International Dimensions of Academic Programs
To varying degrees, the twelve schools of the University of
Pennsylvania incorporate international content into their academic
offerings at the course, program, and departmental levels. Many schools
have responded to the 1990 planning process with the establishment of
committees charged with exploring ways of further internationalizing
their curricula. While some of this work is still ongoing, progress
toward enriching the international content of courses and programs is
already apparent, particularly at the undergraduate level.
Foreign Language Study
Study of a foreign language is fundamental to the introduction of
an international perspective into the undergraduate curriculum, as well
as to the conduct of research in many disciplines. Three of the four
undergraduate schools at Penn have a foreign language requirement. At
the School of Arts and Sciences, these requirements have been in place
for over forty years; the Wharton School and the School of Nursing have
recently instituted language requirements for their undergraduates.
There is also some movement toward inclusion of language study in the
School of Engineering and Applied Science curricula, with the Department
of Computer and Information Science now requiring foreign language
competency for its majors.
The School of Arts and Sciences is responsible for all foreign
language teaching at the University. In recent years, SAS has made
impressive strides in improving both the quality and variety of its
language instruction. Its proficiency-based model of language
instruction and evaluation has reinvigorated the language program,
raising the morale and competencies of both language teachers and
students. Moreover, as patterns of choice among undergraduates have
shifted, SAS has proven itself adaptable.
Language needs not met by departments of the School of Arts and
Sciences are served by the Penn Language Center, an administrative unit
of the College of General Studies that began its first semester of
offerings in the fall of 1989. The Center's programs are designed to
raise to an intermediate level the language competence of a student with
no prior knowledge. The flexibility inherent in the Center's offerings
also enables it to meet targeted needs, such as instruction in languages
for business purposes. In addition, the Center is oriented toward
expanding Penn's language curriculum, enriching the resources available
for research in applied linguistics, and enhancing opportunities for
research by faculty and students.
Area Studies Programs
Penn's area studies programs are among the University's foremost
tools for promoting a deeper understanding of international issues and
cultures. Each of these programs, which are based within the School of
Arts and Sciences, provides formal and informal educational
opportunities for students to learn the languages and develop an
understanding of the economic, political, cultural, and social
characteristics of the region under study. Full descriptions of the
activities of these programs are included in the March 24, 1992 Almanac
reprint of the International Programs Factbook discussion of "Area
Studies at the University of Pennsylvania." The programs are:
- The African Studies Committee. Guided by fourteen faculty
members, this program encourages teaching and research on Africa;
conducts a graduate-faculty seminar on special topics such as African
Informal Economies; sponsors guest lectures; and maintains a
communications network among some 200 Africanists at Penn and in the
Delaware Valley, including faculty drawn from fifteen departments in
four colleges of the University. The Committee has recently developed
undergraduate major and minor programs in African studies.
- The East Asian Studies Committee. This program draws faculty
from a range of departments to focus on the cultures and languages of
China, Japan, and Korea. Included among the program's special activities
are sponsorship of a Buddhist Studies Seminar and assistance to the
Graduate School of Fine Arts' Energy Management and Policy Program in
conducting a summer study program in Zhengzhou, Henan.
- The Latin American Cultures Program. This program works to
promote the interdisciplinary study and understanding of Latin American
cultures. Program activities include research seminars; the sponsorship
of symposia, outside speakers, and visiting scholars; the development of
an undergraduate Latin American Studies minor in the College; and the
publication of Chispa, a newsletter with a circulation of 500 Latin
Americanists in the United States and Latin America.
- The Middle East Center. The Center promotes
study of the Middle East at Penn. Programs include advising students;
seeding new courses; organizing seminars, conferences, and publications;
generating research opportunities and facilities abroad for Penn
students and faculty; and bringing visiting scholars to campus.
- The Center for Russian and East European Studies. This
promotes interdisciplinary study of the former Soviet republics and the
nations of East Central Europe. The Center sponsors lectures, faculty
seminars, and regular scholarly conferences for national and
international audiences; edits the Slavic Review, the principal area
studies journal with 6,000 subscribers; and administers exchange
- The South Asia Regional Studies Program. Focusing on the
of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, this program
brings together over thirty faculty members from various parts of the
University. Its offerings include thirteen modern languages and eight
classical languages, a set of freshmen seminars, and a weekly South Asia
Seminar that is now in its forty-fourth year.
- The West European Studies Program. This program promotes
interdisciplinary study of the nations of Western Europe through the co-
sponsorship of conferences, symposia, and guest speakers.
- The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and
Studies is a dual-degree program, administered jointly by the Wharton
School and the School of Arts and Sciences, that functions like an area
program. Its intensive, twenty-four month curriculum combines an
internationally oriented M.B.A. and an M.A. in International Studies.
Lauder students major in a Wharton functional discipline and select a
regional and language specialization.
- In addition, based on the recommendations of a 1991-92 SAS
faculty task force on areas studies, the dean has now authorized two
interdepartmental searches in areas identified as being of high priority
for area studies efforts: South Asian and East Asian studies. The
intent of this effort is to serve the broader, programmatic interests of
the School while at the same time ensuring that such appointments are
closely connected to the disciplinary strengths and priorities of
individual departments, in addition to strengthening the undergraduate
component of our area studies programs.
To index for Penn's International Dimensions.
January 12, 1993
Volume 39 Number 17
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