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Dear First-Year MA Students,

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. This has been a tough year and it might feel hard for some of us to feel celebratory, or even thankful. I’m not going to say something like “there’s always something to be thankful for,” even though I believe it, because each of us has to get to this place ourselves. But I do want to say, as the dean, that I feel proud of how we as an institution have faced the challenges of 2020—and since institutions are just collections of individuals, that means I also feel proud of how you have fulfilled your responsibilities in this difficult time.

Deborah, Meredith, Keith and I met with the Student Representatives in committee last week and I wanted to return to what we thought were points that needed further clarification.

Student Internship Requirement
We understand there is a good deal of anxiety about the possibilities for internships this summer. I know you are all meeting with Professor Linn, and beginning to think about opportunities, and I just wanted to assure you that we are also monitoring what is possible and that we are prepared to be flexible in how you complete this requirement. The internship is valuable as professional development, and we want you to have the experience. And we hope, of course, to hear from our partners about opportunities for you this summer, and are watching what institutions are doing with their summer programs. But if this means that you wait until next year to complete the requirement, or if you have other opportunities for professional experience that you might wish to propose as commensurate, we would certainly be willing to entertain those. No student should be worried about externalities impeding fulfillment of this requirement.

Bard Travel
I am afraid we are going to have to announce the cancellation of the international trip in May. This has been something we have been loath to do, and we were waiting to see how things would develop, but as this is the time of year when we start bookings for the trip, it is clear that we cannot commit to beginning the necessary planning, and won’t be able to offer it as we had hoped.

What we are going to put into place is the establishment of a research fund to support your research and travel as it becomes possible again. Each of you may apply for up to $1,500 to go towards your intellectual development. The funds could be spent on travel for research, either over the summer, or in the fall when you have decided your QP topic. You may also use this money for tuition for a course or workshop, either online or in person. This fund will be open to you during the full calendar year of 2021, and each student may apply for awards up to $1,500 (students may make more than one application). This is separate from the applications to the BGC’s standing travel and research funding for QP research or conference attendance. We hope that by creating this additional fund it may allow you to get some experience—it could be a materials-based workshop, a language class, travel, etc—that will be valuable in the same way we envision the value of our travel program.

We’ll be circulating more information on how to apply. But for now please feel free to contact Keith, Deborah, or Meredith with any questions.

Once again, my best wishes for the Thanksgiving break.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. Peter N. Miller