Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Bologna program to address concerns over urban life

In 2008 — and for the first time in human history — most people on the planet will live in cities. Given this monumental transition, societal concerns about the long-term sustainability of urban settlements, and urban life in general, are at an all-time high.

The University of Denver-Bologna International Center for Civic Engagement (ICCE), an international venue for research and study, has received a multi-institution, $180,000 grant from the European Union-United States Atlantis Program to develop and implement an international “Excellence in Mobility” project to address problems confronting contemporary cities.

The Excellence in Mobility project will create a curriculum shared among four partner institutions — the University of Denver, Portland State University, University of Bologna and the University of Nottingham — focused on the study of social and natural transformations of urban areas in Europe and in the United States.

The program will include an exchange of 48 undergraduate students and some teaching faculty equally divided between the partner institutions. The project brings together students and scholars from across the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on urban problems and to work toward sustainable urban futures.

“This grant is a tremendous boost to our newly revised vision of the DU-Bologna ICCE,” says Director of Pioneer Leadership Linda Olson, co-investigator on the project along with DU faculty members Dean Saitta and Roberta Waldbaum. “It strongly supports our goals for a globally engaged curriculum, socially meaningful research, and civic initiatives of a transnational nature.”

Applications are being accepted for a spring term in Bologna to be led by Teresa Conley, a marketing professor at theDaniels College of Business. Students attending the grant-funded program will take classes on the Italian language, “The Role of Business in Civic Engagement,” and “Democracy and the City: Moving Towards an Engaged Citizenship.” They will also participate in a civic engagement practicum to apply classroom learning into real-world situations utilizing the civic backdrop of Bologna.

The early application deadline for the program is Oct. 1.

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