In the evening, the sun sets outside Judy Raggi Moores office
window in the Callaway Center. It is a beautiful sight. Raggi Moore
knows this because, more often than not, she has a front row seat
If you want to be an effective teacher, you have to be on
top of what you are teaching, says Raggi Moore, senior lecturer
in French and Italian and director of the Italian studies program.
That requires a lot of work, a lot of research and a lot of
And a lot of time spent on campus. Students sometimes stop by her
office to talk long after the sun has gone down.
Raggi Moore has built Italian studies into one of the strongest
language programs on campus. That was no mean feat. When she started
teaching Italian in 1986, there were only 46 students. She created
an Italian studies major shortly after. Now almost 700 students
are signed up for courses in Italian. And this is at a University
and in a geographical area with practically no natural ties to Italy
herself or the Italian-American community.
The mission of this program is unique, and Ive always
felt very strongly about it, Raggi Moore says. Its
very interdisciplinary. It isnt meant to go to Italy and learn
the Italian language or just dabble in a course of Italian literature.
It is meant to be as immersed in Italy as a reality as complex and
difficult to understand a reality as it is.
Raggi Moore also is primarily responsible for building what is
one of Emory most popular and successful study abroad programs:
its presence in Italy. Emory students already have opportunities
to study in Rome and Siena. Next fall a Milan program will be added,
soon followed by a second Rome program.
You cant teach Italy from here alone, she says.
Raggi Moore administrates the semester programs from here, and
each summer teaches her own course abroad. For seven weeks, 40 students
led by Raggi Moore pile into a bus and travel up and down the Italian
boot, getting up at the crack of dawn and often not going to sleep
until past midnight every day.
The whole time is spent in what is loosely termed the
classroom, Raggi Moore says. Students visit museums,
historical sites, churches and a variety of other places to absorb
Italian culture. While Raggi Moore plans much of the activities,
she has to remain flexible and observant because the days
lesson can change with the turn of a corner.
Its a pure form of academic expression, she says.
I know that in a given location Im going to lecture
on Machiavelli and the next one Im going to talk about Botticelli,
then bring together those concepts into something that makes academic
sense and is coherent. But what if in between these two lectures
we encounter a public funeral or a re-creation of the medieval pageantry?
Am I not going to talk about that? Of course. So well stop
and well look at it. And we cant just look. We have
to place it in a cultural and historical context. That is where
you are in constant class. You can never foresee what a student
is going to ask you.
In addition to the students, Raggi Moore will have faculty company
as well, and the program takes advantage of Italian studies interdisciplinary
Each summer is a new creation, Raggi Moore says. To
me, the epitome of a university is faculty and students together,
in the same living conditions, equipped with the same circumstances,
exploring together. Its a physical, intellectual and emotional
This year, joining Raggi Moore for the summer program will be anthropologys
Peter Brown, musics Stephen Crist and dances Lori Teague.
They leave three days after Commencement and will return in July.
With a faculty team leaning toward the performing arts, Raggi Moore
is gearing this summers class toward an exploration of indigenous
music and dances and will concentrate on Southern Italy and Sicily,
where many of these peasant creations are still visible.
Raggi Moore often spends more than a year planning these trips
and her devotion to her work and students has not gone unnoticed.
She received a Crystal Apple Award, a honor bestowed by students
in 1999, the first year they were handed out.
Earlier this month, the Emory College Language Center (ECLC) gave
Raggi Moore its first annual Excellence in Language Teaching Award.
At Commencement, she will be one of three professors on the podium
to pick up Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Center for Teaching
and Curriculum (CTC).
Students are the ones who understand good teaching,
Raggi Moore says. Why are all these awards meaningful to me?
Because they are sincere. When students tell you youve made
a difference in their lives, even 10 years later, thats the
thrill. Thats the rush. Thats why you teach.
Raggi Moores connection to the students is easy to see. There
are few campus activities or committees she has missed. She is faculty
advisor to the Honor Council and she sits on the Alcohol Judicial
Council. She has been a FAME leader almost since the program began,
she is faculty advisor to ODK Honor Society, is an advisor to Emory
BIGS and, of course, an advisor to the Italian club. The list goes
on and on.
Raggi Moore also is faculty advisor to Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Shes held the position for several years, and has sat in on
many of the sororitys meetings. One of them was attended by
national representatives who questioned the sisters about why an
outsider was there.
The Thetas quickly moved to solve the problem. They pledged her.
As an adult, I had to do what all girls do on that famous
morning when they become members. Of course, I cant reveal
anything, she laughs. It was quite hysterical. Me and
all the 18-year-olds.
Raggi Moore is a native of Italy and holds dual citizenship. She
was born in Torino and grew up in Rome. She moved to the U.S. after
marrying an American. Her emphasis on multiculturalism rubbed off
on her daughter, Jessica, 17, who has been trilingual (Italian,
English, Spanish) since learning to speak.
Raggi Moore went to school in Romea fact she is both proud
of and grateful for.
I would walk by the Vatican in order to go to university
every dayit was almost an hour commute each way to get to
university and backbut it was really a labor of love,
Raggi Moore says. Every time Id see it Id think,
How many people would give who knows what to be here just
once. And I live here.
I make no bones of telling my students that I respect where
they come from, but if we want to get along the first lesson they
have to learn is that the most beautiful city in world is,
she pauses for dramatic effect. Roma.
Since its introduction to campus, Italian has been grouped with
French, a coupling Raggi Moore views with mock disdain. Though she
is deeply and sincerely appreciative of current chair Carol Harrons
work in promoting the importance of foreign language acquisition,
she also humorously bristles at Italian being the second listed
language in the department.
We gave them culture, Raggi Moore says of the Italys
gift to France. I always say, the Italian
studies program, forget the French, she continues, ribbing
her departmental compatriots whenever she can.
Thats the way I conduct my class, Rome is the center
of the world, Rome is the most beautiful city, and Italian is the
most beautiful language. If you know what youre doing, youre
not going to study any other language, youre going to study