The new office, combining the Office of International Programs and the Foreign Study Program, will become known as the Center for International Studies when it moves to Hovey House in late December from McGuinn Hall. OIP Director Marian St. Onge will head the center, which will oversee Boston College's 40 partnerships with foreign universities, as well as external foreign study programs.
The center's mission is to integrate all existing international programs and activities, provide a framework for the ongoing development of Boston College as an international university, and expand international opportunities to include 50 percent of undergraduates.
Administrators noted that establishing the center was one of the priorities outlined in the University Academic Planning Council plan to strengthen BC's academic programs. They expect the center to streamline the search and application process for the growing numbers of BC students looking for international study experiences.
Center for International Studies Director Marian St. Onge.
"It makes administrative sense to bring together the two offices to provide one interface with students who wish to study abroad," said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, who said St. Onge's appointment as director would be a boon to BC's international initiatives. "Marian brings long years of experience in the teaching of foreign languages and culture. She has incredible energy and dedication."
The number of Boston College students who study abroad has increased significantly in recent years, administrators note, as the University has built a strong array of direct exchange partnerships with schools around the world. In the 1991-92 academic year, 10.5 percent of BC students studied abroad. That percentage grew to 25 percent by the 1995-96 school year.
Previously, FSP was responsible for tracking external foreign study programs offered by other institutions through which students traveled abroad, while OIP - established in 1991 - oversaw the number of direct exchange programs between Boston College and international universities. FSP Director Adj. Assoc. Prof. James Flagg (Romance Languages) has returned full-time to the faculty, but will serve the new center as a member of its advisory board.
St. Onge said she envisions a day when international study is a standard part of the Boston College curriculum, with select academic programs being shared with foreign universities, and students regularly traveling to study economics in London or theology in Cracow.
Such international experiences are vital to the development of students today, said St. Onge.
"You have to jolt your way of looking at things," she said. "We have to learn to look at others and to see them on their own terms, which is one of the great challenges of the world today. The only way you learn to do that is by getting out there."
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