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Arts and Sciences gets USIA grant

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 20 - February 8, 1996

Area-studies programs in the College of Arts and Sciences received a $120,000 grant from the United States Information Agency (USIA) for an American Studies/Asian Studies faculty exchange between Virginia Tech and the University of the Philippines-Diliman, the flagship university in the Philippines.

The immediate goal of the proposal centers on faculty exchanges. The broader vision involves institutional linkages that promote research, teaching, and outreach.

The three-year grant covers travel expenses both for Tech faculty members who will teach American Studies at UP and for Philippine scholars teaching Asian Studies at Virginia Tech. The home university pays regular salaries.

The co-directors of the grant are John A. Ballweg, professor of sociology at Tech, and David D. Britt of the Reynolds Homestead.

Amaryllis T. Torres, vice chancellor for academic affairs at UP, visited Blacksburg in November. She was the guest of honor at a reception for some 25 faculty members and administrators interested in the exchange program.

Torres later spoke to the Filipino American Student Association. She also met individually with Provost Peggy Meszaros, Dean Robert Bates of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Burton Kaufman, chair of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Bates and Torres discussed the importance of this grant in strengthening the international dimension within the College of Arts and Sciences. Bates stressed the importance of an international perspective in contemporary education. Kaufman found common ground with Torres because both are engaged in developing area-studies programs.

The first Tech faculty members to participate in the exchange are David Britt and Mary Britt. In addition to teaching African American Literature and Modern American Literature, they will lecture throughout the Philippines at places housing Fulbright libraries. This exchange lasts from January through March 1996.

Nanette Dungo, whose field is sociology, will teach Contemporary Philippine Culture in the Center for International Studies at Virginia Tech during the spring of 1996. She will be followed in 1997 by Thelma Arambulo of the UP English Department.