The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute

Italian Americans represent the largest European ancestral group in New York State, New York City, and at CUNY. Thus, the primary purpose of the Institute is to foster higher education among and about Italian-Americans. In so doing, the Institute serves as an intellectual and cultural center, by (a) stimulating the study of Italian Americans through its research, scholarship, public programming, media outlets, counseling services, study abroad, and ultimately by (b) bringing together a community of scholars who can focus on and enhance the Italian-American experience both within and beyond the Italian-American community. This mission is carried out through the major activities in which people engage at Calandra and in the field on a daily basis:

• Conducting and sponsoring empirical, theoretical, and analytical research that will expand, deepen, and strengthen critical understanding of the Italian-American experience.

• Operating specialized counseling programs in areas of outreach, articulation, and student retention at CUNY.

• Publishing a peer-review semi-annual journal on the Italian-American experience, Italian American Review

• Publishing two book series on empirical, theoretical, and analytical research that regards the Italian-American experience.

• Serving as a central clearinghouse for the dissemination of research to academia, government, industry, and the civic community.

• Organizing international conferences, lectures, seminars, and symposia on the Italian-American experience.

• Administering an exchange program between CUNY and Italian universities.

• Maintaining a resource library of printed material (21,000 volumes circa) as well as videos pertaining to the Italian-American experience.

• Maintaining updated listings of Italian-American students and faculty at CUNY as well as faculty, academic scholars, and professionals at other universities.

• Producing and distributing a television program, Italics, informational in nature, geared to the Italian-American community.

• Producing the annual booklet for the Italian Heritage Culture Committee, NY.

The Calandra Institute seeks to accomplish its mission through all of the above-mentioned activities as well as via additional projects that arise in conjunction with other colleges and universities and various cultural organizations and associations.


Italian American Faculty & Staff Advisory Council

The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute of The City University of New York began as the Italian American Institute to Foster Higher Education.  In 1978, New York State Senator John D. Calandra, then chairperson of the Italian Legislative Caucus, called for the creation of an Italian-American institute to address historical, sociological, political, and cultural issues.  The New York conference of Italian-American State Legislators initially funded the Institution in 1979 to address the educational needs and concerns expressed by Italian-American students, faculty and staff at CUNY.  Eight years later, the Institute was renamed in honor of the late Senator John D. Calandra.  In 1995, the CUNY Board of Trustees officially designated the Institute as a university-wide research institute devoted to documenting and preserving the Italian-American experience, under the aegis of Queens College. 

The Italian American Faculty and Staff Advisory Council has its origin with Chancellor Kibbee's directive appointing chairpersons of Italian American advisory committees at each CUNY college.  The Council objectives are to advise the college presidents and Chancellor through the work of the Institute and its Dean on concerns affecting the University’s Italian American community and to safeguard accountability for Italian American personnel within the University.  Additionally, campus delegates articulate the needs of students, faculty and staff at the individual campuses and deliberate ways in which the Institute can address them.

To learn more about the Council, or to express your interest in becoming a campus delegate, contact Dr. Donna Chirico, Chair of the Italian American Faculty Staff Advisory Council, by telephone at 718-262-2687 or by email at

Executive Committee
Chair: Donna Chirico, York College
1st Vice Chair: Diane Forte, Queens College
2nd Vice Chair:  John Rose, Hunter College
Treasurer: Janice Zummo, BMCC
Recording Secretary: Kristina Varade. BMCC

Campus Delegates*

Delegate needed
Alternate needed

Kristina Varade
Janice Zummo, Alternate

Bronx Community    
Giulia Guarnieri
Alternate needed

Diane Forte
Lauren Mancia - Alternate

Delegate needed
Alternate needed

College of Staten Island    
Paola Ureni
Rosanne Carlo - Alternate

CUNY Grad Center    
Delegate needed
Alternate needed

Jessica Phillips
Alternate Needed

Susan Miceli
Ernest  Ialongo - Alternate

John Rose
Carmen Morano, Alternate

John Jay    
Emily Ahmentaj
Alternate needed

Angela Toscano
Alternate needed

Jerry G. Ianni
Alternate needed

Law School    
Florence Kerner
Alternate needed

Joe Tirella
Jennifer Poggiali - Alternate

Medgar Evers
Delegate Needed
Alternate needed

New York City Tech
Delegate Needed
Morris Hounion

Alexandra DeLuise
Paula Costanzo - Alternate

Gina Capozzoli
Stephen di Dio

Donna Chirico
Samuel Ghelli

Calandra Institute
Dean Anthony Tamburri, ex officio

*Not all campuses currently have representation.



The Institute publishes three books series and a peer review scholarly journal. Each book series has its specific criteria. The Historical Monograph Series rescues from potential oblivion those texts that have fallen out of print. Transactions, in turn, publishes those studies and analyses that are longer than the usual journal article but shorter than the usual monograph. Studies in Italian Americana, instead, publishes full-length books, be they single-authored or collections of essays.

Super summer sale! Italian Folk

Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian-American Lives, edited by the Calandra Institute’s Dr. Joseph Sciorra, offers an opportunity to reexamine and rethink what we know about Italian Americans. Sunday dinners, basement kitchens, and backyard gardens are everyday cultural entities long associated with Italian Americans, yet the general perception of them remains superficial and stereotypical at best. This collection of essays explores local knowledge and aesthetic practices, often marked as “folklore,” as sources for creativity and meaning in Italian-American lives. The contributors to this unique book discuss historic and contemporary cultural expressions and religious practices from various parts of the United States and Canada to examine how they operate at local, national, and transnational levels.

For a limited time, you can buy Italian Folk for just $10, plus $3.12 shipping. Click on the PayPal button below to order.

"Sciorra's book conveys a strong sense of urgency to reexamine and re-think what we know about Italian Americans, while contributing to the legitimization of Italian-American folklore." (―Modern Italy)



Anthony J. Tamburri, Dean of the Calandra Institute, presents "Italics", the only TV magazine entirely devoted to Italian-American affairs.

Counseling Programs

The Calandra Institute is unique among the centers and institutes at CUNY in that it has provided counseling services to Italian-American students and the community since 1979. Specialized counselors are trained in and sensitive to the history, culture, and experience of Italians in America, and they bring this awareness to the counseling encounter. Calandra counselors understand the importance of a comprehensive and contemporary model of counseling. Within the process, their holistic approach examines, among other things, cultural values and family relationships.

The counselors are licensed clinicians who provide an array of services that include academic advisement, career development, and personal/psychological counseling. Services are available at the Calandra Institute, at select CUNY campuses, and at high schools in the outer boroughs.


Calandra Center for Career Development
Originally established in 1985, the Center for Career Development was newly reconstituted in 2015 to provide individual career counseling and assessment to current students and members of the Italian-American community who may want to enroll at CUNY in order to pursue continuing education, return to college, or enter college for the first time. Services may include multiple counseling sessions, the administration and interpretation of career inventories, and the dissemination of information regarding the academic majors, degree options, and certificate programs offered at CUNY. Although the services do not include job placement, those who are unemployed, underemployed, and/or career changers are welcome to explore new goals and strategies through individualized counseling sessions designed to explore life goals/roles/purpose. Counselors may also assist clients to develop coping methods regarding stress caused by work-related matters including work/family balance, work/life boundaries, and the transition into retirement. Through the different phases of the career-development process, whether entering a new field, advancing with your current profession, or changing directions, the counselors at the Center will help you identify and develop the skills and resources to achieve your career, educational, and life goals.

Campus Counseling
Counselors work on a number of select CUNY campuses, providing support to Italian-American students navigating the maze of higher education. The retention and development of these students is of prime concern to the Calandra Institute, and it is accomplished by several means. Academic, career, and personal/psychological counseling is provided, as is information on scholarships and study abroad opportunities in Italy. Counselors assist students to develop and refine plans for continuing their studies, from the associate’s degree level to the doctoral and professional levels.

High School Counseling
Outreach services are offered at high schools that have high concentrations of Italian American students and/or where there is a strong interest in Italian language and Italian American culture. Counselors are generally based in the college office or guidance suite, and their primary mission remains the promotion of interest in higher education through the vehicles of career exploration and college advisement with an emphasis on promoting the programs of the City University of New York. High-school outreach services are offered in the outer boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

Seminars and Workshops
For the last several years, Calandra counselors have organized conferences and symposia on issues regarding Italian American mental health. Topics have included domestic violence, elder care, mental illness, grief and loss, and ethnic identity.

Although targeted to Italian Americans, all seminars and workshops are free and available to all, regardless of racial/ethnic background.

Books edited by Calandra counselors were also formally presented to the community, and these publications form a foundation for clinicians working with Italian Americans and for those interested in conducting research on various segments of the population. These books are available for purchase through the Calandra Institute.

The Calandra counselors also produce Il Giornolino, The Italian Journal, a publication of writings in Italian from high-school and college students in Italian classes throughout New York. Submissions are made in a variety of formats, including essay, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.








Sociodemographic Studies

Director: Dr. Vincenzo Milione

Research and Technical Coordinator: Mr. Carmine Pizzirusso

Demographics Coordinator: Ms. Itala Pelizzoli

The Institute conducts socio-demographic studies of Italian Americans in the United States and in various geographic regions by state, urban area and regions. The demographic profiles highlight the family structure, life cycles, economics, educational achievements, occupational participation, and cultural presence of Italian Americans. Temporal studies are conducted to assess changes in the population. Demographic studies are conducted using census data detailing individual responses as well as surveys of Italian-American populations to obtain contemporary trends.

The City University of New York Italian American Affirmative Action Trends: 1978-2007

Analysis for Italian-American Faculty and Staff

Special Report: The United States Census Bureau Releases the First Annual Census Data of Italian Americans

Socio-demographic Studies of Italian-Americans

Italian Diaspora

Scholars and Professional Research Project

Italian-American Youth and Educational Achievement levels:How are we doing?

Distinguished Professor Fred Gardaphe of the Calandra Institute speaks about the "controversy" that surrounded the MTV show "Jersey Shore" and the nature of the Italian-American phenomenon of the "Guido sub-culture".
( 07:00 pm - 07:00 pm )
( 07:00 pm - 07:00 pm )
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