Columbia’s Undergraduate Research and Fellowships office will now offer one-on-one advising and information sessions regarding study-abroad programs to undergraduate students in all three Columbia schools, Columbia College announced in a statement earlier this week.
This development comes as the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement, previously known as the Office of Global Programs, revealed several long-term changes to the office’s mission after it drew criticism from faculty regarding the state of Columbia’s global education. Last month, Shannon Márquez was appointed to pilot these changes as dean of Undergraduate Global Engagement starting in early November, the first permanent dean the office has seen in two years.
According to Columbia College’s statement, the revamped program, led by Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Ariella Lang, intends to allow for more collaboration between undergraduates and faculty members in special projects outside of the classroom. Fellowship advising for undergraduates will now fall under the area of Academic Affairs rather than the broader umbrella of Global Programs, creating opportunities to interact with undergraduate curriculum and relevant faculty.
Lack of undergraduate engagement in study-abroad programs drew concerns from top administrators in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, culminating in a 2017 report that outlined problems including limited financing, short staffing, and low study-abroad participation rates. The report, which reflected hundreds of interviews with faculty and administrators, revealed that despite increasing investments, only 19 percent of any graduating class of both Columbia College and General Studies students studied abroad.
The statement also details how Undergraduate Research and Fellowships will serve as a way for students to take academic pursuits outside the classroom. The revamped program also includes increased access to faculty mentors, allowing students to establish connections between academics and broader projects and providing support for independent and group research projects.
Through the newly created website, students can apply for research and fellowships and also make advising appointments. The website also offers a database where students can search for relevant fellowship and project opportunities.