Suspended Off-Campus Programs Under Review for Reinstatement in Spring 2005

As early as this coming spring, Phillips Academy students may be able to participate in the off-campus programs that the Trustees suspended in the Winter of 2003. The Deans’ Council will make its final decisions as to which programs will be allowed to continue this fall. The Council will base its decisions upon the quality and the depth of the faculty coordinators’ proposals and their relevance to the Andover curriculum. Assistant Head of School Rebecca Sykes said, “We want to be able to do that which is enriching to the overall program and is also sustainable.” The new criteria stipulates that the all programs be self-sufficient. All programs applying for reinstatement must be able to provide financial aid for those participants who require it. This way, the programs will not be affected by the school’s budget issues. Chief Financial Officer Stephen Carter said, “In theory, we could end up with more, and also more modernized off campus programs than before they were suspended.” The off-campus programs were suspended two years ago for a three year period due to budget issues. The plan has always been to reinstate the programs that reapplied to show they were financially sustainable. Originally, the school planned to breach the subject three years after the initial suspension. The student government, when headed by former school president Allegra Asphlundh-Smith ’04, believed the programs to be an integral part of Andover. With the help of Cage Brewer ’06, the council circulated petitions to raise schoolwide awareness and overwhelming support for the reexamination of the suspension. Mr. Carter said, “It kept the pressure on us to make sure that we were expeditious in getting policies started. They certainly provided much more of an impetus to get it done.” Dean of Studies Margarita Curtis said, “Students brought it to the foreground, but we had to make sure we were first fiscally responsible.” The two-year hiatus has “allowed the sponsoring departments to perform a kind of spring cleaning to be sure that they have in place the programs that can best serve the students and the department in this day and age,” said Mr. Carter. Any department or teacher that wants to apply with an idea is welcome to do so as long as the program directly supports the school’s mission and educational goals. Dr. Curtis said, “We’re going to judge applications on their own merits. To what extent are these programs complimentary to our curriculum?” This reassessment is the first time some of the older off-campus programs have been examined in-depth since their conception in the 1960’s. According to Dr. Curtis, it is time to ask, “What programs makes sense in the context of our 21st century world?” Many of the departments hoping to propose programs intend to slightly alter and update their suspended programs, taking a new look at security, financial details, and the relation to Andover’s educational goals. To continue this pattern of re-examination of the relevance and importance of each program, the reinstatement will be provisional for one year, requiring faculty to assess the success of the first year and to improve upon the past with a streamlined reapplication process. Past programs include term-contained language programs in Burgos, Spain; Antibes, France; and Goettingen, Germany. The language department also sponsored summer trips. Students also traveled across the United States, going to California for art classes at the Oxbow School and to the Maine Coast or rural Northern New England. The Washington Intern Program allowed students to spend Spring Term in Washington D.C., where they lived in a hotel and worked in the offices of congressional leaders. The Community Service Program has sent volunteers to John’s Island in South Carolina over Spring Break. Spring also brought the traditional Cantata trip to sing at exotic and educational locales around the world. The Cantata program has already applied for the reinstatement of the trip for this coming spring. The Theatre Department has also applied to reinstate travel to a theatre festival during the summer of 2005. Many programs are in the midst of the application process, while other programs will be applying over the course of this year for the 2006 school year.