Provost Tours Preview Locations to Discuss Experience with Students

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 22, 2011

Dr. Steve O. Michael, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, journeyed to three Preview locations over spring break to meet with students and learn firsthand the value of the Preview program, which Arcadia pioneered in 1994.

“A global experience has become a signature piece of an Arcadia education,” says Michael. “As a Provost, my job is to continue to make sure that every student experiences that—whether it is through study away or study abroad.

“I wanted ask students three important questions while they were on Preview,” he continues. “First, what is it that you are learning where you are that you wouldn’t have learned in Glenside? Second, what is that you are learning that relates to your major? And third, what is it that you are learning that will be foundational to future study abroad?”

Michael plans to reinforce the importance of Preview as an academic experience through these three objectives. During his time in Sicily, Paris and London, he was captivated by the experiences students were having and what they were learning.

In Sicily, Michael was present when participants saw the wall of refugees fleeing Libya and Tunisia, and engaged in a discussion on immigration with students. The students, part of the course “From Sicily to the Italian Market: Global Migration in Italian/U.S. Contexts,” investigated the historical and current processes of transnational migration and cross-cultural interaction in two multilingual and multicultural contexts.

Led by Dr. Ellen Skilton-Sylvester, Associate Professor of Education, and Michelle Reale ’99M, Circulation Manager the students previously had visited the Italian Market in Philadelphia to study Sicilian culture and immigration. Witnessing the wall of refugees and discussing immigration and current events with Michael, served as a parallel that helped to highlight what they’d learned in the course.

“Dr. Michael addressed the issues going on in the world, most specifically the Japanese tsunami and the threatening nuclear disaster because of it,” says Reale. “This gave the students a context for the challenges the future might hold. He also asked them about their own futures and how they feel they can influence the world and make a difference.”

While in Paris, France, the Provost toured the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre with students in “Paris and the Revolution of 1789.” Dr. Anton Koslov, Associate Professor at the American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy, a program affiliated with Arcadia, led the group and gave a lecture inside the Louvre.

“I was able to witness the French Revolution and the impact it had on art creation and expression from different eras,” says Michael. “We saw how a society like this transitions and challenges values and how the artwork that is produced as a result hides the history of the place. You need to uncover that history in order to appreciate those values and what people were living through at that time.”

Michael also had the opportunity to ask students about their experiences in Paris and how their firsthand learning related to their majors. Watch video of his discussion with students.

His last stop was London, England, where he joined students for a Bollywood dancing session at the Old Finsbury Town Hall and for a lecture that examined the city’s landscape.

“I’ve been going to London for many years and that was my first time hearing a full lecture on the different parts of London, how it came to be and how the architectural designs differ from one place to another, how it was influenced by outsiders and insiders, and the politics of the land distribution and landscape,” says Michael. “It was something that I was really captivated by, and I’m sure that a number of students were too. No one from that group will go back to London without being sensitized to the differences in regions and sections of the city.”