University lacks centers

Sascha Matuszak

In some areas, the University is trailing behind the competition in terms of internationalization.
The University is lagging behind in a traditional measurement of international curriculum — the presence and number of National Resource Centers for international studies.
NRCs are established under the Title VI program of the Department of Education.
This program establishes a government-funded resource center at a university to study an aspect of international affairs, usually a geographical area.
The grant also provides a university with three years of funding for curricula, community outreach, faculty travel and a library. An NRC basically creates a center of expertise on a certain region of the world within the university receiving the grant.
The University of Washington has eight NRCs. The University of Wisconsin has seven.
“We have one,” said Gloria Raheja, associate professor of anthropology and director of the proposed Institute of International Studies.
But the University hopes to renew funding for its International Studies NRC and to gain funding for NRCs in South Asian Studies and Western European Studies. The new NRCs, if obtained, would be within the College of Liberal Arts.
The University has crafted three separate proposals for the NRCs and awaits the decision of the Department of Education.
Universities nationwide compete every three years for a limited amount of funds for the centers. Each proposal is judged based on the strengths of the faculty members and of existing international programs.
The creation of the Institute for International Studies, the acquisition of three South Asian professors and the growing emphasis on international affairs and study abroad might provide the University with an edge over the competition.
If successful, the University will leave behind such international-minded upstarts as SUNY-Plattsburg and join the ranks of other large universities — the universities of Michigan, Iowa and Indiana, for example.

Small victories
In July 1998, the Center for German and European Studies was established, with help from the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The center is also funded in part by the German government through the German Marshall Fund.
“We beat out (the University of) Chicago and the University of Michigan for this,” College of Liberal Arts Dean Steve Rosenstone said.
CLA professors will collaborate on research projects and curriculum with professors from Germany and the University of Wisconsin.
The Minnesota site will provide $7,000 for curriculum development and faculty travel along with $3,750 for graduate student travel.
A Center for Genocide and Holocaust studies was also created in July 1998, funded by a $3 million anonymous gift.
“Every day there is something we’re doing,” Rosenstone said. “We’re cooking.”

Sascha Matuszak covers international affairs and can be reached at [email protected]