Committee elects to end FSP

by Christopher Kao | 11/11/93 6:00am

A committee of department chairs voted yesterday to terminate the College's exchange program to Budapest University of Arts and Social Sciences because no academic department will take responsibility for running the program.

The exchange, which is not an official College Foreign Study Program, allows students to spend a term in Budapest studying history, government or economics. There are currently 17 students on the exchange program.

Psychology Professor George Wolford said the council voted to cancel the program because it lacked support from a specific department and from faculty members.

Wolford is the chair of the social science division council, which is made up of the chairs of each of the social sciences departments.

"For a program to be successful, it has to have a strong departmental base," Wolford said.

Currently professors from the economics, history and government departments sponsor the program.

"It didn't have a department home nor did it have a faculty member who would be primarily responsible for it," said geography department chair Richard Barff.

He said the program lacked "a person who inspired the program, who brought the program about."

Earlier this term, the professors who run the program said they would not continue to coordinate it.

"Most people felt it was a good program but our problem was that the faculty who [were in charge] resigned from the program," Wolford said.

"We didn't have enough faculty committed to the program in the first place," he said. "They had always hoped there would be additional people."

Five years ago, professors met with Dean of Faculty James Wright and recommended the program continue on the condition that new professors were sought to take charge of the program, said Economics Professor Lee Baldwin.

The Budapest transfer program started in 1985, and has been successful, according to Baldwin

"Collectively and personally, students say it's been their most valuable experience at Dartmouth," he said.

Wolford said the University of Budapest has also been pleased with the program.

"The host institution was notified of the resignation of the faculty several weeks ago. They were disappointed," Wolford said. "They liked having Dartmouth students there. They weren't pushing this termination."

Wolford said there will be a new geography department program in Prague. It will not be equivalent to the Budapest program but it may satisfy some students who wish to study in Eastern Europe, he said.

Barff said programs need both strong faculty and departmental support to succeed, and the Budapest program had neither.

"Programs and people come and go," Barff said. "It just came about that things have changed."

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