Eastern in the City closed

“After three years of serving students and shaping leaders who will surely change communities and lives, the Eastern in the City one-year undergraduate program will be closing,” according to the letter that was distributed to the administration, faculty and staff of Eastern in February.

EIC was a program under the umbrella of the School for Social Change located in center-city Philadelphia. The School for Social Change also encompassed such programs as Community Education, Master of Arts in Urban Studies, and Cross Boundaries. All of those programs are being maintained in some capacity except EIC. The aforementioned programs will be moved to their new location at the Falls Center on Henry Avenue, which is also the site of Eastern’s new Charter Academy.

Former Director of Eastern in the City Amy Pérez expressed disappointment about the closing of EIC, but also recognized the reality of the situation. “One major reason (for the closing) was the internal duplication of EU programs in Philadelphia,” Pérez said. Other programs in the area like the Esperanza College and People for People Institute “attracted many of the same population.” This diminished the enrollment at EIC, which, on average, serviced 55 students a semester throughout its three years of operation.

On the other hand, Jerome Scott a former EIC student, said of the program, “EIC was a very beneficial experience for the two years that I attended, however, I always had a feeling that it was somehow being mismanaged behind the scenes.” He attributes the closure of the program to poor communication between EIC and Eastern’s main campus.

According to Pérez, when administrators first re-envisioned the future of EIC, they did not plan for closure. The first draft of plans included “some changes,” but the decision to close was reached in January by Pérez, EIC’s dean Vivian Nix-Early and other administration.

Throughout its three-year run, somewhere between 20 and 25 faculty were involved with Eastern in the City. “The programs at the School for Social Change shared full-time faculty, so that part of their load was teaching a course or two with EIC,” Pérez said.

The change is unlikely to affect the faculty in any great capacity, but those who were planning to attend EIC will have to make other arrangements.

The requirements for admission into the EIC program were a bit more extensive than those of traditional undergraduate admission. “Admission was based on a review of high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, two written essays, and a personal interview,” Pérez said. Students who enrolled did so under the precepts of EIC’s mission statement, part of which said, “To equip aspiring agents of social change by providing them with a rigorous, affordable faith-integrated education.”

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