most recent is a catalogue of the most important wooden sculpture collection in Italy (housed in the National Museum of Palazzo Venezia in Rome) and was funded by the Getty Foundation of Los Angeles.

She has also published research on paintings, both from the Medieval and Renaissance ages. She is very interested in the text-image relationship, both in the religious context, with special regard to the iconography of the Passion of Christ, and in the lay context, with particular interest in iconographical themes of Classical Antiquity and the visual illustration of ancient literary works (especially those by the Latin writers Plauto and Seneca) in the Medieval and Renaissance eras.

The Italian language courses are taught by certified instructors at Lingua Ideale Urbino working under the auspices of the University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”. Lingua Ideale is a professional language school offering courses of Italian language and culture to foreigners. The curriculum for the COLFA Semester in Urbino has been designed to meet the requirements of the foreign language courses at UTSA while also incorporating local aspects of Italian culture.

Here are the syllabi for Spring 2020: