By Henri Gendreau
For more than 30 years, Kenyon students have traveled to the University of Exeter to take advantage of its world-class research facilities. Now, for the first time, Exeter students will be coming to Kenyon to reap the benefits of a liberal arts education.
Administrators at the two institutions have been in discussions about the possibility of establishing a student and possibly even faculty exchange program between the schools, beginning in the fall of 2014, that would be separate from the Kenyon-Exeter program within the English department.
We have always thought it would be interesting to see about the possibility of because we send this group of English students to Exeter what would it look like if we could get some Exeter students to come here, Director of the Center for Global Engagement Marne Ausec said.
Were looking at sort of expanding our relationship with Exeter, she added, so this would be one of the ways that we would do it. The schools have yet to reach an agreement on tuition rates for Exeter exchange students.
Last year, Provost Nayef Samhat visited Exeter to discuss how this relationship could be further developed.
Part of it struck me as a real turn that Exeter was taking to enhance internationalization, bringing more students in, reaching out with different programs and academic departments, Samhat said.
Since the University of Exeter recently added a liberal arts major to its College of Humanities, its administrators see Kenyon as a desirable place to study.
They look to institutions like Kenyon as a model for that program, and bringing students here from Exeter and getting them exposed to the American liberal arts model I think would be a great benefit to their institution, Samhat said.
And of course it would enhance ours and our student experience here.
Andrew McRae, associate dean of education at Exeters College of Humanities, who visited Kenyon two weeks ago to further discuss the program, believes such an exchange would be in high demand.
[T]heres big interest in liberal arts as a model in the U.K. at present, McRae said in an email, and I think those students, in particular, would be attracted by the idea of a year studying at a top U.S. liberal arts college.
Samhat stressed that the program is still in the early planning stages. Getting the faculty together to explore what the real possibilities are for students and how students might benefit is the essential next step, he said.
While the areas of study offered in the exchange program will be mostly in the humanities, including classics and archeology, Samhat said they need not be exclusive, citing the possible option for students to study at the University of Exeters Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies or at the Environmental and Sustainability Institute at the Universitys Cornwall campus.
The next step is to talk with our own departments and faculty and see if theres interest, and if there is, get them together with Exeter departments and faculty and see if they find opportunities, and then how we might construct those opportunities, Samhat said.
Samhat described the exchange as the exploration of a good opportunity, rather than a shift in study abroad programs at Kenyon.
Lets take a look at good opportunities and see how they can benefit the learning experience of students and the teaching and research experience of faculty, Samhat said. This might be one of those opportunities that do both, Samhat said.
McRae believes the exchange program will build upon the different perspectives each group of students would bring, as he found out when talking to Kenyon students in the Kenyon-Exeter program.
They gave me some interesting perspectives on the differences between our systems, McRae said, from the greater willingness of Americans to talk in class, to the challenges of cooking for oneself as a student in the U.K.
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