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Cambridge Exchange Program to Continue

By Tongyan Lin


The Cambridge-MIT Institute will end in three years, one year later than the original contract had said. However, plans are currently underway to allow the Undergraduate Exchange program, introduced by CMI, to continue to run after it is no longer funded by the Institute, according to Rachel Simpson of the CMI press office.

The Institute, which was created in 2000, began as a five-year contract funded by the United Kingdom government and private industries.

This summer, the contract was extended for a year to “set up some new projects that are going to launch this fall,” Simpson said.

Each year up to 50 MIT juniors from 12 departments spend the year studying at the University of Cambridge, and a similar number of Cambridge juniors spend the year at MIT, said Margaret S. Enders, associate dean for undergraduate education and head of the CMI Undergraduate Exchange Office.

The original intention for CMI was to “set projects up and find ways for them to continue” after the Institute itself had ended, Simpson said.

Exchange program needs funding

The Undergraduate Exchange Program is currently funded entirely by CMI. However, the funding has decreased this year in order to allow CMI to focus on “new initiatives,” Enders said.

Enders said plans for fund-raising are being developed at the MIT Resource Development Office. The fund-raising will likely be directed at alumni, Enders said, though it’s “too early to tell.”

Money is needed for relocation grants to students and support staff, and possibly UROP funds for Cambridge exchange students who come to MIT.

Enders could not provide an estimate of the cost needed to run the student exchange independently of CMI.

She said one possible solution to lack of funding would be to distribute the limited grants based on need and have students fund the remainder.

Despite possible funding problems, Enders said that she wants “to make [the exchange] possible for everyone who needs [the money] to go.”

However, Enders is not particularly concerned about the matter.

“I can’t imagine MIT will turn its back if the fund-raising doesn’t succeed,” she said.

On the contrary, Enders expects the study-abroad programs at MIT to expand, saying that MIT is “committed to expanding international education opportunities.”

The first CMI undergraduate exchange occurred during the 2000-2001 academic year, and nine MIT students traveled to Cambridge, Enders said.

In 2001-2002, that number rose to 27. During the 2002-2003 year, 47 participated and this year, there are currently 29 students at Cambridge, she said.

CMI promotes collaboration

Mathematics Professor Haynes R. Miller, the math department administrator for the CMI exchange, said that the program has been successful. “It’s extremely exciting and stimulating,” he said.

As a result of it, the MIT Department of Mathematics has developed a project lab course to debut this spring, based on a class offered at Cambridge called Computer Aided Teaching of All Mathematics.

The course syllabus, based on developing mathematical theorems through experimental lab procedures, has been collaboratively developed with the aid of the CMI program. “CMI has opened a door and let us do this,” Miller said.

An information session about the student exchange program for interested underclassmen will be held Nov. 6.