New curriculum agreement between MU, Florence University of the Arts

New curriculum agreement between MU, Florence University of the Arts


Earlier this month, Marymount University signed an agreement with Florence University of the Arts – The American University of Florence (FUA-AUF) that will result in new, exceptional educational opportunities for students in Marymount’s School of Design and Art to study in Florence, Italy. Haute Couture was born in Florence, and the city is home to many famous designers that include Ferragamo, Gucci, Cavalli and Pucci.

A step above what a traditional study abroad program would provide, the agreement allows FUA-AUF to be a key part of the core experience for Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, Interior Design, Graphic & Media Design and Studio Art students at Marymount. Beginning in the Fall 2023 semester, the University expects to send cohorts of 10 to 15 students to Italy once a year through the partnership.

“As we look for new partners across the world, we are always considering institutions with a high amount of diversity,” said Grace Joh, Vice President for University Relations, Communications and Marketing at FUA-AUF. “We can definitely tell that Marymount’s administrators and staff take the student experience very seriously. It’s not often in academia that you meet systems and processes that are embracing of change and new visions. We are really looking forward to the further developments that we can create together.”

The nature of this agreement will not only help increase academic benefits and marketplace connections, but also offer lifelong, cultural benefits that many students would not have had the chance to experience otherwise.

“As a Hispanic-Serving Institution that has a significant commitment to diversity, Marymount prides itself on supporting social mobility while also opening our students’ eyes to the whole world,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “This innovative partnership will allow our Saints who are on scholarships and financial aid to receive a life-changing opportunity to study abroad, with all of the advantages that it brings in building a global perspective.”

The agreement between the two universities will allow both institutions to develop a curriculum together that directly benefits students, their progress within their majors and their overall college experience.

“A lot of times, you see pathways and curriculum involvement that doesn’t allow students to graduate on time,” Joh explained. “We’re working on these programs to allow students to advance in their academic career, and give them an experienced approach to the future of careers that they want to get involved in.”

The Dean of Marymount University’s College of Business, Innovation, Leadership and Technology (BILT), added that FUA-AUF’s approach to experiential learning and career development closely aligns with BILT’s commitment to career preparation and practical experiences.

“Having our School of Design and Art programs, as well as Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, tightly integrated into FUA-AUF’s programs will allow our students to get their education at the center of international art and design,” Aberman said.

For Doug Seidler, who gets to directly see his students’ work as Director of the School of Design and Art and Professor of Interior Design, the impact of this partnership will be positively felt for current and future generations of Saints at Marymount.

“This is a very big and positive step in our dream of making the School of Design and Art one of the top fashion, design and art schools in the United States.”