Morena Svaldi

  • Faculty Director of the Language Assistant Program; Senior Lecturer in Italian
  • on leave spring 2024
Morena Svaldi

Lecturer Morena Svaldi joined the Italian faculty in 2004. She has been the Language Assistant Program Director since 2014. Svaldi is a member of the Five Colleges Blended Learning Steering Committee and the Language Floor Advisory Board at Mount Holyoke College.

Svaldi teaches courses at the elementary and intermediate level and organizes and coordinates training in foreign language pedagogy for Language Assistants and Language Mentors for all the languages taught at Mount Holyoke College. Over the years, she has also taught Intermediate/Advanced Italian Conversation at Smith College and Elementary Italian at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

Svaldi is originally from Padua, Italy where she received a Laurea in psychology from the University of Padua. She worked for many years in the field of psychology in Italy and published articles related to mental health. In 2003, she received the Specializzazione post universitaria (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology at the University of Padua.

Svaldi relocated to the United States in 2004 and, since then, has focused on her new career in teaching Italian language and culture.

At Mount Holyoke College, Svaldi developed many projects to engage students in learning Italian. One example is the Skype VP – 50 Exchange project with the University of Bologna. Her goal was to give her students the opportunity to connect with other students in Italy, to arouse their curiosity about other cultures and languages and to prepare them not only for their study abroad experience, but also to be global citizens.

In 2014, she received a Five Colleges Mellon Blended Learning Initiative Grant to develop a project about blended learning in elementary Italian with colleagues at Smith College.

In 2015, she received a Five Colleges Innovative Language Teaching grant to develop an Elementary Italian Bridge Course in collaboration with the Mount Holyoke Italian faculty.

Additionally, Svaldi is currently working with Smith colleagues on a new Five Colleges grant project to develop an online learning platform for Intermediate Italian students. In 2010, Svaldi created Mount Holyoke College’s first internship in Italy, at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari in collaboration with the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.

Since 2005, she has organized and presented at the Annual Five Colleges Italian Symposium in Pedagogy. She is an enthusiastic and active participant of the annual meeting of the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) and is a member of AATI (the American Association of Teachers of Italian).

Areas of Expertise

Foreign language pedagogy, teaching language through technology, Blended Learning


  • Ph.D., B.A., University of Padua
  • M.A. Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent Campus News

Emma Taylor said yes her first semester and that has made all the difference.

My close connection with Morena Svaldi in Italian studies has made me realize that I am more capable of doing things than I may initially believe. Having her support throughout my entire four years has been incredible. I would not be where I am without her.

Mount Holyoke College and its professors received several grants and fellowships between November 2015 and March 2016.

Recent Grants

Received a grant from the Consulate General of Italy, Boston, to support an Italian tutor.

Recent Publications

Svaldi, M. (2023) Article "Engaging Students in Conversations about Social Justice and Change in Italy, TILCA -Teaching Italian Language and Culture Annual" November 2023 Published

Svaldi M. Insegnare italiano in un’università del New England: analisi, pianificazione e proposta di un corso microlingua [Teaching Italian in higher education in New England: analysis, planification and a proposal of a micro language course]. Itals Journal, Supplement of the ELLE Journal, ISSN: 2280-6792, November 2019, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice.

Recent Honors

Svaldi, M. (2023) Presenting at the MAFLA (Massachusetts Association Foreign Languages) a paper "L’incanto della cultura italiana: Teaching Italian Language and Culture through Food, Design, Sustainability and Urban Planning", October 26-28, 2023

Presented "Immersive Teaching of Italian: Transforming a Challenge Into a Resource" at the virtual ACTFL Convention– American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 19-21 November 2021.

Ombretta Frau and Morena Svaldi held a workshop for teachers at the NEMLA conference in Springfield on October 25, 2019. The title of the workshop was "Learn In-Context Around Campus.”

Presented her research on Teaching Italian in Higher Education: Assessment, Planning & Retention at the ACTFL Convention–American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Washington, DC, November 22-24, 2019.

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