Michael Lettieri

Michael Lettieri
Place of Birth: 
First Year Employed at Erindale College: 
Department / Division: 
Vice-Dean of Academic Experience; Department of Language Studies

Whenever you come to UTM, you always feel as if you are at the beginning of something new and exciting – the campus is always looking towards building and shaping the future.

Michael Lettieri

In 1982, with his BA and his master’s degree from U of T in hand, Michael Lettieri was working on his PhD when he accepted a tutor’s position at UTM. It was his introduction to the campus where he has made his academic home and his reputation.

Lettieri has excelled as a researcher, a teacher and an administrator and he continues to juggle the stringent demands of those roles; today, he serves as the vice-dean, academic experience.

“If we really want to prepare students to be global citizens and meet global challenges, we must make sure that teaching doesn’t end at the boundaries of the classroom,” Lettieri says of his newly created position.

Lettieri has served as associate chair of Italian and associate dean (Humanities), as well as the founding chair of the Department of Language Studies, the consolidated foreign language department that is based at UTM.

As a researcher, Lettieri is internationally renowned, both for his work in Italian literature and his scholarship in applied linguistics. His interests in the fields of textual criticism and Italian theatre have led him over the years to investigate important literary works such as Pietro Aretino’s Orazia, Pierre Corneille’s Horace and Lope De Vega’s El honrado hermano. It is not surprising that the American Association of Teachers of Italian appointed him as the editor of its prestigious journal, Italica.

To improve the teaching and learning of Italian, he has prepared and designed—together with other prominent scholars—effective and innovative pedagogical materials that allow students to converse naturally in a conceptually and grammatically accurate manner. He has taught every level of the Italian language program, and has contributed to the literature, linguistics, and teaching and learning programs. Lettieri has also led innovative curricular renewal, frequently introducing customized courses about unexplored areas of the Italian curriculum. Since 1988, he has spent part of his summer as a visiting professor at the internationally renowned Middlebury College (Vermont) Summer Language Schools, where, from 1995 until 2005, he was also director of the Italian School.

“UTM has been great to me in many ways,” he says. “The campus always wanted to be innovative and distinguish itself, which has given me carte blanche on fresh and experimental ideas. That freedom has allowed me to excel.”


Selected Awards:

Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy Award, 2015. Awarded by the President of Italy for his “distinguished teaching and published research in the fields of Italian language, literature and civilization, for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of Italian language and culture worldwide, and for the enhancement of bilateral relations between Italy and Canada.”

The American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI) Distinguished Service Award, 2011. The Award recognizes and further encourages the achievements and contributions of the members of the AATI for distinguished teaching and published research in the fields of Italian language, literature and civilization.

The University of Toronto President's Teaching Award, University of Toronto, 2011. The University’s highest teaching honour that gives the recipient membership into the U of T Teaching Academy.


Selected Publications:

Antonio Liruti da Udine. Sonetti sopra le tragedie di Vittorio Alfieri. Edizione critica. Saggio introduttivo, testi con apparati e note di commento [...]. Soveria Mannelli (Italy): Rubbettino Editore, 2014, with R. M. Morano. This book not only unearths an unknown and very important work by Friulian writer Antonio Liruti (1773-1812), but it also sheds new light on the critical fortunes of one of the greatest Italian dramatists and poets, Vittorio Alfieri.

Con fantasia.Reviewing and Expanding Functional Italian Skills. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2013, Fourth Edition. With S. Bancheri and M. Danesi. This book has sold thousands of copies in Canada, United States and Italy. It is the first book in the teaching and learning of Italian as a second language that gives importance to grammatical and communicative proficiency as well as to conceptual fluency.

Il Capriccio. Commedia anonima del Cinquecento.  Welland:  Soleil Publishing Inc., 1999. With J.A. Molinaro. With this work, scholars of the Italian Renaissance are now able, in the imitations of one Latin comedy alone, to study the whole range of Renaissance comedy from its most romantic to its most anti-romantic aspect.