Higher Education and Development for Archaeology and Environmental Health Research
SUNY at Stony Brook
Admission of Iraqi Students for Graduate Education at Stony Brook
by Dr. Elizabeth Stone
This summary as of: 19 March 04. For updates see section 2.4 of Monthly
December 2003 we distributed application forms to the Departments of
Archaeology and Cuneiform Studies in Mosul University, the Department of
Archaeology at Baghdad University, and the State Board of Antiquities of Iraq
(who employ many of the graduates of these programs). In March 2004 we returned
to evaluate the candidates.
process attracted 26 candidates, 15 from Mosul University, 5 from Baghdad University, and 6 from the State Board of Antiquities and 1 who found us.
The evaluation process was based on:
transcript indicating the grades received, overall average and rank in class
exam in English reading comprehension which was developed by Stony Brookís Intensive English Center and administered by us here in Iraq
writing exam where the students wrote an essay during a fixed period of time
under our supervision. Those collected in Baghdad were faxed to Stony Brookís Intensive English Center and evaluated by them; those collected in Mosul were evaluated by us
following the criteria used on the first set.
interview with the candidate lasting between 20 and 45 minutes with Professors
Paul Zimansky and Elizabeth Stone. To the extent possible this interview was
conducted in English, but with a translator present.
The criteria for admission were:
transcript and letters of recommendation. We were looking for the best
studentís ability to articulate why they were interested in archaeology and
some particular research problems that they would like to attack.
studentís interest in returning to Iraq to teach in Iraqi centers for higher
education. The studentís ability to handle the English language. This was based
on the exams that we administered, their ability to understand our questions,
and their ability to frame answers.
Problems encounteredĖand their solutions
overall low level of English exhibited by these students. This is much lower
than was the case when Zimansky and Stone worked in Iraq in the years before
the first Gulf War. Apparently Iraqi Universities do not allow students in
Archaeology to take courses outside their own subject, so they could not take
courses in the English Department. Our solution here was to choose students
with some English, and arrange for intensive English classes for them, based on
materials used by Stony Brookís Intensive English Center, between now and the
beginning of the program in July. The written exams will be repeated on a
regular basis between now and then to measure their progress.
poor communications within Iraq today which have resulted in the Departments
losing touch with many of their recent graduates. It is this that led us to
include the one applicant who found us.
lack of familiarity of the students with taking multiple choice exams. We found
that the results of the exam were often inconsistent with their comprehension
in the interview.
we originally planned to make offers to ten students, we felt that only eight
(four from Mosul, one from Baghdad University, two from the State Board of
Antiquities and the one who found us) met our criteria.
group is made up of five men and three women, out of a total pool of twenty men
and six women.
of the ten need to take intensive English between now and when they come to the
we do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion, we do not have
data on the ethnic and religious mix of our students.