Jeremy E. Johnson
Computing and Data Processing Services
University of Maine System
Orono, ME 04469 USA
v: (207) 581-3504
f: (207) 581-3531
Education, higher; Education, continuing or distance.Research, academic
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Technology transfer; Leverage of public funding
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Video There are two videos about AUBG, not networking
Story Site (if other than location listed above):
Blageovgrad along Orono
Bulgaria (with Maine)
The Internet and the American University in Bulgaria
The Internet helps to advance American interests overseas as well as in North America. The American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) is a joint venture between the University of Maine, the Republic of Bulgaria and the City of Blageovgrad. The first American University in Eastern Europe, it has received substantial financial support from the U. S. Information Agency, the U. 5. Agency for International Development, the Bulgarian Government and the Soros Foundation. Classes commenced on September 30,1991 with 225 exceptionally well-qualified students (combined average SAT scores of 1103) who are expected to be among the future leaders of Central and Eastern Europe. Instruction is in English and the faculty come from such institutions as University of South Carolina, Columbia and Harvard. The AUBG community values education outside the classroom, particularly student participation which fosters democratic values.
When University of Maine Vice President Chick Rauch asked us in May 1991 to provide data links we contacted BITNET and NSF; within a week NSF’s Networking International Connections Officer Dr. Steve Goldstein had given us a contact in Bulgaria and we were passing e- mail through EUNet. AUBG’s Network Manager Krassimir Simonsky installed their connection in December and one to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and EARN in January 1992. The links have become an important part of life in both Universities.
International telephone and FAX calls are difficult to make, requiring advance arrangements and often not going through. electronic mail has provided a faster and more reliable path for the administration of the institution and the professional and personal needs of the expatriates.
- Sue Goodie, Administrative Assistant to Dr. Rauch, terms it “indispensable”. She notes that their office exchanges many notes every day with the AUBG President, Vice President, Controller, and Director of Administration among others. It is “essential” in managing the payment of invoices, “critical” in hiring faculty, whose vitae and recommendations often come in and are transmitted over the Internet.
- The Internet has been very useful in relieving the isolation of faculty and staff, unable to understand Bulgarian media. Professor George Markowsky of the UM I Computer Science Department saw the problem on a visit to AUBG and arranged a subscription to the RFE/RL Daily Report which is widely recirculated and appreciated. We here also find it to be the best resource for keeping abreast of events in Bulgaria.
- CAPS’ Associate Director Gerry Dube has used the networks to help Dr. Simonsky design, install and manage his local Ethernet, install mail facilities and work to provide the kind of computing environment often taken for granted in the U.S. but much more difficult to create in an Eastern European country.
- AUBG Adjunct Professor Malcolm Brown, says: “The INTERNET has already been an immense service to us. And it’s not just overcoming phone- FAX- and other troubles. As recently as the past 48 hours I have spoken with two faculty members and one student, all of whom are just about breathless with enthusiasm about the small but significant new access we’ve all been exercising over the past four weeks. I mean ftpmail, or anonymous ftp. Of course, it doesn’t work at all installations. But it sure works splendidly at U of Houston and Princeton and U of Ottawa and DEC’s Research Group node and email@example.com, as I have plenty of lovely files to attest.”
Our experience demonstrates that the Internet has benefitted the U.S. by helping it to project its presence and the products of its creativity across the world and we believe the National Information Infrastructure will in similar fashion.