Casilde Isabelli, Ph.D.

Department Chair; Professor, Spanish
Headshot of Casilde Isabelli


Casilde A. Isabelli, Ph.D., is the department chair and a professor of Spanish (linguistics). In 2001, she received her Ph.D. in Spanish applied linguistics, with a certificate in second language acquisition and teacher education (SLATE), from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

She was the director of the basic Spanish language program from 2000-2014, where she also created and developed the online versions of SPAN 111, 112 and 211 and the hybrid versions of SPAN 111 and 112. In addition to teaching at the University of Nevada, Reno, she has taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Universitat de Barcelona and as a visiting associate professor at Sonoma State University. Finally, she has put theory to practice by writing Spanish textbooks for the university level. She was a co-author for the 9th edition of McGraw-Hill's beginning Spanish textbook  Puntos de Partida, and is currently a co-author on the second-year intermediate Spanish language textbook,  En Tu Medio, with John Wiley & Sons Publishing.

Along with Assistant Professor Tania Leal, she co-hosted the 2019 Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference XV at the University of Nevada, Reno. Isabelli is also the faculty advisor for Sigma Delta Pi (National Hispanic Honor Society).

Research interests:

My principal areas of research focus on the effects of immersion (study-abroad) experiences and formal instruction on the acquisition of syntactic features in adult SLA and pyscholinguistically motivated theories behind SLA - for example, processing instruction and language transfer. One of my research goals is to build bridges between the disciplines of SLA theory and language instruction. My secondary areas of research focus on the use of specific syntactic features of Spanish heritage speakers (multilingualism) and the use and effects of technology in a Spanish language program.

Courses taught:

  • WLL 703 Teaching of Foreign Languages Seminar
  • WLL 455/655 Romance Applied Linguistics
  • WLL 470 Multiculturalism in Literature and Film: The Italian Immigrant Experience to the U.S. (USAC- Viterbo, Italy)
  • SPAN 461/661 History of the Spanish Language
  • SPAN 451/651 Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics
  • SPAN 400 Practicum in Spanish in the Community
  • SPAN 312 Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
  • SPAN 305 & 306 Spanish Composition I & II
  • SPAN 212 Second Year Spanish II
  • SPAN 111 First Year Spanish I
  • CH 201 Core Humanities: Ancient & Medieval Cultures; discussion leader

Scholarly books

Academic books

  • Fonder-Solano, L., Isabelli, C.A., & Martínez, M.M. (2018). En tu medio: Intermediate (1st ed.). Hoboken, NY: John Wiley Publications.
  • Dorwick, T., Perez Girones, A.M., Becher, A., & Isabelli, C.A. (2012).  Puntos de partida: An invitation to Spanish (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Publishers.

Peer reviewed articles & chapters

  • Isabelli, C.A. (2020). Contextual effects in processing OVS constructions in Spanish: A partial replication of VanPatten and Houston (1998) and Malovrh (2006). In J. Rothman (Ed.), Research on second language processing and processing instruction: Studies in honor of Bill VanPatten (Studies in bilingualism series). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Press.
  • Lafford, B., & Isabelli, C.A. (2018). Programas de estudios en el extranjero. In J. Muñoz-Basols, E. Gironzetti, & M. Lacorte (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of Spanish language teaching: Metodologías, contextos y recursos para la enseñanza del español L2 (pp. 505-518). London, UK: Routledge.
  • Isabelli, C.A., & Muse, S. (2016). Service-Learning in the Latino Community: The impact on Spanish heritage language students and the community.  Heritage Language Journal (Special Issue on Service-Learning), 13(3), 331-353.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2013). Student learning outcomes in hybrid and face-to-face beginning Spanish language courses.  The future of education: Conference proceedings 2013 (pp. 649-654). Edizioni.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2008). First noun principle or L1 transfer principle in SLA? Hispania, 91(2), 463-476.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2007). Development of the Spanish subjunctive by advanced learners: Study-abroad followed by at-home instruction.  Foreign Language Annals, 40(2), 330-341.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2006a). Mood selection: Northern Nevada Latinos. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 10(1), 18-22.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2006b). Use of Spanish among the Latino community in Northern Nevada.  Border-Lines: Journal of the Latino Research Center, 1(1), 16-35.
  • Isabelli, C.A., & Nishida, C. (2005). Development of Spanish subjunctive in a nine-month study-abroad setting. In D. Eddington (Ed.), Selected proceedings of the 6th conference on the acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese as first and second languages (pp. 78-91). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2004a). Study abroad for advanced foreign language majors: Optimal duration for developing complex structures. In H. Byrnes & H. Maxim (Eds.), Advanced foreign language learning: A challenge to college programs (pp. 114-130). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.
  • Isabelli, C.A. (2004b). The acquisition of the null subject parameter properties in SLA: Some effects of positive evidence in a natural learning setting.  Hispania, 87, 150-162.

Conference presentations

  • May 2019  “Successful Curricular Innovations to Increase Foreign Language Majors and Minors: UNR’s Department of World Languages & Literatures Story”, 2019 American Assoc. of Dept. of Foreign Languages, Summer Seminar.
  • Mar. 2019 With C. Nishida. “Articulating Sentence Focus with Unaccusative Verbs Knowledge and Learning by Spanish Heritage Language Speakers”.  American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference. Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Feb. 2018  “Language Program Assessment: SLOs, Core, Rubrics, and Implementation”.  Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT). Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • Feb. 2017  With B. Lafford. “The nature and assessment of the study abroad classroom and the facilitation of effective SA programs.” The Center for Languages & Intercultural Communication at Rice Univ. Conference on Study Abroad.
  • July 2016   “Heritage-language learners of Spanish and their service learning experience.” 98th Annual American Assoc. of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Conference. Miami, Florida.
  • July 2016   “A comparison of web-based learning environments: Challenges and strategies for success.” 98th Annual AATSP Conference. Miami, Florida.
  • Nov. 2014  “From the diary of a language program director: The program challenges and successes in using technology in blended, hybrid, online courses and looking forward to the flipped classroom.” Midwestern Association of Language Learning and Technology. Bloomington, IL.
  • June 2013  “Student learning outcomes in hybrid and face-to-face beginning Spanish language courses.”  3rd Conference on The Future of Education.  Florence, Italy.
  • July 2012   “Spanish gender agreement in L1 English and Italian second language learners: The effects of the study abroad context.” AATSP. San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Dec. 2009  “Development of subject expression in Spanish: The effects of a study abroad experience.” The MLA Conference: Division for Applied Linguistics.  Philadelphia, PA.
  • Oct. 2008  “Contextual effects in processing L2 sentences.” The Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Conference. Reno, NV

Curriculum vitae


  • Ph.D., Spanish Applied Linguistics, and a certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
  • M.A., Hispanic Literature and Linguistics, University of Iowa, 1994
  • B.S., Mathematics & Spanish, Illinois State University, 1992