The Isabella Cannon International Centre will implement new domestic and international initiatives in 2013 with additional funds provided by the 2012-2013 budget increase.  A new Office of Domestic Programs is currently in the works, and an Honors Fellows Winter Term study abroad course to Turkey will begin January 2013.

The new Office of Domestic Programs will serve as a support system for current domestic programs in place and will aid students who find their own opportunities to study domestically, according to Woody Pelton, director of the Isabella Cannon Centre. The creation of the office will contribute to the growing enthusiasm for domestic programs, he said.

[box]New 2013 Winter Term Programs

India's Identities: Religion, Caste & Gender in Contemporary South India The new program to India will run jointly with another university, a first for the ICC. Half of the participants will be from Elon University, and half will be from Maryville College.

The program will be led by Amy Allocco, professor of religious studies at Elon, and Brian Pennington, professor of religion at Maryville.

France: Reconsidering “Religious” Experiences and Sacred Space in Southern France The new program, which is the only Winter Term course located in France, will be based in Montpellier, a city in south central France.

“We are looking for students who are interested in exploring the culture, the language, the history and the politics of France, and who are interested in approaching French culture through the lens of religion,” said L.D. Russell, lecturer of religious studies.

The program will be led by Russell and Sarah Glasco, a French professor. [/box]

“We believe the office will generate more interest in these kinds of programs and will itself be entrepreneurial in developing domestic programs,” Pelton said. “One of the advantages of centralizing the support is that there can be consistency in the administration of these programs. Also, students would have one place to turn to get information about the various programs which currently operate out of different departments and different schools.”

The ICC will be soon begin looking for someone to fill the director position for the Office of Domestic Programs. The second initiative the budget increase will support is the Winter Term trip to Turkey, which will be offered to first-year Honors Fellows only.  Pelton worked with Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, director of the Honors program, and Michael Carignan, associate director of Honors, to come up with a plan for creating a course specific to Honors.

“Woody said think big: Don’t just go to Europe — think Turkey,” Carignan said. “Turkey is kind of a crossroads between the East and the West, and it’s a rich environment for Honors Fellows to ask engaging questions.”

Carignan and Vandermaas-Peeler spent a year working on the idea after deciding to seriously consider Turkey as an option for the program’s location. In July 2011, Carignan, Vandermaas-Peeler, Pelton, President Leo Lambert and Provost Steven House traveled to Istanbul to explore the city’s potential for the course and establish contacts at Koç University, a school with which Elon now has an exchange relationship.

After their return from Istanbul, Carignan and Vandermaas-Peeler gained approval for the funding of the pilot course, which is a shrunken version of the ultimate proposal, Carignan said.  Twelve to 15 first-year Honors Fellows will participate in 2013, but the long-term aspiration is that all 40 first-year Fellows will take part in the program.

“If we require it for the program, we are going to have to pay for the whole thing, and that’s going to be a big expense,” Carignan said. “In the meantime, the president agreed that we should start a small version of it, see how it goes and use that as a basis to maybe raise more funds in the future.”

The program is specifically targeted at first-year students who will be able to use their experience in Turkey as an inspiration for their thesis projects and undergraduate research.

“What we intend to do is introduce students to some of the methods that academic disciplines provide for framing inquiry,” Carignan said. “Whereas a tourist can go to a place and just ask any kind of wild, curious question, we want to use some academic disciplines as explicit ways for helping develop those questions as something that becomes a research proposal"