Sept. 7-13, 2001
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University joins global group to plan long-distance education
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Jefferson Award nominations sought

Authors join creative writing faculty
Poetry writing added to English major
University expands international emphasis with new residential college
U.Va.'s three residential colleges get new principals
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High school students aid U.Va. research
Honoring the code: How faculty and TAs can promote academic honesty
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Colonnade Club returns to newly restored pavilion

University expands international emphasis with new residential college

Caroline Man
Photo by Matt Kelly
Caroline Man, head resident at the International Residential College, posts a notice on move in day.

By Charlotte Crystal

Salsa dancing. French cooking classes. Conversations on China. German films. Students living in the new International Residential College will enjoy all of these and more.

Opening its doors for the first time this fall, the IRC houses 323 students, first- through fourth-years, who are interested in expanding their horizons and creating a unique community, said Brad Brown, associate professor at the McIntire School of Commerce and principal of the new college.

Student interest in the new residential college has been high. “We have a waiting list of upper-class students, but limited their numbers to bring in at least 60 first-year students,” he said. A quarter of the students are international.

Located on Sprigg Lane, the college fills the Munford, Gwathmey, Lewis and Hoxton dormitories. Mosaic House, a cross-cultural dorm founded in 1995 in Hoxton, is continuing as an independent but participating unit of the new college.

The IRC is organized like the University’s two other residential colleges, Brown and Hereford. It grew out of the recommendations of the Virginia 2020 International Commission as a way to expand special-interest housing opportunities and as a focal point to explore global and cross-cultural issues on Grounds.

“I want to help build a community that welcomes aall kinds of students, of different races, religions and backgrounds. I want us to learn more about where we’re all from,” said resident Teona Callaham, a fourth-year student from Bedford, Va., majoring in psychology and minoring in Spanish. “Right now, everything is new to us and it’s hard to figure out what our purpose is and how we fit into the University. But with time, we hope to build a major role for the International Residential College.”

Photo by Matt Kelly
The International Residential College opened for the first time this term, combining four houses — Munford, Gwathmey, Lewis and Hoxton, into a residential community. Mosaic House is also affiliated.

Along with a calendar of social activities for residents, beginning with a barbecue before the U.Va.- Penn State football game on Sept. 13, the IRC will offer a broad array of opportunities to learn about world cultures, politics, societies and languages.

These include a series of University Seminars that will be held in a Munford conference room and open to the first-year class. USEM topics include: “International Business: Past, Present, and Future,” taught by William Wilkerson, with the McIntire School of Commerce; “East Asia’s Explosive Growth: The Role of Culture in Economic Development,” taught by Bruce Reynolds, senior faculty fellow at IRC; “Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union,” taught by Yuri Urbanovich, also an IRC senior faculty fellow; “Ethics in Modern Society,” taught by Brown; and “Creating Balance Using the Wisdom of Your Mind and Body,” taught by Marga Odahowski, IRC director of studies.

Reynolds also is organizing a “conversation series,” a speaker series held around a conference table, rather than in a lecture hall, to encourage interaction between the speaker and a small group of listeners. The lineup of speakers, still being finalized, will address international issues and be open to the University community as space permits.

Other plans include fielding a number of intramural sports teams, and organizing hikes and other outside activities. IRC administrators also are planning to lead two overseas trips this spring — one to Spain and one to Italy — for first-year students. Upper-class students likewise will be encouraged to weave foreign travel into their academic and leisure plans.

Brown wants to make it easy for IRC students to perform community service as well and is working with fourth-year student Ryann Collins to explore long-term volunteering partnerships with the Center for Global Health and the International Rescue Committee.

The Center for Global Health, to be introduced to IRC residents at a banquet on Oct. 11, will build on the work of Dr. Richard Guerrant, U.Va.’s Thomas H. Hunter Professor of International Medicine and chief of the School of Medicine’s Division of Geographic and International Medicine. Guerrant is a tropical medicine specialist who is developing new approaches to diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal and parasitic disease.

The New York-based International Rescue Committee, offers emergency assistance to people displaced by war or civil strife and helps to resettle refugees.

Over the past three years, the Charlottesville office has helped resettle about 400 refugees from the former Yugoslavia, Sudan, Togo, Republic of Congo, Burma, Afghanistan and Iran, said Susan Donovan, regional director. She’s looking forward to establishing a partnership with the International Residential College similar to those already in place with U.Va.’s Madison House and the School of Law.

Organizers of the new International Residential College have invested a lot of time and effort into developing a thoughtful program they hope will resonate with students. The Housing Division also has repainted the hall’s interiors and renovated its kitchens to brighten up the living space.

“We’re hoping to create a great, close-knit community with an international focus,” Brown said. “We’re excited about our programs and activities, but above all, we want people to feel comfortable here, that when they walk through the door, they’re home.”


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