AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin has been selected by the French government to establish the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, a program designed to promote the exchange of faculty, students and ideas in a variety of disciplines.
The university will become one of the 19 interdisciplinary centers based in some of the most prestigious universities in the country, including the University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Stanford and Yale universities.
Dr. Dina Sherzer, chair of the Department of French and Italian and director of the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, attributes the university’s selection to the dimension and quality of research coming from the university in a variety of fields.
“This was a collaboration among many different departments and it will be a university-wide initiative,” Sherzer said. “Fostering exchanges of UT students and faculty with their counterparts in French institutions of higher education and organizing interdisciplinary conferences and other activities will have a great intellectual and cultural impact.”
The university’s proposal to the French Embassy was evaluated on several criteria, including having programs that reach beyond humanities and languages to science, technology and professional schools. Other important factors were the existence of bilateral programs with French institutions of higher education, active promotion of outreach activities and a detailed evaluation of both student and faculty achievements in the field of French studies.
“The university was chosen for its strong and ongoing relationships with several French universities and research centers,” Sherzer said. “Many professors and researchers from French universities and The University of Texas at Austin collaborate on projects. These activities should continue to flourish and grow with this newest mark of distinction.”
Disciplines participating in the institute include architecture, art, business, law, humanities, music, natural sciences and social sciences.
The France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies will celebrate its inauguration Wednesday (Oct. 16), hosted by Denis Simonneau, consul general of France in Houston; Joël Savary, cultural attaché; and Pierre Dauchez, scientific attaché. The institute will sponsor a French forum the following day, where graduate and undergraduate students will be given information about teaching, working, studying and doing research in France. The forum will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Oct. 17, in the Texas Union on campus.
For more information contact: Dina Sherzer, Department of French and Italian, 512-471-5531.