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Renaissance Leadership & Rhetoric in Florence, Italy

Program Overview

Program Type
Short-term, faculty-led program administered by Gonzaga University
May 27 – June 9, 2018
ORGL 510 Renaissance Leadership or COML 522 Renaissance Rhetoric and Contemporary Leadership
 Courses will be taught in English and there will be conversational Italian.
Students stay in shared hotel accommodations.
Estimated Cost
Tuition: $2,820  Program Fee: $1,913
Financial Aid
Gonzaga and federal financial aid can be applied towards this program.
Application Deadline
Application deadline January 15, 2018. Deposit deadline: February 1, 2018. To apply, visit the main Study Abroad page here.
Personal Travel
 A typical day would include a few hours in the classroom and an afternoon museum tour.  The evenings are yours to explore the culture of Florence. You will also travel to Siena Rome and go on tours that include the Vatican and the Coliseum.
Graduate or doctoral students
Contact Student Services

Available: 7 days a week
M-F 6am-8pm PST
Sat-Sun 7am-4pm PST
Call or Text: (509) 313-3573
Toll Free: (866) 380-5323
Fax: (509) 313-6232

Helping Leaders Change the World from the Inside

For decades, the concept of “leadership” meant making structural changes to an organization. The focus was outward – and the results were fleeting. As one of the nation’s premier Jesuit universities, Gonzaga takes a transformational approach to help leaders change the world from the inside. This introspective focus gives you tools to effect true change in organizations, offer creative approaches to problems, emphasize collaborations, respect diversity, and demonstrate clear vision.

By traveling to Italy and being immersed in a different culture, you are provided an opportunity to use and enhance your communication and leadership skills on a moment by moment basis. What better place to study leadership than Florence, the center of the Italian Renaissance art movement, and the home to the Medicis and Michelangelo. Explore Florence and Tuscany and witness the fruit of the leadership that took place hundreds of years ago to create this magnificent center of art in the world.

Gonzaga University has its own campus in Florence. A typical day would include a few hours in the classroom and an afternoon museum tour.  The evenings are yours to explore the culture of Florence. You will also travel to Siena and Rome and go on tours that include the Vatican and the Coliseum.

The courses are hybrid with online components beginning at the start of summer session. When students return home, they continue to complete their reading and post their integrative papers online.


ORGL 510 – Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century

  • Instructor: Michael Carey, Ph.D.

This course provides an examination of Renaissance leadership as it applies to contemporary organizations. Course study is designed for an interdisciplinary group of students to explore the power of Renaissance thinking as it applies to renewal, rediscovery, invention and creativity. This course will help emerging leaders develop new perspectives and strategies to bring health, creativity and energy to their organizations. Learners will draw upon the creative processes of artists—painters, architects, musicians, and writers–and apply the same dynamics of creative thinking to the practical work of leaders in today’s organizations. Special emphasis will be given to the artists of the Italian Renaissance, especially as developed in the city of Florence.

Course Objectives:

• explain the dynamics involved in the creative process, especially as illustrated by the Italian Renaissance

• apply these dynamics to leadership in contemporary organizations

• draw upon an inter-disciplinary network of colleagues to process an integrative approach to the art of leadership

COML 522 – Renaissance Rhetoric

  • Instructor: John Caputo, Ph.D.

Communication and leadership are closely intertwined, whether in our current period of post-modernity or during the European Renaissance. Fifteenth century Italy and Florence in particular, saw a flowering of the arts and scholarship unmatched in history. This can be seen in the rhetoric of art and architecture, religious preaching, political writing and oratory, and in the humanistic philosophy that emerges from it. Whether the fiery oratory of the Dominican Friar Savonarola trying to reform the republic of Florence, the famous letters of St. Catherine of Siena trying to persuade the Pope to repair a schism in the Church, Nicola Machiavelli’s The Prince as a primer on leadership, or Dante’s Inferno which looks at where bad people and bad behavior will lead — all provide an amazing repository of examples of the birth of humanism and its influence on persuasive discourse to lead social progress. This course examines this period through readings, discussions, and on-site visits to historical settings in Florence and Siena in order to formulate the critical questions necessary to bring these ideas to our contemporary world. Using the Italian Renaissance as the canvas we will study multiple examples of rhetoric, both written and visual.

Course Objectives:

• Explain the role of rhetoric in leadership

• Recognize the multiple artifacts that operate as visual communication and persuasion in Florence, Rome and Siena

• Rhetorically analyze a specific renaissance artifact

• Describe the influence of classical rhetoric in the lives of the leaders in renaissance Italy; and

• Explain the role rhetoric can play in effective leadership in contemporary America.



A typical class day:

  • Class session – 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Caffe discussion – 10:30- 11:00 a.m.
  • Class sessions II – 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Free time – 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Afternoon excursions – 2:30 – 5:30 p.m.

The Program costs include:

  • 3  graduate credits*
  • shared hotel accommodations in Florence and Rome
  • museum entry fees
  • several group meals and excursions
  • group transportation from Rome to Florence
  • day trip with lunch to Siena
Costs not included:
  • airfare
  • most meals
  • personal expenses
  • textbooks

* Students may take 6 credits (both classes), but will be charged an additional $2,820 for tuition.

CaputoDr. John S. Caputo

Dr. Caputo earned his Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate School and University Center. He is Professor and Founder of the Master’s Program in Communication and Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University and the Walter Ong S.J. Scholar. His areas of expertise include media and social values, communication theory, intercultural and interpersonal communication, communication and culture. He is the author of seven books and more than 30 articles. Dr. Caputo has been honored as a Visiting Scholar In-Residence at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, Sapienza University of Rome and the Masters Program in Media and Communication at the Universita de Firenze, Italy. Dr. Caputo directs the Gonzaga-in-Cagli Project, a cultural immersion multi-media program in Italy each summer and has previously directed programs in Derry and Armagh, Northern Ireland. He has been honored with Master Teacher Awards by Western States Communication Association and the University of Texas at Austin and most recently received an Exemplary Faculty Award from Gonzaga University. He has been taking student groups to Italy for the past seventeen years.

CareyDr. Michael Carey

Dr. Michael Carey is the Dean of Gonzaga University’s Virtual Campus and Associate Professor with the Master’s in Organizational Leadership Program. Dean Carey has been an educator for forty years, with experience as a teacher and administrator at the primary, secondary, and higher education levels. He was the first faculty member hired to teach in the Organizational Leadership program when it began in 1987. His academic areas of specialization include Transforming Leadership, Servant-Leadership, and Ignatian Pedagogy. In 2004, Dean Carey started the first online graduate degree program at Gonzaga.

barbara_bentley circle“To say that the ORGL/COML Renaissance Leadership and Rhetoric trip to Italy is a life-changing experience does not do it justice.  The wholeness of the journey, rich in sensory experiences, compelling conversation, personal spiritual reflection, physical feats, and newly formed friendships, is the epitome of educating the whole person.  What I learned in Italy came about because of the wholeness of that experience.  As individuals, we shared one-on-one, small group and classroom conversations – conversations silly and soul-searching, academic and personal.  It seemed as though we were blessed by the ease with which we came together and flowed in and out of groups, and with the dynamic contrast and camaraderie of our professors.  Of course, the brilliant architecture, the stunning art, the wholesome and flavorful food, the fragrant jasmine, the crazy yet fluid traffic, the delicious wine and gelato, the steep streets and multitude of steps, and the nourishing water (with and without gas) came together to provide the background and sustenance of the trip.  Engaging with that background, privately and with others, included lighting candles for loved ones in churches, attending Mass at the Vatican, viewing a very different and amazing Madonna, contemplating what Renaissance rhetoricians and leaders experienced in their environment, climbing a duomo, and so much more.  I think I learned to listen with my eyes, see with my heart, feel with my mind, and think with my soul.  My hope is that this seeing and seeing again leads to greater self-awareness and understanding of others.  My plan is to recognize and apply learning about Renaissance tension between scholasticism and humanism to my current organization’s strategy and design.  My passion is to do so with authenticity as a servant leader in-training.”

-Barbara Bentley

Program information subject to change.

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