Minutes of the International Education Committee Meeting

October 5, 2009, 2:15 – 3:30 pm, 326 Cartwright



Dave Anderson, Donna Anderson, Patricia Ardovino, Walter Elder, John Greany, Gary Gilmore, Sheri Ross, Joan Temple, Gaelle Talhouarne (student), Sara Mattson (student).


Consultants to Committee:  Sandy Sieber (Representative from OIE). 


Meeting was called to order 2:15 pm. 


  1. Approval of minutes
    Motion:  approve 9-21-2009 minutes M/S/P (10/0/0)


  1. Unveiling of International Web site on Thursday


Gary Gilmore shared that there will be ceremony on Thursday October 8th to unveil the International Web site at 10:30 am in Vallahalla B. 


  1. Proposal for Egypt J-Term.
    • Dr. Anderson has been going to Egypt with the El-Mahasna Archaeological project since 1996.  This is a program for advanced field experience (field and laboratory) for archaeology students.  Students will conduct independent research projects under supervision.     

·         Discussions regarding some questions from the members  

o   3 students already selected for this J-term; in future there will be 6 students.

o   Students will be supervising native Egyptians per national requirements. 

o   Additional funds for $400 to pay nationals to work with excavation. 

o   Travel begins prior to the end of final exam week – rationale due to various holidays.  Hope not to have this in future years. 

o   How will the 2 alternates be determined [6 open slots with 2 alternates]


Motion:  approve Egypt proposal for J-term 2010  M/S/P (9/1/0)


  1. Planning for the Future of International Housing Meeting on October 19th at 2:45 pm at 2319 Madison St.


A brief history: Last year, we (IEC) received a special charge about international housing. We soon discovered that there were plans to close two properties on Madison Street which currently house some International Scholars and Amity Scholars [see Appendix A]. There were rumors that the closing was imminent. We set up a meeting with Bob Hetzel among others to address the value of those houses and how the needs that they fulfill might otherwise be met. At a second meeting there were further discussions about what exactly the needs are and initial suggestions as to how those needs might be met.


Our goal for the Madison House meeting is to make sure that the interests of the international and amity scholars are represented as plans to close the house go forward and new plans are still visionary.


Agenda Questions for Madison House Meeting 10/19/09 International Education Committee


I. Questions about Housing Matters


1.)  We understand that the current plan is for the Madison Street houses to close in two years. What plans are currently on the table to address the needs of the Amity Scholars Program and International Scholars Program?


2.)  If the proceeds from the sale of the Madison Street houses were to go the University of Wisconsin System, does this put the sale in questions? Is there any mechanism whereby some/most of the funds would be returned to UW-L?


3.)   If currently the funds to maintain the Madison Street houses are coming out of 102 instead of 128 accounts, then how do we fix that, i.e., how can we restructure the budget to accommodate the needs of these programs? And to establish budgetary authority to ensure the programs viability? One concern is that if the Madison Street houses are closed, then the Amity program would also cease to exist. Given the overall value of the Amity program, UW-L would be wise to guarantee its continuation.


4.)  We appreciate the work that Bob has done with International Graduate Student housing. Are there arrangement to do long-term leasing from some of the recent real estate, developments that could be divided up to accommodate longer or shorter term stays for both Amity Scholars and International Scholars?






II. Other Questions


1) Students are charged 7% 128 Administrative Fee. Could you tell us how that figure (7%) was determined? What does the surcharge pay for? Why is the surcharge a percent of the budget and not a flat fee? What options there might be if this fee proves to be an obstacle for faculty led study tours?



  1. Update on Review By-laws and Charges


Update:  The Chair shared there was an error in the original letter from the Faculty Senate office regarding the following sentence in our charges.   “Monitor any issues that may arise related to collective bargaining as the year progresses”.



Next meeting scheduled for Monday October 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm at 2319 Madison St. 



Meeting adjourned at 3:20 pm


Respectfully submitted:  J Greany


Appendix A

The Amity Scholars Program at UW-La Crosse

A Brief History


The Amity Scholars Program

            Amity Institute is an organization in San Diego, California that recruits young people from around the world to serve as language and culture assistants in American classrooms.  They have been in operation for about 40 years.


            In 1984 Dr. Mary Gayle Pifer, then chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, conceived a plan to host five Amity Scholars a year at UW-L.  At the time the decision was made to investigate the Amity Scholars program, the Department was faced with increasing enrollments and class sizes were at an unmanageable level.  It was decided to take the one position offered as relief and use that funding to bring in five young, educated native speakers to provide a complementary language experience.  While other sister universities have struggled to maintain their programs in modern language, UW-La Crosse has maintained its enrollment and has increased its status as a leader in second language education.  Some of this success can be attributed directly to the Amity scholars program. 


The Amity program began first in high schools and had expanded to include a few colleges and universities by 1984.  The UW-La Crosse program was the first time a group of scholars were brought to a university and challenged to work with an entire department rather than particular language programs or professors.  Since the establishment of the UW-L format, other universities have used this same approach to the Amity Program and have reported similar results in the positive impact that these scholars have on their language students.


With the exception of 2003-2004 when there was a major budget lapse that reduced the number to three, we have had at least five scholars every year for the last 25 years.  In 2001-2002 the UW-L Department of Modern Languages received the “Amity Friend of the Year” award from Amity Institute.  We are planning a 25-year reunion in August, 2009.


In exchange for housing and a small stipend furnished by CLS (currently $1215 per semester), the Amity scholars work up to 25 hours a week in our department.  The types of work they do include making cultural presentations, animating small group conversation sessions, serving as pronunciation models, assisting with our Current Events classes and serving as cultural informants in a variety of modes.  They are also expected by Amity Institute to audit two classes per semester, including at least one course dealing with American culture.


This program has enriched the life of our department in many ways.  The language comes alive for students when they hear it from the mouths of people so close to their own age.  They are able to learn about contemporary speech and up-to-the-minute cultural trends that would be difficult for us to keep up with on our own.  In addition, many longterm friendships result between these young people and our students as well as between them and the faculty.


The house at 2325 Madison

When Dr. Pifer created the program in 1984, she negotiated with the powers-that-were at the time to be able to use the house at 2325 Madison to house the scholars.  Originally all the furnishings in the house were donated by members and friends of the department.  Every August the department would gather at the house to clean it and make it ready for the next group of scholars.  About 15 years ago Professor/Dean Emeritus John Magerus arranged for sponsorship of the house by Rotary East.  Over the years this Rotary Club has replaced all of the furniture, painted the inside of the house, purchased appliances, kitchen supplies and a computer and taken the scholars grocery shopping in exchange for the scholars’ sharing their culture with the members of the club.  The Department continues to be active in the maintenance of the house.  Dean Mason was supportive of the house, and donated a brand new large sectional couch in 2006. Faculty transported the couch and rearranged furniture. Other furniture continues to be donated. Several faculty members from the Department of Modern Languages continue to give their time and energy in the summer to maintain and clean the property. 


In short, this valuable program has been run on a shoestring, thanks in large part to the willingness of the University to allow us to use the house at 2325 Madison.  If we lose the house, we will lose the program, unless we can find a similar situation for a similar “price.”  We are grateful to have the use of the house, as well as for the maintenance that the University has provided over the years.  We hope to be able to continue to offer this program to our students for many years to come.