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A new study abroad program at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England will offer juniors majoring in English and American Studies an immersive experience in an English-speaking country, Notre Dame International (NDI) associate director David Younger said.Sara Shoemake | The Observer Younger said the study abroad program is part of an exchange agreement between Notre Dame and UEA. He said the first UEA student is currently studying on Notre Dame’s campus this semester, and the first Notre Dame student will travel to Norwich in the spring.Younger said the University began working to establish the program in the spring of 2013, after an American Studies professor at UEA contacted the chairs of the English and American Studies departments. For the next three years, Younger said, each university will send a maximum of two students to the other school per semester — two for the full year or two students for the first semester and two for the second.“If the program [is] successful and interest in the program extends beyond these two disciplines, the program could expand to other areas in the future,” Younger said.Professor of English Valerie Sayers, who headed the Department of English when the program was established, said the department took an interest in partnering with UEA because the Norwich program would give English students the opportunity to experience the literary life of the city.“[The Department of] English was particularly interested in the wonderful history of creative writing at UEA, … the richness of their literature offerings and the possibilities for students who wanted to experience England outside of London and without the full support system of Notre Dame London,” Sayers said.Annie Coleman, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of American Studies, said the Norwich program would give American Studies students the ability to work towards their degree in an English-speaking country and at a university with a strong American Studies program.“In the past it’s been Dublin, primarily, and the program in Washington, D.C., where students in American Studies have been able to take classes for the major,” Coleman said. “It’s nice that there will be another program where they can do that.”Unlike the larger London program, where Notre Dame students all live in the same building, students in Norwich will live in dormitories with UEA students, according to the NDI website. Younger said this living situation contributes to the immersive experience of the program.“Having that direct connection to student life and the university will undoubtedly enhance the study abroad experience through cultural immersion,” Younger said. “Similar to ND and many other universities, the dormitories are not simply places where students sleep at night, but also serve as gathering places for study and recreation.”Sayers said this cultural immersion will extend to life in the city.“Students will be studying, working and living outside the communities of ND students who go to London and Dublin, so it’s definitely a program for independent and creative spirits who would like to immerse themselves in a side of the U.K. they might not otherwise experience so richly,” she said.According to the NDI website, UEA’s American Studies department ranks in the top three on several lists and surveys in the U.K., and the university has “a special reputation in creative writing.”Norwich, a city of 215,000 near the English coast, is a center of arts and culture, with several music and literary festivals throughout the year, the website said. According to the UEA creative writing program’s website, Norwich is the only UNESCO City of Literature in England.Coleman said American Studies students in particular will be able to study the United States from an outside view and contribute their own perspectives to discussions in the U.K.“When you’re not in the United States, but you’re thinking about the United States, the field of American Studies allows you an interdisciplinary look at a lot of different kinds of things — politics, society, culture, art, institutions, history,” she said. “… Our students have a lot to add to the students in Norwich. Having Notre Dame students represent us and be able to engage in these conversations from different perspectives is really valuable for both ends, which is why the exchange is going to be so great.”Tags: East Anglia, Norwich, Notre Dame International, study abroad, United Kingdom read more
Al Skinner appreciated the gesture, but he still felt somewhat out of place.Sitting among Atlantic Coast Conference coaches and officials at the league’s spring meetings in 2004, none of the decisions being made had any effect on Skinner or Boston College. With another season in the Big East remaining for the Eagles, Skinner had no interest in focusing on ACC issues.‘I realized they were talking about things that, yeah, I may be involved in, but right now it really didn’t impact me, so I had to concentrate on the Big East and prepare for that,’ the former BC men’s basketball head coach said. ‘I think they were trying to be cordial and extend a hand. … But the business at hand, for me, was the Big East.’Skinner was entering his seventh year at the helm when Boston College defected from the Big East to the ACC in October 2003, less than four months after Miami and Virginia Tech made the same move. The primary reason that fueled the ACC’s raid of the Big East was to expand from nine teams to 12, which would allow for two divisions of six teams. Most importantly, it would create a football conference championship game, with the aim of raising television revenue for the conference.While the three schools benefited from the move to the ACC, the coaches and players at each felt the disappointment of losing the familiarity of opponents and rivalries.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut what they lost in sentimentality, they gained in competitiveness and convenience. For Miami and Virginia Tech, the change in conferences meant a less daunting travel schedule.‘The primary reason for us was that we’re right in the middle for the footprint of the ACC,’ Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver said. ‘One of the main reasons for us was that we are now in a bus league. We cut down tremendously on our travel expenses.’The ACC extended invitations to Virginia Tech and Miami at the same time in June, hoping to build greater television revenue with the addition of two illustrious football programs. At the time, Miami president Donna Shalala expressed disappointment that Boston College and Syracuse were not also offered invitations because the school would have benefited from increased exposure in the Northeast.At first, Miami hesitated to accept the offer while it determined potential revenue gains that would come from leaving the Big East, according to a USA Today article published June 27, 2003.For Virginia Tech, though, the decision wasn’t nearly as difficult. Weaver said when the Hokies received the invitation, they didn’t need to consider it too deeply to figure out whether or not it was the right move. Virginia Tech knew immediately that it had a brighter future in the ACC than it had in the Big East.‘We were more concerned as an institution that we should be a part of the ACC expansion,’ Weaver said. ‘Now that there was an expansion effort underway, we felt it was in our best interest to put our best foot forward and move to the ACC.’Because the decisions were made at the top of the institutional hierarchy for all three schools, coaches and players were left in the dark about their teams’ future. And for former Miami women’s basketball coach Ferne Labati, moving away from the Big East wasn’t easy to accept.‘It was sad because the whole idea with teams over a period of time in conferences is the camaraderie you develop in your conference,’ Labati said. ‘I really enjoyed every aspect of being in the Big East. From the commissioner on down, I thought it was a class organization.’Labati said she remembers being called into a meeting with the other Miami coaches and being told the school was moving to the ACC. She had never been told a move was being discussed, which left her shocked that an era she cared deeply about was ending.In Labati’s 17 seasons at Miami, the Hurricanes made nine postseason appearances and had five consecutive 20-win seasons. But they struggled in their one and only season in the ACC under Labati, going 13-16 overall and 5-11 against conference opponents.Labati and her players missed seeing the familiar faces on other teams, and especially longed for the rivalry games with Connecticut and Georgetown.So much of what had defined Labati’s time at Miami had disappeared.Sitting in that meeting with Shalala and then-Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee, Labati and her fellow coaches were asked their thoughts on the move. While there was certainly disappointment, they could only believe Dee and Shalala when they said it was the right decision for Miami.‘When I was at the University of Miami, it was all about the teams,’ Labati said. ‘It was all about the university. It was all about the athletic department. … So we just felt that if the president and the athletic director felt that it was in the best interest of the university, then it was in the best interest of us.’For Skinner, even when Boston College made the move official, he couldn’t get himself to entertain the idea of coaching in the ACC. The switch in conferences created an odd feeling for Skinner, who was essentially a member of two different leagues but only coaching games in one.Now, coaches at Syracuse and Pittsburgh are left in a similar position. Skinner said he’s certain SU men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim and Panthers men’s basketball head coach Jamie Dixon aren’t giving any serious thought to what life will be like in two years.‘I’m sure Jamie and Jim are just thinking about, they may even have two years in this league. That’s what they’re going to concentrate on,’ Skinner said. ‘They’re not going to think about what the future holds because who knows what it does. Something can change drastically, and all of a sudden, you’re not in that scenario.’While he said he missed the regular-season games with some of Boston College’s Big East opponents, Skinner found it most difficult to deal with no longer playing in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.Both he and his players missed playing on that type of stage, especially with the increased exposure that week brought to the program.‘I think anyone that is a part of the Big East loves going to New York to play in the Big East tournament,’ Skinner said. ‘From a status standpoint, from the crowd, from the historical standpoint, it’s a great environment. It’s the one time of the year when college basketball captures the biggest city in the country.’But in a new league and in a new tournament, Skinner had to practically start from scratch in building up BC’s credibility. Despite the team’s previous success, Skinner said he wanted to make sure the ACC teams knew that Boston College would bring that level of play with it.In the Eagles’ first appearance in the ACC tournament in 2006, they lost to Duke 78-76 in the championship game. That, Skinner said, proved to his new conference that Boston College was as strong as every other team and would remain competitive for as long as he was the head coach.It’s the exact same position Boeheim and Dixon will find themselves in a little more than two years from now, providing both are still at their respective schools and are forced to wait the full 27 months before officially moving to the ACC. They will lose the storied tradition and history of the Big East, but the start of a new chapter in the ACC will present a new set of challenges for their programs.For now, though, Skinner said they can’t get caught up in what’s going to happen in 27 months. There are still too many Big East games to be played for both schools to look that far down the road.‘You need to take care of business at that time,’ Skinner said. ‘And when the transition is official, then you can entertain the idea.’[email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on October 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman read more