Bucknell in D.C. program cancelled for spring semester

Elizabeth Worthington, News Editor

Semester abroad programs need a certain number of participants in order to run. The Bucknell in Washington, D.C. (BUDC) program needed 12 students to be viable but even after a two-week application deadline extension, only 5 people signed up.

According to Stephen Appiah-Padi, Director of the Office of Global & Off-Campus Education, the BUDC program was permitted to run its first two years with less than the required number of students. This year, however, the office made the decision to suspend the program as they review it and make changes for it to be viable for Spring 2018.

Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Ellis would have been the director for BUDC 2017. Ellis affirms that the decision was made without his consultation.

“[I] wasn’t even aware that cancellation was a possibility, or that the number of students required to make the program run was so large,” Ellis said.

Ellis was notified at the end of September that the program would not be running.

“It was kind of a shock, especially since we had already done a good bit of legwork to try to engage alumni in D.C. with the program and its students,” Ellis said.

Ellis acknowledges that the University has financial priorities it must manage, but he hopes that in the future the University can negotiate a more reasonable contract with the program provider, “to keep it from bleeding money.”

Ellis worked to coordinate the program with management major Alli Heal ’19, who was enrolled in the program. Heal was initially “beyond thrilled” to hear about BUDC due to her interest in a career in political marketing and campaign advertising.

“I was crushed when I got the email about the program being cancelled. I had such high hopes for a great semester in D.C.,” Heal said.

Amanda Battle ’18, who had considered participating in the program but never officially enrolled, was disappointed upon hearing of the program’s suspension. She attributes the lack of enrollment to subpar marketing that failed to captivate students’ interest rather than the program itself, which she sees as a great networking opportunity.

“I think if students were more aware of what the program had to offer and how much impact a D.C. internship has on their employability in the public sector, enrollment wouldn’t have been an issue,” Battle said.

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