The Arts and Sciences Council emphasized the growing importance of global education at its meeting Thursday.
Members of the council tabled a proposal to change the status of international comparative studies from a major to a fully fledged program. First introduced in 1973, the major has shown continual success for nearly four decades, consistently graduating between 50 and 60 students per year. The change would allow the program to hire its own faculty, said Frances Hasso, associate professor of women’s studies, international comparative studies and sociology.
“ICS is distinctive in its cross-disciplinary integration of such subjects as economics, public policy, biology and the humanities,” Hasso said.
As one of the many interdisciplinary majors offered at the undergraduate level, ICS is among the top third of all majors selected, she noted. Despite its popularity, however, the major has never maintained any sort of centralized administrative support. Hasso said her plan would ease the advising and administrative burden while allowing greater coordination and communication between faculty.
The breadth of the ICS program at Duke, she added, is unique from equivalent programs offered at other institutions, citing the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University and the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University as examples.
David Malone, director of undergraduate studies of the Program in Education, noted the major’s history as well as the longstanding commitment shown by its faculty members as key reasons why the proposal should pass.
“A strong ICS program has the potential to help students integrate their curricular studies in a socially engaged way,” he said. “We’ve seen how faculty and students alike have been energized by the emerging global landscape.”
Angela O’Rand, dean of the social sciences, also noted the strong commitment faculty members have demonstrated to the major, including those involved in other departments.
The proposal raises questions about the creation of academic programs in the future, Dean of Arts and Sciences Laurie Patton noted, adding that she preferred the ICS example to a top-down situation where an administrator introduces a brand-new program.
“Roots are absolutely essential,” Patton said.
In other business:
Edna Andrews, professor of linguistics and creator of DukeINtense Global, presented the ideas that led to the creation of the program and noted some of the keys to its success. Its focus on a multidisciplinary approach to learning and its global study component have made it especially popular.
“Robust research often can’t happen within a single semester,” Andrews said.
DIG is notable for its duration, as each student participates for a minimum of three semesters. Students in DIG are required to spend portions of their Fall semesters and summers in the country they have been studying, Andrews noted. Junior Jordan Fraser, a linguistics major who participated in DIG in 2012, spoke about his experience with the program, praising its cultural immersion aspect in particular.
“This program was made for me,” Fraser said. “It’s the type of opportunity I came to Duke looking for.”
Chair Thomas Robisheaux, Fred W. Schaffer professor of history, announced the approval of new study abroad programs in Paris, Barcelona and Tuscany. He noted that the new Paris program would not replace the original Paris program but instead offer a joint program between the departments of Romance studies and psychology and neuroscience.