Off-campus programs will expand

by Ester Cross | 7/4/13 10:00pm

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The grant will endow the Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education, an umbrella organization for the College's off-campus programs, and the associate dean of international and interdisciplinary studies, a position held by Lynn Higgins.

The Global Dartmouth strategic planning committee suggested ways to increase the College's overseas presence in March, such as expanding programs in cities around the world.

"[The grant] contributes very positively to Dartmouth's image abroad because Dartmouth is a relatively small school, given our peer schools, and we have a big footprint around the world," Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno said. "We want that footprint to be bigger and we'd like to be even better known internationally than we are."

The grant will not tackle increased costs of studying abroad, which have been a significant concern to students, Mastanduno said.

"I think the financial costs of education in general and off-campus education, in particular, are a big concern for all senior administrators here, including President Philip Hanlon," Mastanduno said. "So everyone is sensitive to those costs, but I wouldn't make any particular linkage to the gift at this point."

The grant has not yet been distributed to academic departments and programs. To receive funding for programs, faculty members will submit requests to the institute.

Additional funding will be awarded in Guarini's will, endowing off-campus programs and the deanship position to perpetuity, said Ann Root Keith, interim senior vice president for advancement.

The grant would allow the geography department's Prague foreign study program to "create room for innovation," geography professor Christopher Sneddon said. He added that the department may establish additional programs.

Grant money would also allow program directors to hire staff on site to manage preparatory work and plan excursions.

Off-campus program expansion in the government department is unlikely given the need to balance high demand in off-campus programs and classes offered on campus, department chair John Carey said.

While there are usually three times as many applicants as there are spaces on the government FSP at the London School of Economics, expanding the program would be both costly and unlikely given the finite number of spaces offered to Dartmouth students by the school, he said.

Other departments have recently expanded their offerings. The film and media studies department launched an FSP in Los Angeles that will begin in the winter of 2014, and the Chinese department launched a language study abroad plus program in Beijing last fall.

The Spanish and Portuguese department has begun obtaining administrative approval for four new programs, department chair Raul Bueno said. The Portuguese LSA in Salvador, Brazil will become an LSA+ next summer when culture and literature components are added to the curriculum.

Bueno added that the department is considering a new FSP in Rio de Janeiro that will run every two years and start next winter.

"I am hopeful and happy with the idea that the new funds will serve this new particular cause," Bueno said.

New Spanish-language programs include an LSA+ in Cuzco, Peru and another in Santander, Spain. The program in Peru will begin in fall 2014 and will replace the Buenos Aires LSA.

Dartmouth is ranked second among Ivy League schools and eighth among doctorate institutions for study abroad participation, according to the Institute of International Education's 2010-2011 Open Doors report. Around 60 percent of students take part in 43 study abroad programs in 24 countries.

Yale University recently surpassed Dartmouth as the Ivy League university with the highest student participation rate in study abroad programs.

In 2011, Yale established the first liberal arts college in Singapore in collaboration with the National University of Singapore. With the establishment of Yale-NUS, Yale became the only Ivy League university with an overseas undergraduate campus.

New York University has been hailed as a leading institution in expanding education abroad. NYU Abu Dhabi was established in 2010 and NYU Shanghai will welcome its first class in September.

Although Dartmouth is considering joining other universities in providing global online education and has maintained a formal partnership with the American University in Kuwait since 2003, the College has no plans to build campuses abroad.

"I have to say that the quality of our education is pretty much embedded on the residential campus and with our off-campus programs," Mastanduno said. "I think you'd find that some of the schools who made these initial jumps to try to plant their flags all around the world with branch campuses are reconsidering the wisdom of that. I don't see that as something Dartmouth will come to do in the near future."