September 6, 2022
Ursuline College named rising comics and graphic novels scholar, composition instructor, and social worker Valentino L. Zullo, PhD, LISW as its first Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in English and the Pubic Humanities.
This new postdoctoral position, funded in part by the Cleveland Foundation, is named after Cleveland’s own Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Like the Book Awards, it’s designed to increase understanding of racism and celebrate cultural diversity. To that end, Dr. Zullo will work to enhance Ursuline’s undergraduate academic experience, add inclusivity to Ursuline’s curriculum, and increase connections between the College and the greater Cleveland community.
Jenise M. Snyder, PhD, Interim Dean, Arts, Sciences and Professional Studies, notes that more than 50 percent of Ursuline’s incoming class are people of color, 90 percent are women, and more than 30 percent are the first in their family to attend college. She is confident that Dr. Zullo’s academic background and personal journey will be a tremendous asset in the classroom. “With dual training in the humanities and social work, Dr. Zullo is a publicly engaged teacher with a specialty in graphic narratives and health humanities,” says Dr. Snyder. “He will be reimagining and teaching our first-year composition sequence that is required for all students regardless of major.”
Dr. Zullo, the former Ohio Center for the Book Scholar-in-Residence at the Cleveland Public Library, is the co-lead for the Library’s “Get Graphic” program and the American Editor of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics. He is also a psychotherapist in psychoanalytic training at the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Center and former Maternal Depression Therapist at Ohio Guidestone.
Besides earning a PhD in English and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Kent State University, Dr. Zullo holds a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Arts in English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Bowling Green State University.
“I encourage students to consider how the skills taught in a composition course can be utilized in fields that appear only to be distantly related, like I’ve done with my own efforts in social work and in the public library system,” states Dr. Zullo. “I emphasize the importance of having a personal investment in the work.
“I remember my own experience as a first-generation American and first-gen college student,” states Dr. Zullo, whose mother and father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s from Iran and Italy, respectively. “I found freedom in a deep love of the humanities. I want my students to explore that love, too and to find their unique voices.”