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Karen Ryan, interim dean of Arts & Sciences; politics professor Leonard Schoppa; and Reginald H. Garrett, a biology professor, have been named the new academic deans for Semester at Sea’s summer and fall 2008 and spring 2009 voyages.
Semester at Sea is a global, comparative, study-abroad experience that features three voyages a year aboard its “floating campus,” the MV Explorer. The University of Virginia became the program’s academic sponsor in December 2005.
Prior to her appointment as the summer 2008 academic dean, Ryan has worked with Semester at Sea’s faculty and staff as an academic liaison for the College of Arts & Sciences since the program’s implementation.
The 2008 summer voyage’s itinerary, envisioned by Ryan, will feature Russian studies as the core experience. Taking advantage of the nearby regions, students will compare and contrast the Russian experience with such locales as Bergen, Norway; Copenhagen, Denmark; Antwerp, Belgium; Naples, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; Piraeus, Greece; and Dubrovnik, Croatia.
“The program is working to strengthen the interrelationship between faculty-directed practicums and student activities at the various ports of call [to connect] what goes on in the classroom and what the students directly experience,” Ryan said. “Having the opportunity to create a really unique program in the summer that brings my expertise and my experience to bear makes this tremendously attractive.”
The fall 2008 voyage, which will feature Schoppa as academic dean, will include stops in South Africa, India and Japan. Schoppa’s research focuses on Japan’s politics and foreign relations, including a project examining the transformation of Japan’s system of social protection as it has been buffeted by the pressures of globalization and changing gender-role aspirations of women.
Garrett, the dean for the spring 2009 voyage, sees the Semester at Sea program as an opportunity to expand science education and structure a curriculum around early human evolution and migration. Garrett also wants to create a program that provides for the continuity of science education. “I want to have courses, such as second-semester introduction to physics and second-semester introduction to chemistry,” he said.
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