by Schubert Lovenkraft
Colleges and universities across the country are increasingly emphasizing international study for undergraduates, citing the growing importance of cross-cultural communication skills for a globally interconnected 21st century. But at St. Constantine University, new President Angela Mollinari sees the need to prepare her students for more than just the foreseeable future. “We are thrilled to announce our new ‘Study Abroad In Space’ Program. We are proud to partner with NASA to help our students prepare for what we all know is probably out there.”
“This exciting new program will allow our students to redefine intercultural competence,” beamed Vice Provost of Off-Campus Programs Emilio Sanchez. “The global proliferation of McDonalds, Disney, and the internet has made it almost impossible to find a truly cross-cultural experience around the world. We decided that it was time to be bold and innovative. There are unseen planets out there just waiting to be discovered. Our students will be truly challenged to interact across all manner of cultural difference – its not just Wookies and Klingons.”
The program is slated to begin in fall, 2012, when interested students can apply by interviewing with Astronomy professor Dr. Harold Brill, who once served as a senior counselor at Space Camp and will advise for the start up program. Upon acceptance, students will participate in an extended orientation that is expected to include physical and psychological preparation.
“We really want to make sure our students are prepared for anything they might encounter,” said Sanchez. “Even if they find themselves floating helplessly on the dark side of some foreboding planet, I want their parents to know that throughout the program we are committed to providing an appropriate balance of challenge and support.”
Some faculty members have expressed concern about the transferability of course credit with a likely unaccredited extraterrestrial institution, but senior administrators insist that those details can be solved as part of a new distance learning initiative. While all of the transport logistics of the program are to be handled by NASA, some parents wondered about the time it might take to reach other inhabitable planets and whether that might affect students’ ability to find a summer job. President Mollinari was quick to assuage these concerns. “Most of our students are commuter students already. They are well accustomed to sitting in an hour of stop and go traffic.”
[Editor’s Note: Our freelance dynamo, Schubert Lovenkraft, submitted his story prior to the April Fool’s prank press release written by our beloved colleagues at Bryn Mawr. We didn’t want to kill his piece, but fully acknowledge the similarities. If you haven’t read the Bryn Mawr story, please do!]