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Stanford's overseas program in Moscow to be reshaped

"We are looking for ways to improve the experience of our students in Russia, and we had already begun thinking about ways to do that," said Ramón Saldívar, director of the Bing Overseas Studies Program.

The Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) announced plans Wednesday to suspend its program in Moscow while the faculty and staff members who oversee the program consider ways to improve it.

Ramón Saldívar, director of BOSP, said he recommended suspending the program after reviewing past evaluations and discussing the Moscow program with student participants. Prior to Wednesday's decision, the one-quarter program had been next slated for Spring 2015.

Saldívar also consulted with Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education; Provost John Etchemendy; and the leaders and staff of BOSP before making the decision.

"We are looking for ways to improve the experience of our students in Russia, and we had already begun thinking about ways to do that," Saldívar said.

"We recently shifted the Moscow program to spring quarter from fall quarter, in order to make changes that would enhance the program. In particular, we were thinking of ways to extend the stay of students in Moscow into summer. As we began thinking of other enhancements, we decided it would be better take this opportunity to review the program even more deeply, and to take the time to reconceive the program, not just simply to tinker with it."

In the coming months, BOSP and the faculty committees that oversee its programs will discuss the length of the suspension of the Moscow program and consider the long-range options for overseas study in Russia, Saldívar said.

"We will hold discussions with faculty, current alumni of the program and other interested students to consider the shape that a more effective program in Russia should take," he said.

BOSP offered an overseas studies program in Moscow from 1993 to 2004, and from 2006 to the present. During that time, 248 students have participated, including students who spent last quarter in Moscow.