To Faculty: Responding to Afghanistan and Hosting Displaced Students

October 8, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

As you may know, the University has been looking for ways to support and host students and scholars from Afghanistan during this time of crisis. Many of you have reached out with offers of assistance, and we are deeply grateful.
Thanks to the hard work and commitment of people across campus, we are rapidly moving forward on this front. We write to share an update — and an invitation.
Our Plans
Starting this fall, Brown will partner with the New University in Exile to support students from the Asian University of Women (AUW) recently evacuated from Afghanistan (to learn more about this remarkable cohort of students, read this recent article). This initiative is among several efforts organized by members of the Brown community, including fundraising, educational programming and direct relief efforts. In addition, the University is collaborating with Scholars at Risk to support scholars displaced from Afghanistan through on-campus programming and, hopefully, by hosting one or two scholars in the next year.
Our overall goal is to offer eligible students a chance to continue their courses of study, while providing them with inclusive academic and student resources and services as they adapt to living and learning in the U.S. That said, our immediate focus will be to support their transition and well-being. As part of this initiative, AUW students were required to apply for admission before being invited to enroll as non-degree students in credit-bearing courses at Brown. The University is not charging tuition or fees. We are also covering all living expenses, including housing, meal plans, health insurance, travel, and the purchase of books, computers and personal items. In addition to these University resources, AUW will be assisting all students seeking to apply for permanent residence in the U.S.
Academic Opportunities
Brown has offered to enroll 15 students for the academic year 2021-2022, following which students interested in applying to Brown or transferring elsewhere will get support from campus advisers. The students will begin to arrive over the next few weeks. We are working to enroll them in courses that align with their coursework at AUW and general academic interests, with the most common fields of interest being Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), and Public Health.

We hope to host two credit-bearing group independent study courses exclusively for the Afghan students and also give each student the option to audit one existing course of their choosing (pending the faculty member's approval). This will allow them to complete some academic coursework as a cohort (and absent the added challenge of jumping in mid-semester).
Rick has offered to teach one of the group independent study courses — a political science course called "Reimagining Capitalism" — and Nisha Trivedi, an Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice, will be offering a group independent study course on public health.

The Invitation
Here is where we need your help: We would like to invite the students to audit one additional course to explore the breadth of their intellectual interests while also experiencing a traditional Brown course and engaging with Brown students. If you would be interested in allowing these students to audit your course this Fall 2021 semester, we invite you to complete the attached survey by Tuesday, October 12th, which will allow us to better assess our capacity.
We also encourage you to share this message with your colleagues to help identify faculty who may be interested in allowing individual students to audit a current course.
Once we identify potential course offerings, deans from the College will meet with the students when they arrive to orient them to Brown and to begin advising them as they explore courses that they may be able to audit, with faculty approval. For the Spring 2022 semester, we anticipate that the students will be able to enroll in eligible Brown courses using our normal registration procedures for non-degree students.
* * *

This effort has involved a great deal of work over a short period of time by people from across the University, including Admissions, the College, Dining Services, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s office, Residential Life, School of Professional Studies, School of Public Health, Graduate School, Office of Global Engagement, University Health Services, and many more. Thank you for your time and attention to this important effort, especially at this very busy time of year.

Thank you, too, for any support you might provide to these students in the coming weeks and months. If you have any questions, please direct them to [email protected].

Richard M. Locke
Asabe Poloma
Assistant Provost for Global Engagement