Maria DiFrancesco

Professor and Exploratory Director, World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Phone: 607-274-3547
Office: Muller Faculty Center 411, Ithaca, NY 14850
Speciality: Contemporary Spanish Literature; Exile; Migration in Spanish Literature and Culture

About Maria DiFrancesco

I am a seasoned professional in higher education and hold a Ph.D. from the Romance Languages & Literatures Department of SUNY-Buffalo. Having specialized in contemporary Spanish literature and film, I approach narrative and visual texts through the prism of women's, gender, and sexuality studies. I have secondary expertise in disciplinary theory associated with space and place as well as human migration and exile.

I regularly engage with a broad range of students. I have deep and extensive experience teaching all levels of Spanish language, literature, film, and culture. I possess substantial knowledge of best practices and teaching strategies associated with transition from secondary school to college, first-year student faculty advising, peer mentorship, and community building.

I believe that a student's academic success and continued cognitive development is intimately linked to their physical, social, and mental wellbeing. As Director of Ithaca College's Exploratory Program, I have worked with campus partners to develop and manage college-wide programming geared towards helping students strike a balance between competing aims and priorities. Recent programs have centered on mindfulness, career-readiness, building growth mindset/resilience, and developing S.M.A.R.T goals.

As the faculty associate of Ithaca's FIRST Place residential learning community, I collaborate closely with Residential Life staff to serve the college's first-generation students. Our programming and events are aimed at breaking down systemic barriers that interfere with college success and building strong networks of support to ensure student progress.

Current Projects

  • Connecting Medusa's Islands: A memoir (creative non-fiction)
  • Fostering Intentional Academic Exploration in the Humanities (NEMLA panel and related book project)