As the global Covid-19 spread sends billions around the world into lockdown, international educational institutions have witnessed an exodus of their student population returning to the safety of their homes. At the Atlanta-based Oxford College of Emory University (estd. 1836), USA too most of the Indian students who make up the second-highest international student population have vacated their residence halls in the campus on March 22. Education World’s Dipta Joshi spoke to Douglas A. Hicks, dean, Oxford College of Emory University on the college’s plans regarding the completion of courses for the current semester.
What has been the impact of the Covid-19 on the Oxford College’s current batch of international students, especially Indians?
The current COVID-19 is a challenging situation for international movement, and we hope and expect that it will pass in a matter of months. Indians represent the second-highest international student population at the college. Most students who were living in residence halls in the campus moved out and went home by March 22 but about 50 Oxford College international students and another approximately 250 from across the University made a request and were allowed to stay in residence owing to difficulties in returning home. Officials have responded to the individual needs of our international students.
What is the status of current study courses and the commencement of the new academic year?
Emory University (Oxford College is one of the nine Emory academic units) has not closed, but as of March 23 classes are being conducted via remote learning as all staff members except those who are essential for on-site operations, are now working from home. With all Oxford College class strength limited to under-28 students, it is easier for faculty members to interact closely with individual students. Faculty members are modifying courses and will hold examinations though in a modified manner appropriate to each course.
The new academic year begins in August 2020 and we plan to do so via face-to-face courses. We will also be prepared to provide remote instructions for students who are delayed in returning to the campus or in case of other contingencies created due to Covid-19.
What opportunities await Indian students pursuing courses at Oxford College?
At Oxford College of Emory University, students choose one or more of Emory’s 80 plus major and 60 plus minor courses of study, including business, pre-medicine, nursing, and other health fields, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Oxford provides a distinctive, liberal arts-focused education for the first and second years undergraduate bachelor degree with over 99 percent of students living in residence halls on campus. Oxford College of Emory University offers students a strong, close-knit residential campus community within a world-class research university.
The Oxford campus, with its low student-faculty ratio has nearly one in five students from outside the U.S.A. Oxford receives 400 applications from India annually, though only an elite group is admitted and matriculates. We are however, hoping to increase the number of students from India. There is also a strong cadre of Indian-American students who enroll at Oxford. After their first two years within Oxford College, students then choose to complete their Emory undergraduate degree at Goizueta business school, Woodruff school of nursing or Emory college of arts and sciences, all of which are on Emory’s Atlanta campus.
Our office of international student and scholar services (ISSS) is dedicated to helping international students adjust to U.S. culture and education system, connect with the Emory global community, maintain legal status, and apply for immigration benefits.
Do share information about any academic tie-ups the College has with Indian educational institutions currently?
India ranks as the top destination for Emory University faculty with work-abroad with over 140 faculty working on related topics and Emory travelers make over 175 trips each year to the country. The Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI), which brings together Eastern and Westerns scientific approaches, gives Emory a unique programmatic tie to India. Emory University currently has several academic partnerships in India, including collaboration with Council on International Educational Exchange Hyderabad (CIEE), a Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences program, and study abroad course offerings around public health, globalization, and culture.
As dean of Oxford College of Emory University, I travel to India once a year to build our relationships with high school principals and counselors, parents of current students and Emory researchers stationed in India.Posted in International, News