Getting close to "go" time!

Trip Start May 22, 2007
Trip End Jun 04, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, May 17, 2007

I am posting this first entry from home as I prepare to travel.  This next few days will be hectic, (I have a training class and a 2 day out of town conference between now and Tuesday!) but somehow that does not seem to bother me at this point.  By this time next week, I will be up to my neck in Italy.
The purpose of this entry is to give some background on this project.  I am traveling as a representative of Cy-Fair College and the North Harris Montgomery Community College District. or  The source of this travel is an NHMCCD Faculty International Explorations Grant.  NHMCCD includes international education as one of its core values.  We live in a world that becomes more global each day.  Our district serves a population in a city that becomes more diverse as well.  I saw a note a couple of years ago, that Cy-Fair serves students, who as either first or second generation residents, can claim birth/heritage to more than 80 countries.  I am sure that our experience in suburban Houston is familiar to many who live in this world's great cities.  I also saw a note on CNN this spring that fewer than 300,000 US students study abroad in any given year.  NHMCCD has allocated monies to support this effort through its International Programs Office.  Money is set aside to pursue international projects each year.  These funds are divided between student scholarships and professional development grants for faculty.  This year, more than 20 students received scholarships to support their participation in an NHMCCD international study opportunity.
I applied for a FIE grant in order to scout opportunities to take students to Italy.  The key visit in our trip will be to the Vesuvian Institute of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation.  This facility, located on the Bay of Naples, provides a location to hold instruction.  Stabiae was a vibrant Roman community destroyed by Vesuvius in the great eruption of 79 AD.  Stabiae is different from sites such as Pompei or Herculaneum in that it contained some of the richest aristocratic villas of the region.  The artworks of these villas are threatened by the growth of the Naples metro area.  The RAS hopes to create a master plan for Stabiae which will preserve the villas, create parkland and not inhibit reasonable development.  It is our hope that we can create opportunities for our students to study History, Geography, Art, Anthropology and other courses at the Vesuvian Institute and by doing so, support the work of the RAS.
Before and after Castellammare di Stabiae, I will travel to Rome and Pisa/Florence to spend some exploration time looking at museums and historic sites.  This will be useful to me as I plan study abroad activities and will also allow me to bring more first hand information into my European History courses.
I am traveling with Buck Buchanan who is Professor of Geography at Cy-Fair and an FIE grant recipient as well.  Buck will maintain his own blog along the way.  We will separate for a few days as I go to Tuscany and he to Sicily.  My father, Bob, has decided to join us on his own and will travel with me.
That's all for now.  I'll update when we get to Italy on Wednesday, Texas time.
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