3. Columbia in the World Today
Long before the post-World War II era spawned SIPA and the regional institutes, our University embarked upon a great experiment in ideas that has become the longest-running core curriculum in America.
The introduction of the Core harkened back to Columbia's original goal of cultivating cultured and cosmopolitan leaders of the new world. But the Columbia Core Curriculum, which spread to other institutions through advocates like Mortimer Adler '23C '29GSAS, became much more than an elitist requirement. As educational opportunity opened up to thousands of intellectually qualified students, of all backgrounds, the mandatory Core would ensure that generation after generation of Columbia College students--many of whose parents never had the opportunity to go to college--would read and discuss the great books and confront great minds in the context of modern issues, broadening their horizons from the United States of the twentieth century to other nations and other eras.
That the Core still flourishes, despite successive waves of curricular change in the United States, is testament to its extraordinary success in helping students understand how journeys across years and continents into unfamiliar civilizations relate to the here and now. Today, just as four generations ago, undergraduates at Columbia still participate in small, discussion-based classes, reading and writing about central Western texts. Now as then, students are transported from the classics of ancient Greece and books of the Bible through the major figures of Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation thought and art to the major writers of modern Europe and America.
This sustained attention to fundamental traditions of Western civilization is only the springboard to an appreciation of the multicultural, international Columbia experience.
Unlike many colleges and universities, Columbia still insists that undergraduates should be competent in at least one language in addition to English. We offer courses not just in European but in a wide range of Asian and African languages. More than forty different languages are offered at Columbia, from Akkadian and Arabic to Wolof and Yiddish. And our American Language Program (ALP), which has taught English as a second language at Columbia since 1911, is deeply involved in the globalization of the University. Last year, 338 international students enrolled in the ALP, of whom 109 were Japanese.
With the help of the Mellon Foundation, the Language Resource Center was created to enhance the University's ability to offer a broad menu of language instruction. The Classics Department launched a new program in modern Greek. We fashioned agreements with institutions in other lands for the teaching at Columbia of language and culture, such as Finnish, Persian, Romanian, and Serbo-Croatian.
New language chairs have been established, from Dutch to Sanskrit. Among the departments that have benefited are East Asian Languages and Cultures, French and Romance Philology, Spanish and Portuguese, and Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures. New faculty and funding are strengthening Ukrainian, Polish, Hungarian, and Serbian studies.
Our language instruction is evolving, just as the Core itself has been an evolving educational experience and will continue to be. For half a century Columbia has offered a year-long course in Asian Humanities modeled on the Core, which attracted large enrollments even before the recent upsurge of interest in Asia. For this tradition at Columbia we can thank a pioneering and farsighted scholar, William Theodore de Bary '41C '53GSAS '94HON, the John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus of the University, provost emeritus, and special service professor of East Asian languages and cultures. This course and a host of other offerings are the indispensable resources for meeting the Core requirement that students develop an informed acquaintance with traditions of another culture in addition to a firm grounding in Western traditions.
Curricular globalization is growing rapidly throughout the University. International social welfare is among the new specialized fields of study introduced by Dean Ronald A. Feldman and the School of Social Work faculty. The Mailman School of Public Health, led by Dean Allan Rosenfield '59P&S, has gained renown for its leadership in teaching world population issues. The Architecture School houses a distinguished center for Japanese architectural studies.
An illustration of how such programs benefit from strengths across the University is the multidisciplinary master's degree in East Asian studies, one of the Master of Arts tracks in the Liberal Studies program. For this program, GSAS Dean Eduardo R. Macagno '68GSAS draws on the exceptional faculty of the East Asian Institute, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Donald Keene Center for Japanese Culture, the Business School's Center on Japanese Economy and Business, as well as resources from a wide range of departments.
A planetary perspective informs the curriculum at Biosphere 2, the "Columbia West" campus in the Arizona desert, where upwards of one hundred undergraduates from throughout the world are being educated to become the next generation of environmental leaders.
The Law School illustrates the cumulative impact of sustained attention to the international arena. From as early as the nineteenth century, Columbia Law School has emphasized international and comparative law. This focus was reinforced early in the twentieth century by Dean (and future Chief Justice of the United States) Harlan Fiske Stone 1898L, who reorganized the curriculum, adding new courses in the jurisprudence of European and Latin American countries.
Today, with Dean David W. Leebron at the helm, more than forty courses are offered in international and comparative law. Domestic courses have been internationalized (for example, labor law is now international labor law). "You cannot be an educated lawyer today unless you understand the international environment," Dean Leebron says. In conjunction with the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, directed by former Law School Dean Lance M. Liebman, the Law School has augmented its faculty in international and comparative law.
Columbia Law School is today one of the West's premier centers for the study of both Japanese and Chinese law. At the Center for Chinese Legal Studies is the largest concentration of scholars outside Asia studying the law of China. The Center for Japanese Legal Studies works closely with the East Asian Institute to provide both curricular and extracurricular programs that encourage students to participate in the Institute's program and take course work outside the Law School.
Within the School are also centers for the study of Korean and European law, as well as offerings on Islamic law, African law, and law and development in Latin America. Latin American law is taught in Spanish and English in alternating years. A course in Spanish for the legal profession is also offered. A new program for Russian legal studies was launched last year.
America's first endowed chair in international human rights was established last year to honor University Professor Emeritus Louis Henkin, who founded the Center for the Study of Human Rights and then the Human Rights Institute. The chair is dedicated to training the next generation of human rights leaders. Professor Henkin has helped develop human rights law around the world.
This year The Financial Times rated our Business School as the best in the country for international executive education and number one worldwide for the program's diversity and global reach.
Globalization, says Dean Meyer Feldberg '65B, is "the major thrust of the School's strategic mission in the twenty-first century." Seventeen international business courses are offered, including Chinese International Business Relations, Contemporary Japanese Economy, and Latin American Financial Markets. But the global perspective extends far beyond those courses, as is evident in student and faculty surveys, which rate globalization as the theme most consistently integrated throughout the basic M.B.A. curriculum.
The focal point for international programs at the Business School is the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business, a major catalyst for the School's expanding internationalization. Outstanding innovative teaching is recognized by the Chazen International Innovation Prize for faculty, established five years ago. The agendas of the Chazen Institute and the University's Center for International Business Education (CIBE, funded by the federal government as a model program, bringing together the resources of the Business School and SIPA) organize the School's international programming efforts, faculty and doctoral research, curricular innovations, overseas study, and foreign language programs.
Six years ago, in my inaugural address, I chose economics as an example of the need for renewed efforts to bring together faculty expertise on related subjects despite traditional boundaries between specialties and between schools. I have been pleased by the response to my entreaty. In recent years, the Economics Department in Arts and Sciences, the Business School, and SIPA have attracted some of the world's top scholars in international economics. Last year four superb senior faculty and six outstanding junior faculty were appointed to the Economics Department, joining three recognized experts in international finance who now hold joint appointments with the Economics Department and SIPA. More than a dozen of our senior faculty now specialize in all areas of international economics. Many hold joint appointments with the Economics Department and SIPA or the Business School.
The sturdy foundation supporting all of the international learning and research at Columbia is our University Libraries and Academic Information Systems (AcIS), overseen by Vice President Elaine F. Sloan. Each year the Libraries add some 80,000 new titles published abroad, spanning more than fifty languages. Columbia's exceptionally strong international collections are exemplified by the extraordinary C. V. Starr East Asian Library, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. The University also has special strength in its Slavic and East European, Latin American, African, South Asian, and Middle Eastern collections.
Our Libraries can borrow material for students and faculty from repositories throughout the world. The Libraries are a founding member of the Research Library Group, an international alliance of universities, national libraries, public libraries, and important archives. Our University Libraries are also heavily involved in the Association of Research Libraries' Global Resources Program (which includes South Asian, Latin American, and Japanese programs) and in microfilming and preservation projects that include African, Southeast Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean material. Two of the major conservation programs are the Tibetan Archives Preservation Project and the Nepali Archives Project.
Plans were made to build on collaborative projects, initiated by Columbia and the University of Chicago, to make South Asia library collections available through an enhanced digital South Asia Library.
AcIS created the infrastructure and operates online Web broadcasts for the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. The Law School, Journalism School, Art History Department, and others also use AcIS-operated Web broadcasts. The University's Web resources are available to scholars and students around the world. In the first six months of 1999, more than 20 million hits on Columbia's central Web server came from 179 countries.
Ongoing collaborations with Columbia University Press, the Libraries, and AcIS have allowed Columbia to develop online scholarly publications. One venture, Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO), is growing at a rate of 2,000 pages a month. The Association of American Publishers named CIAO the Best New Internet Product in the Social Sciences and Humanities in 1998.
Finally, one of the most significant developments for the future course of international learning at Columbia was last year's opening of the doors to faculty at the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning in Butler Library, supported by part of a $10 million grant from Lionel I. Pincus '56B, University Trustee chair emeritus. The Center provides support for faculty to incorporate new media technology into their courses. Many of the faculty are recognizing that the new media, far from being an adversary to great teaching, can be a powerful ally.