New study abroad program provides alternative to WNY

To fill a void left by the indefinite suspension of the Williams in New York (WNY) study away program in January 2009, the College has established a partnership with NYU for a program called Spring in New York, which will be available for students beginning this spring.

The partnership with NYU extends the application deadline for the program to Dec. 1 for students of the College, which allows students to apply past NYU’s Oct. 1 deadline.

“We chose ‘NYU: Spring in New York’ because it offered, among a wide variety of academic tracks, the option of conducting self-directed study, which really allows for experiential learning,” said Paula Consolini, coordinator of experiential education, who previously managed WNY. “NYU’s Spring in New York program is not a replacement [for WNY], but it’s the closest in spirit, providing a range of experiential learning opportunities in New York City,” she said.

Students accepted to the program will take four courses of their choice from those offered at NYU, which is located across six separate sites in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn. Students will live in NYU’s residence halls near Washington Square Park. Because the program is considered study away, courses taken during the spring semester in New York City will not be factored into students’ GPAs.

Consolini said that “the outlook is unclear” as to whether WNY, which is suspended indefinitely, will eventually be reinstated. Liza Johnson, associate professor of art, who chaired the committee charged with reimagining the WNY program, is on sabbatical for the 2010-2011 academic year. She could not be reached for comment.

Prior to its suspension beginning in January 2009, the former WNY program allowed accepted students to reside at the former Williams Club in Midtown Manhattan while taking one course at NYU and three other courses taught by faculty and adjunct professors from the College. Due to the program’s high cost and budget cuts across the board, the faculty voted in 2009 to freeze the program as it existed and form a committee to re-imagine WNY. The freeze took effect in academic year 2009-10, saving the College $325,000. On June 1, the Williams Club of New York ceased operating at the Midtown premises due to financial insecurity (“Williams Club of New York building to cease operations June 1,” May 12, 2010), eliminating WNY’s traditional venue.

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