College reverses February Guarini Institute budget cuts, reinstates study abroad programs in six departments

Structural budget deficits and rising program costs will still require an overall reduction in faculty-led programs to an average of 31 or 32 per academic year.

by Ben Fagell | 5/25/21 2:05am

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Early this spring, the College reversed its February decision to slash the Guarini Institute for International Education’s expense budget by 28% due to additional funding made available by the College to the Arts and Sciences, Guarini executive director John Tansey confirmed in an email statement. The reversal will enable Guarini to reinstate ten study abroad programs in six departments over the next year, covering additional program expenses that are expected to total approximately $1 million, he added.

The reinstated programs, as listed on the Guarini Institute’s website, are the LSA+ in Tokyo run by the Asian societies, cultures, and languages department, the LSA and LSA+ in Toulouse, France and the LSA and LSA+ in Rome run by the French and Italian department, the FSP in Prague run by the geography department, the LSA and LSA+ in Berlin run by the German studies department, the FSP in London run by the music department, and the LSA in Buenos Aires, Argentina run by the Spanish and Portuguese department. Many of the programs had been reduced in frequency — from once a year to once every two years, or from multiple times a year to fewer — but are now able to offer additional terms.

To address Guarini’s structural budget deficit and rising program costs, Tansey wrote, the Institute will still reduce the number of faculty-led programs — foreign study programs, language study abroads and domestic study programs — from an average of 42 annual offerings to an average of 31 or 32. Prior to the College’s reversal, Guarini planned to offer “about 25 programs” in the 2021-2022 academic year.

“For a number of years now, [Guarini’s] program expenses have been growing at a rate faster than revenue growth, in terms of our funding,” Tansey said in an interview. “We had to close a budget gap, and that has resulted in a longer-term reduction in the number of programs [Guarini is] offering.”

The previously announced budget reductions for the 2023 and 2024 fiscal years have also been reversed, Tansey wrote. 

For the upcoming year, Tansey said he sought to reinstate study abroads in the programs and departments that had been “most affected” by cancellations caused by the pandemic and ones that he thought had enough faculty and student interest to feasibly run in the near future.

Music professor and program director Sally Pinkas said she received an email two weeks ago notifying her that she could now lead the reinstated Music FSP to London during the 2022 spring term, an opportunity she said she “jumped at” and saw as a “unique opportunity to see the revival of the performing arts” as venues open. She noted the increased funding that has made the trip possible.

“This is a seminal experience that can be life-changing,” Pinkas said. “I think that we're doing our students a huge service by offering it because we cannot bring in all the performing musicians to Hanover that are normally found in a town like London. This is a very important part of a Dartmouth education, and I'm thrilled that we can offer it again.”

The music department had initially planned to run the program in the spring term of 2020, but the pandemic forced the cancellation of the trip about two weeks before the group left for London, Pinkas said. She noted that she had already lined up about 35 events with tickets and had signed the final arrangements with the off-campus programs office.

“In hindsight, [cancelling the 2020 program] was absolutely the right decision because things went downhill very fast,” Pinkas said. “This was a [COVID-19] casualty … We were all very excited, and we had a stellar lineup of opera and orchestra and chamber and off-the-wall concerts — great things — but we had to give it up.”

Pinkas said she has been in frequent communication with her counterparts in London regarding the spring 2022 trip to ensure that the program can be offered safely, noting that the group is going “with the full assurance [it] can manage whatever might happen.”

Programs that had been affected by the February budget cuts are not the only ones who have been faced with significant challenges recently — even programs that were spared in the cuts have had to grapple with pandemic-related setbacks.

Italian professor Danielle Callegari said she wanted to lead the Italian LSA in fall 2021 to Rome once safety allowed. 

“As soon as it was safe, it was absolutely urgent to begin bringing students back to the Rome center because it's absolutely integral to, not just the Italian major at Dartmouth, but actually to the Dartmouth experience,” Callegari said.

According to Callegari, she has modified the trip to keep the group in Rome and minimize travel within the broader region.

“My program in the fall will be focused on the city of Rome itself,” Callegari said. “We'll have a deep dive into that urban space and that greater regional identity, thus also eliminating the need for movements that are extra-regional or territorial, and hopefully keeping everyone safer that way.”

Other study abroad offerings have also seen significant changes. One FSP, a joint program between the anthropology and the linguistics departments slated for winter 2022, is being moved from New Zealand to Hawaii, according to linguistics professor and the 2022 program’s faculty director Laura McPherson.

“New Zealand wouldn’t let us in unless we did a two-week quarantine, and even then, the University of Auckland wasn't really supporting any international students other than the ones enrolled in their own degree programs,” McPherson said. “We didn’t really have a choice.” 

McPherson noted that Hawaii was a logical selection for the program’s relocation due to the broader Polynesian language focus of both locations that creates a “decent amount of continuity” between the two destinations. However, she added that the switch is unlikely to be permanent — the program may return to New Zealand in the future.

Sarah Jewett ’23 said she is excited for the trip to Hawaii but expressed some disappointment in not being able to travel to New Zealand.

“I prefer to go to New Zealand. I think I wanted that more international experience,” Jewett said. “… I'm not going to pass up the opportunity, but I remember I was really looking forward to a different culture that's not still in the U.S. and pretty adjacent.”

Jewett added that she is concerned that her friends who signed up for the program will back out because of the location change, potentially causing the trip to be canceled entirely.

“I was really looking forward to the people I was going with,” Jewett said. “…I think we're all in this place that, ‘Maybe we won't go now.’ If a bunch of us decide not to go, then it doesn't even run.”