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Domestic Off-campus Programs

Meeting with Domestic Off-Campus Programs

4 October 2012

Attendees:   Farrah Bernardino, Bruce Coriell, Kathy Giuffre, Michael Grace, Mark Lee, Kristina Lybecker, Carol Neel, Eric Popkin, James Silvester

1)      Off-Campus Programs: Concern about off-campus programs trying to do too much, hard-pressed by initiation of Mediterranean studies. Professors are often stretched to teach classes for only 4 students. We need to think about the motivation behind these experiences, especially regarding the ACM.  The ACM Newberry Program, which has lasted over 50 years, is losing interest because it is invested in academic tourism.  Exchange programs can be a good model, for example, domestic programs like ACM Chicago. A section of our middle-class students do not have the opportunities to study in these programs.

2)      Baca: There have been bad encounters with students but other professors enjoy the closeness of interaction between students and professors. Is there a larger, educational, pedagogical purpose of being there? Benefits of Baca are that students don’t have to deal with outside distractions and commitments. Tension between leaving and staying. It may be a retreat-model, and that is perhaps something not to be ashamed of.  Some students cannot afford Baca programs that may cost $21 a day because they are used to minimal living standards. There shouldn’t be a two-tiered educational system, and we want to take students for the lowest cost possible.  As an institution we have perhaps thought well about why we have the property and what purpose it serves. Classes that seem to consistently go to Baca are Religion classes that connect with religious communities; environmental stewardship classes; FYE and winter orientation. There used to be scheduling issues regarding procedure but that has perhaps improved.

3)      Why have these programs?: Have we articulated, in a forceful way, why we think it is important to get students off-campus? What do we think, as an institution, about the “Southwest”? Why do we do domestic off-campus? It has to be something that we can’t do here, but it must enrich what we’re doing at CC. Faculty have a hard time parsing their own desire to do something and how good it is for students. 

4)      Equity of access: Those who advocate most strongly for opportunities off campus get them, and that is not equitable.  But what is equity – ensuring equal access (limiting who can travel when) or supporting individual students? Caring for the faculty creates a better program for the students.

5)      Experience: Economics department does not allow students to get credit because experience is not necessarily academic enough. We like the idea of students having a graduating capstone community experience. As an institution we understand how experience is part of the block plan but we downplay what we already know; what are the ways in which experience is a rigorous, learning opportunity. Can internships be a part of the conversation? How can we take advantage of the block plan to incorporate internships/undergraduate research?

6)      Should we consider an 11-block year?