PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University, in partnership with six other Ivy Plus institutions, has launched a new initiative to develop comprehensive program centers of study around the world. Partner institutions of the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) include Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University and The University of Pennsylvania.
CASA aims to improve the study-abroad experience by creating engaged, high-quality programming and an on-site infrastructure in key locations throughout the world. The program will allow the partnering institutes to address the challenges of new program development with the resources of a single university, while guaranteeing a critical mass of high-caliber students. The new effort will allow the institutions to improve study abroad programming over time through long-term planning and investment. The first CASA program will launch in Havana during the 2014-2015 academic year.
“Brown is thrilled to have established a collaborative relationship with distinguished institutions through the CASA initiative and looks forward to the success of its first program in Cuba,” said Sonia Feigenbaum, associate provost for global engagement at Brown. “This is indeed the beginning of a long relationship between our institutions, and CASA is poised to expose myriad students from diverse backgrounds, learning styles, and interests to a wealth of course offerings that will contribute to their becoming interculturally engaged and informed citizens of the world.”
“We at Dartmouth are delighted to be part of this exciting new initiative in international education,” said Lynn Higgins, the Frank J. Guarini Associate Dean for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs at Dartmouth College. "The courses and activities available in Havana represent a significant enrichment of our curriculum, while offering tremendous opportunities for both students and faculty to become more deeply informed about a crucial region. We look forward to working with our Consortium partners and with the faculty and staff at the University of Havana and at the Casa de las Americas.”
The CASA program is unique in that, once established, it will be one of the first study-abroad consortia with multiple study centers around the world. Each center, equipped with on-site staffing, technology, and academic resource support, will be defined by a carefully chosen set of characteristics to create learning opportunities for participating students that capitalize on the academic strengths of consortium members and international partner institutions. Wherever possible, students will work alongside local students, with the aim of fully engaging with the local environment.
Eventually, CASA administrators hope to have centers established across continents, offering studies across multiple disciplines. The program will offer students a range of experiences, including in-class learning, internships, community engagement, undergraduate research, and faculty exchanges. Consortium centers will operate year-round, providing students with opportunities for semester, academic-year, and summer study abroad.
In the 2014-15 academic year, CASA will launch its first program in Havana, establishing it as the largest U.S. academic presence in Cuba. Working with both the University of Havana, Cuba’s leading institute of higher learning, and Casa de Las Américas, the Cuban government’s premier research institute on Caribbean and Latin American studies, Cuban culture and the arts, CASA has developed a program of credit-bearing lectures and courses that will provide students an opportunity to examine the key political, social, economic, and cultural issues affecting Cuba and its Caribbean and Latin American neighbors. Students will also be encouraged to carry out research projects around topics of interest.
Students will interact with some of the country’s leading experts from key research centers, including Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Instituto de Estudios de la Economía Cubana, and the Centro de Investigación de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello.
The CASA-Havana center will be housed in the former Galería de Arte Haydée Santamaría, a landmark space belonging to Casa de Las Americas that was built in the 20th century and is located in Havana’s Vedado district. The CASA-Havana center will include classroom and seminar space, a small library and computer lab, staff offices, and ample space for special events and exhibitions.