Macalester Today Fall 2011

kathleen murray

Provost Kathleen Murray

New Exchange Programs

Now there's a new way for Mac students to study abroad. The college has recently arranged exchange agreements with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and Sciences Po in Franc, allowing their students to come to Mac and Mac students to study there.

these exchanges, unlike typical study abroad programs, will enable more Macalester students to study abroad without increasing the college's study-away budget. Students pay tuition to their home institutions, so no money crosses the ocean. The five-year goal is that an equal number of students will go in each direction.

Developing these exchanges allows Mac to offer more study-away possibilities for students in fields like chemistry, "where students really need more options," says Provost Kathleen Murray.

Because the study of chemistry, like that of many sciences, is sequential, it has been hard for majors to leave campus for a semester. Chemistry professor and chair Becky Hoye, who has visited NTU, feels the academic programs are compatible; instruction is in English. Fewer than 10 percent of students in chemistry, physics, and mathematics and computer science currently study abroad, estimates International Center Director Paul Nelson.

“Sciences Po [formally the Institut d’Etudes Politiques] is the most prestigious of the Paris universities for political science,” says Nelson. It has a main campus in Paris and six satellite campuses, each with its area of specialty, he says, and offers lots of courses in English.

The exchange programs will probably launch in fall 2012. Even students who don’t study abroad stand to benefit, since the programs will bring more international students to campus.

Murray, who originally proposed this cost-effective method of expanding Mac’s study away opportunities, is also spearheading preliminary conversations with northern Israel’s Tel Hai College. This possibility grew out of classics professor Andy Overman’s connections to the area through the Omrit archaeological excavation (see article on page 26). Tel Hai’s unique draw lies in their commitment to serving a diverse population and addressing the political challenges of the modern Middle East.

Within a year, says Murray, Macalester would like to have in place 10 international exchange programs, with an ultimate goal of establishing 25 to 30. Says Murray, “We’re looking carefully for programs that fill a niche for us.”