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New immersive learning program seeks students for semester in Argentina

RELEASED: June 9, 2010

UW-Eau Claire students in Argentina
The UW-Eau Claire TIES program will offer students immersion experiences similar to this one in Argentina in 2009. UW-Eau Claire geology students pictured are (from left) Crystal Nickel, Bryan Hardel, Anne Gauer, Taylor Crist and Elizabeth Balgord. (Contributed photo.)

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is accepting student applicants for a new experiential learning program scheduled for the 2010-11 academic year.

The Thematic Interdisciplinary Experiential Semester program offers a hands-on, project-based learning environment in which students travel to a specific location and are immersed in a central theme taught by instructors from several different university departments over the course of a semester.

The first TIES program will focus on the cultural and environmental changes that have taken place in Mendoza, Argentina, an agricultural region in the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains. Participants will study in Mendoza from January-May 2011. Orientation for the trip will begin in September. The priority deadline for applying is June 15, but students may apply through July 30.

Argentina offers a rich and varied social, cultural, economic and political history, said Dr. J. Brian Mahoney, professor of geology at UW-Eau Claire, and one of the faculty members involved in coordinating the TIES Argentina program.

The pilot program will be a collaborative effort by faculty in biology, economics and geology and a local expert in Latin American studies. Each faculty member will provide three-and-a-half weeks of project-based inquiry, with dedicated overlap to provide interdisciplinary linkages. Participants will also have an opportunity to work with scientists from CRICYT, an Argentinean research organization.

Courses include "Geologic Evolution of the Southern Andes," "Field Ecology and Conservation," "The Economic Development of Argentina and Latin America" and "History and Culture of Western Argentina."

"A central tenet of the university's Centennial Plan is to provide truly transformative experiences for our students. This program allows students to participate in rigorous, challenging, project-based learning by examining a central theme from a variety of scientific, cultural, economic, historical and political perspectives," said Mahoney.

TIES Argentina is the first in the three-year pilot program. Other potential locations in the following years include Vietnam, Switzerland and, if permits can be obtained, Cuba.

Other examples of potential themes for TIES could be the socioeconomic impact of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La., the global economic and environmental impact of an emergent China in Guangzhou or the social and political transformations in 21st-century America as studied from Washington, D.C.

Students will be selected from across disciplines and across age groups, to provide an integrated cohort and a vibrant learning community.

For more information or to apply, visit the TIES website or contact Dr. J. Brian Mahoney at mahonej@uwec.edu.

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RD/DW

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