Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are we done with the humanities?

Columbia students know the rigor of a liberal arts education. Through the University’s famed Core Curriculum, every Columbia College undergraduate is exposed to the best of history’s literature, philosophy, art and music, from Homer to Dante, Plato to Nietzsche, and everything in between.

In an increasingly technology-driven world, however, the question remains: how far will a humanities-based education get you? In a recent article for TechCrunch, Vivek Wadhwa, director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University, argues that liberal arts sensibilities may be more valuable to the science and technology industries than one might think.

Wadhwa considers arguments from two of the computer industry’s giants—chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates and Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Each man has built a technological empire, but through different philosophies about the type of education needed to get there. While Gates argues that math and science education should be a priority in the interest of job creation, Jobs instead believes that the arts and sciences are codependent, and that the graphic designer who designs iPad apps is just as important as the engineers who develop the technology necessary to use those apps in the first place.

Agreeing with Jobs, Wadhwa writes,

…even though I believe that engineering is one of the most important professions, I have learned that the liberal arts are equally important. It takes artists, musicians, and psychologists working side by side with engineers to build products as elegant as the iPad. And anyone—with education in any field—can achieve success in Silicon Valley.

At Columbia, the Core Curriculum strives to reach a balance between these two areas of study. In addition to its stringent humanities requirements, the Core requires a minimum of two elective science or math related classes, as well as a freshman seminar called “Frontiers of Science” that introduces students to cutting edge developments in scientific fields as disparate as neuroscience and quantum physics. The University also boasts one of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. However, for undergraduates in Columbia College, the most popular majors are still humanities-based, including economics, political science and history.

Can Columbia graduates still be competitive in their chosen fields of work, or should the Core require more math and science? Tell us in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the original discussion from the New York Times here, and also look at Columbia’s core requirements.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Upcoming events from the Committee on Global Thought

Check out the following upcoming events from the Committee on Global Thought:

What Does "Imperialism" Mean in an Age of Global Finance?Add Video

Monday, March 28, 2011 8:00 PM

Columbia University, Schermerhorn 501

A discussion featuring:

C.P. Chandrasekhar, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Duncan Foley, Professor of Economics at The New School for Social Research

Jayati Ghosh, Chairperson of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University

David Harvey, Professor of Anthropology at City University of New York

Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the United Nations

Prabhat Patanaik, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Sitaram Yechury, Parliamentary Group Leader of the Communist Party of India

For more information and to register, please click here

India During and After the Global Financial Crisis

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:00 PM

Columbia University, Uris Hall 301

A lecture featuring:

Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Adviser for the Ministry of Finance, Government of India

Prabhat Patanaik, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Y.V. Reddy, Former Governer, Reserve Bank of India

Amartya Sen, Thomas W. Lamont University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University

Joseph Stiglitz, Co-Chair of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University

For more information and to register, please click here

The Fourth Annual Arrow Lecture: "Time and Persons in the Economics of Climate Change"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 6:00 PM

Columbia University, Low Library Rotunda

A lecture by:

Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Cambridge

with discussants

Scott Barrett, Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics at SIPA and the Earth Institute, Columbia University

Geoffrey Heal, Garrett Professor of Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility at Columbia Business School

For more information and to register, please click here

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chunjie Zhang to speak on March 24

Please mark your calendars for the following talk by Chunjie Zhang, INTERACT Postdoctoral Fellow at ICLS.

August von Kotzebue's Transnational Melodrama: Sentimentalism, Sexuality, and Refusal of Trajedy in
Brother Moritz, the Stranger, or the Colony on Pelew Island

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 3pm to 5pm
Common Room, Heyman Center (directions)

Monday, March 14, 2011


Café ARC
REID HALL, 4 rue de
Chevreuse, 75006 Paris

Thursdays at 18:30

Columbia in Paris invites you to a series of interdisciplinary
conversations on the global dimensions of French and Francophone
cultures from the Middle Ages to today. Faculty from Paris
universities and visiting scholars from the United States will present
current research in fields including Political Science, History, Art
History and Literature.

Le programme de Columbia à Paris vous invite cordialement à une série
de conversations pluridisciplinaires autour du rayonnement global des
cultures françaises et francophones du moyen âge jusqu’à nos jours.
Des professeurs d’universités à Paris et des checheurs en visite
présenteront leurs recherches en cours dans des disciplines telles que
les sciences politiques, l’histoire, l’histoire de l’art, et les
études littéraires.

24 March
Michael Gorra (Smith College)
'Not a Pretty Thing': Joseph Conrad on the Conquest of the Earth.
Salle de Conférence

Pour plus d'information sur cette série pluridisciplinaire, veuillez
consulter le document ci-joint. Merci de réserver en avance votre
place pour cet événement en cliquant ici.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tony Blair Discusses Globalization & the Future of Higher Ed

Tony Blair may no longer be making news as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but his life post-politics has continued all the same. Mr. Blair has been teaching at Yale University here in the United States and contemplating the relationship between globalization and higher education. On Sunday, BBC News covered an interview with Mr. Blair on that topic.

Columbia Global Centers promotes and supports the engagement of the university world-wide, so we were obviously excited to hear Mr. Blair optimistically speak about emerging trends in higher education. Throughout the interview, he makes it clear that globalization will impact universities and already has. He argues, “It is now up to institutions of higher education to engage directly on these issues - not only their students, but current world leaders in politics, finance, and international diplomacy, along with the general public.”

He sees a more open and equal future where university content is available online for free and universities of developing nations in South America, Asia, and Africa improve the quality of their education, gaining prestige and influence amongst Western academic peers.

The world he describes is different from the world today, but not hard to imagine. As countries rise in economic influence, it is only natural to expect a similar transition for their universities. Beyond that natural rise, prominent, established universities like Columbia can and do reach out, build long-term relationships, and generate a new international dialog. If Mr. Blair is correct (and it appears that he is), we can all look forward to an exciting and enriching future for Columbia University and higher education world-wide.


Topics discussed in the interview:

OpenYale- Yale University’s catalog of coursework and lectures offered free to the general public.

Technologico de Monterrey (Mexico) - Mr. Blair frequently referenced this university for its international engagement and its focus on increasing access to its courses online.

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faith and Globalization Initiative – The Foundation’s “international network of leading universities exploring the relationship between faith and globalization and highlighting the implications to the wider world.”

Monday, March 7, 2011

International internships: what makes a good one?

In a recent article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Charles Gliozzo and Cindy Chalou, both affiliated with the Office of Study Abroad at Michigan State University, discuss the growing trend of international internships and the importance of a global education for American undergraduates. They note that the number of students who intern abroad has increased 133 percent in the six academic years between 2003 and 2009.

According to Gliozzo and Chalou, the key resources necessary to facilitate successful international internships include relationships with local businesses, a clear program structure that integrates the student’s professional and academic experiences abroad, a method for ensuring the academic credibility of the student’s foreign university, and adequate resources to support the program, financial and otherwise.

Columbia’s own Center for Career Education (CCE) offers a comprehensive summer foreign work experience program called Columbia Experience Overseas (CEO). Participants in this program are afforded all the benefits of a traditional internship, combined with the unique opportunities offered by a study abroad program. You can learn more about CEO here.

What do you think makes a good international work experience? What can be gained from working abroad that can’t be found in the U.S.? Have you had an internship abroad? Leave a comment and tell us!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Healing Paradigms and the Politics of Health in Central Asia

The Culture, Religion, and Communications Unit of the

Global Health Research Center of Central Asia at Columbia University

Presents its First Annual Conference:

Healing Paradigms and the Politics of Health in Central Asia

Kellogg Center, Columbia University

420 West 118th Street, 15th floor

April 8, 2011

PLEASE RSVP TO: https://calendar.columbia.edu/sundial/webapi/register.php?eventID=48012

For more information: http://ghrcca.columbia.edu/en/node/118 or email crc2011conference@gmail.com