Dear members of the extended Brandeis University community,
I am excited to report a number of new developments at “Global Brandeis.” These programs are the result of months and years of preparation, as well as the dedication of a number of faculty and staff members across campus. They are an outgrowth of our “sustained global commitments” — both abroad and on our campus.
Our new programs in Israel and The Hague reflect a twenty-first century approach to education abroad, where such experiences are an organic part of the Brandeis liberal arts curriculum. We hope that, in future years, high school students considering Brandeis from among a list of other schools will see these and other programs as highlights, and, while here, will prepare for them as early as new student orientation and will weave learning from them into their college careers.
In the 1960s, Brandeis University was one of the first U.S. universities to set up a study abroad program in Israel. Now, in collaboration with Middlebury College and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Brandeis is launching a new study abroad program in Beer-Sheva, Israel. The program, to begin in spring 2012, is designed for high intermediate and advanced Hebrew language students, and all coursework will be conducted in Hebrew. Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad J. Scott Van Der Meid, and Director of Hebrew Language and Literature Prof. Vardit Ringvald, were instrumental in setting up this program from the Brandeis side.
In addition, you may have received the announcement about the Massachusetts trade mission to Israel. Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick invited IBS Dean Bruce Magid to join the delegation, which represents leading business executives and government officials. (You can also view a “Day One” NECN interview with Dean Magid here.) Expect to hear more about this and related efforts to establish ties to Israeli institutions in the next few months.
The Hague, Netherlands
A pilot program that began in summer 2010 has led to the establishment of “Brandeis in The Hague,” a series of academic programs located in this city of international peace and justice. Students can choose between a summer 2011 six-week intensive program or a new semester-long option available in spring 2012. Developed in collaboration with our partner institution, the historic University of Leiden, coursework includes small seminars on law and global justice — as well as opportunities to visit, research, and engage with the international courts and tribunals. Once again, thanks go to J. Scott Van Der Meid, as well as Faculty Director Prof. Richard Gaskins, and Program Manager Alyssa Grinberg for bringing this unique program to life.
Application deadlines for both Hague programs, and for the new Israel program, are coming up soon. The Hague summer program application is due March 18, and the deadline for The Hague and Israel spring semester programs is April 13.
Even as we renew and expand commitments overseas, it is important to continue our sustained global commitments at home, too. This was the fundamental message of a two-day Forum that Brandeis recently hosted on the globalization of higher education, drawing 22 administrators and faculty from around the U.S. Brandeis continues to be a player in the dialogue about educational globalization — as demonstrated by our staff leadership in NAFSA: Association of International Education Administrators, The Forum on Education Abroad, The Association of International Education Administrators, and other organizations.
We also just released a report on the “Global Brandeis Symposia” — a series of faculty dialogues on twenty-first century international higher education — that has been distributed among these organizations.
One of the primary goals of the Office of Global Affairs has been to foster collaboration between different units and people on campus. Early on, we created a “Global Brandeis Fund” to support the development of promising cross-campus initiatives through small seed grants. Re-launched this year, we’ve just awarded seed grants to four new projects:
- An “immigrant support practicum,” a two-credit add-on course that will involve Brandeis students interacting with the local immigrant community;
- A “study abroad student journal” featuring student writing, artwork, and other creative pieces from those studying abroad;
- A “collaborative partnership in global health” that will match a Brandeis alumnus who is a professor in Ghana with faculty and students at Brandeis for possible workshop and journal work; and
- And a “research project on cross-cultural differences in attention” that will compare U.S. and Turkish populations’ attention spans, involving undergraduate students in psychology for advanced laboratory work.
I offer my congratulations to these exciting new ventures; we will be updating you on their progress as the year continues.