Christine Meloni being honored in Tokyo by former students

Dr. Christine Foster Meloni

Faculty: Emeriti

Background

Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of English as a Foreign Language

Christine Foster Meloni was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an adolescence shaped by closely-knit neighborhood communities and an abundance of lakes and parks.  Meloni recounts, “We all think that we grew up in a ‘Golden Age’ in a golden place.”  Despite the relative homogeneity of Minneapolis, Meloni developed an interest in different cultures from a young age with early designs on pursuing a career at the United Nations.  She remembers, “I’d always been interested in languages and other cultures, ever since I can remember.”

Meloni attended Wells College, situated in upstate New York on picturesque Lake Cayuga.  She opted early on to major in Italian, despite the fact that Wells College did not offer such a concentration.  Encouraged by her Italian professor, Meloni successfully petitioned the college and pursued a highly individualized course of study, personally selecting special topics in Italian language and literature to complete her degree.  While at Wells, she gave up the idea of working at the UN because she wanted to remain in academia. Meloni earned a number of advanced degrees in Italian, linguistics, and education from institutions such as the Middlebury Graduate School of Italian in Florence, the University of Rome, American University, and George Washington University.

After completing her MA in Italian, Meloni decided to spend two years in Rome to perfect her Italian and then return to the US to teach. Teaching Italian was not, however, to be her destiny. She met and married a Roman and taught English to Italians for ten years in Rome.  Arriving at George Washington in 1977, she began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English as a Foreign Language (EFL), teaching a diverse range of students from countries such as Iran, Venezuela, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the Ivory Coast. 

In the early 1990s, Meloni developed a keen interest in the use of computer technology to teach foreign languages, and she designed numerous collaborative Internet projects for her students with EFL colleagues in France, Norway, Finland, the Czech Republic, South Korea, and China. She has been an invited speaker at conferences in Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Colombia, Canada, Italy, Russia, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, and Japan as well as the US.  She has written widely on this subject including Internet for English Teaching (co-authored with M. Warschauer and H. Shetzer). The U.S. State Department has issued its own edition of this book and makes copies available to English teachers through its embassies worldwide.

Meloni received the Columbian College Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1989 for “her originality and resourcefulness in the development of techniques for bringing new excitement to the study of English for international students and for her nurturing care in the assimilation of her students into American university life.”

Outside of the classroom, Meloni served as the chair of the University's Fulbright Committee and continues to be a committee member.  “It is very inspiring to interview our candidates and hear their proposals. They all feel that the international experience would benefit them personally, academically, and professionally.”  She was a member of the Council on International Programs (CIP) and chaired CIP’s Committee on University EFL Requirements and the University Committee to Review International Agreements. She also served on several university-wide committees dealing with technology at GW including the 2001 Strategic Planning Academic Instructional Technology Committee.

In addition to Italian, Meloni has also studied French, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Hebrew and cites a vast range of personal interests.  She is currently learning Norwegian while writing a family genealogy, which involved a recent trip to Norway to further her personal research. Meloni is also the author of Powdered Peas and Other Blessings: Life in an Orphanage in Naples, Italy, a collection of 21 stories from Case Materna, a Neapolitan orphanage that housed and educated thousands of children. She was a volunteer in this orphanage in the summer of 1962.

Meloni agrees with actor and film director Woody Allen who finds ‘retirement’ a scary word. “I have always loved teaching and I am not ready to stop teaching yet. Last fall I taught an online course called ‘The 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign’ to students enrolled in the Business School at Yakutsk State University in Siberia. I hope to continue teaching online courses to students abroad. Technology has certainly created new educational opportunities for students around the world, especially in remote areas. And more opportunities for teachers as well.” 

Education

B.A., Italian Language and Literature, Wells College
M.A., Italian Language and Literature, Middlebury Graduate School of Italian in Italy
M.A., Philosophy of Education, University of Rome
M.A., Linguistics, American University
Ed.D., Higher Education/International Education, George Washington University