Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

“…A passi tardi e lenti”: A Humanist’s Outreach to Non-traditional Students

Dr James Conley.

Educators moving slowly and step by step through the twenty-first century’s exhausting array of innovative technologies and diverse student populations may frequently share with Petrarch the reality of a thoughtful solitude, although exchanging the poet’s “most deserted fields” for the sometimes sterile world of computer keyboard and monitor:

Solo e pensoso i piu deserti campi
Vo mesurando a passi tardi e lenti…

Alone and pensive the most deserted fields
I go measuring with belated and weary steps…

This paper will address a new direction for bringing the resources and benefits of a quality higher education to non-traditional students as varied as police officers and fire rescue personnel for the City of Miami, working adults in the hectic commercial environment of South Florida, and new immigrants, especially from the Caribbean with their particular linguistic and social challenges.

The paper will refer to the use of online materials in three specific circumstances: the assignment of an autobiographical sketch for a “compressed” format “Business Communications” course offered at the City of Miami Main Police Station, the discussion of authors like William Wordsworth and Ernest Hemingway and Jamaica Kincaid to a group of working adults in a literature course that fulfills humanities requirements of an “Organizational Leadership” continuing education degree, and the discussion of Petrarch’s Canzoniere to undergraduates in a “Renaissance Literature” course populated to a large extent by immigrants or their university-age children


Dr James Conley  (United States)
Professor & Chairperson
Department of Communication Arts, English and Humanities
St. Thomas University

Born in Chicago. Attended Hardey Preparatory (Chicago), Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Illinois), and Georgetown University (BA, English 1966). MA, Italian, Middlebury College, 1968. Ph.D. Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin, 1974. Instructor, Gonzaga-in-Florence (1971-74) and Villanova University (1974-76). Professor, St. Thomas University (1976-Present)

  • Online Resources
  • Non-traditional Students
  • Business Communications
  • World Literature
  • Petrarch
  • Renaissance Studies

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)