Live from Egypt

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I wrote this and it was published in the daily about a month ago.


In fact, campus should not relax over wireless internet
Hans Kuder's sarcastic remark that "the sky is falling" in a letter to the
editor yesterday (Campus should relax over wireless Internet issues, 02/13/2006) attempted to shield the administration from its failures to provide wireless. Yet Kuder fails to understand the importance of a global education and how the University fails to provide one. From my wireless connection at the American University in Cairo in developing Egypt, I have concluded that the sky - the world and its changing needs - is indeed collapsing on the University. Since starting my classes in Cairo, I have harshly learned the University failed to provide me with the tools to understand emerging international studies like globalization, international relations and political economy.

The University trumpets a "leaders and the best" mantra, yet in international studies, the University can't even be compared with its peer institutions. The University of Michigan is the only Big Ten university that does not offer an IR program. Northwestern University, the school where the highest number of students who are accepted here but choose not to attend Michigan matriculate, maintains an outstanding IR program that caters to any concentration, regardless of college. While the University lauds its top-rated political science department, scant classes are offered in the emerging field of political economy. The Ross School of Business, whose international business program is consistently rated near the top, systematically advises students yearning to study abroad to turn to other concentrations. The lack of wireless coverage just serves as another example of the University unplugging students from international resources in the
classroom.

Disappointed with the lack of international studies available as a
freshman, I founded the International Relations focus group under LSA Student Government in September 2003. This focus group was responsible for lobbying the University to create an IR program. In December 2003, my group presented the Executive Committee with findings indicating the University had been completely left behind by its peer institutions in IR. We provided a list of courses which could be integrated into multiple IR minors and suggested two core IR classes be
included with the minors. It is now February 2006, and only last month did the curriculum committee approve an international studies minor, which may be available in Fall 2006. This is too little, too late!

The University's failure to stay current with new studies of the world should be attributed to the administration and its financial priorities. When universities and random hookah bars in the developing world provide better ways to access information than a top American public institution, it becomes obvious that the University has fallen behind. U.S. News and World Report, are you listening