Despite the increasingly difficult economic circumstances, the IC has operated productively for three years, due to permanent and successful fundraising and PR activity. It seems that the new civil and business sphere is beginning to recognize the importance of such selective education and its long-term advantages. The confidence needed to find and maintain support has been won by the institution's transparent economic and administrative system and its cost effectiveness. For example, in the academic year 1994-95 the IC spent USD 510 on each student monthly, of which only USD 70 were overheads.
The growing reputation of the IC is demonstrated by a few cogent facts. Newly invited IC tutors, chosen among distinguished scholars and non-academic experts by rigorous academic and/or professional criteria, are happy to accept the invitation. Indeed, a tutorial position at the IC is a positive bonus in academic life. Secondly, each year about 400 university students apply for the 20 openings at the College. The criteria for entrance are strictly maintained by a thorough procedure for all candidates. Ability, potential, and performance are assessed in a multi-stage competition. Permanent monitoring ensures that the whole admissions system is kept at a high standard. Thirdly, the concept of the "invisible college" has proved fertile: from Cluj through Warsaw to Bratislava and Bucharest, similar Colleges have been or are being launched on the basis of the IC's experiences. So a kind of international network can also be formed between these colleges, which will obviously be useful for the educational development in the respective countries.
The IC has also been under continuous pressure to widen its activities and diffuse its experiences to the whole field of higher education in Hungary. The basic idea of the so-called Visible Extension Project supported by the Ford Foundation is to use this small elite institution as a testing ground for new courses to be taught at other institutions of higher education. This project involves publishing textbooks and complete course packages based on the IC's most successful instructional materials, to be used in higher education nationwide.
In the academic year of 1994-95 the College was nominated for the prestigious Hannah Arendt Prize, which was created in 1994 by the Kurt Körber Foundation (Hamburg) and the Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna) to support distinguished institutions of research and higher education in Central Europe as a contribution to the development of open, free, and democratic civil societies. Among more than fifty nominated institutions the Jury chose four finalists, including the IC, and its members visited the College. Although the prize was awarded to the Graduate School for Social Research (Warsaw), this certainly enhanced the international reputation of the College. Finally, since the IC tutors are selected from several different university departments, academic institutions and research institutes, an intellectual network and cooperation are developing around the IC, creating a higher quality in Hungarian education and scholarship. In this way, without a distinct research unit, the IC is able to participate in and link up different research projects, giving it an integral and, in a certain sense, central role in academic life. As the Principal, Dr Ágnes Erdélyi says, "Our students have come to form a real community and have developed institutional loyalty to the College to a degree quite unknown at other educational institutions. Just as we hoped, our students have established informal networks for both academic and non-academic purposes, including independent initiatives such as clubs, publications, courses and social events." Knowledge and ability, self-educuation and self-improvement, sports and culture, enthusiasm and sensitivity all help to prepare IC students for their role as citoyens of the future.
Batthyány u. 32.
P.O.Box 43, H-1922 Budapest, Hungary
Phone/Fax: (361) 201 9872
The College, established on September 7, 1992, was given considerable autonomy by the University. Overall academic supervision is in the hands of the approximately 100 Fellows, who include the Faculty's 60 professors, leading research scientists, and established authorities in the natural sciences. The Fellows select the best candidate from applicants for the post of director, and recommend his appointment to the Rector of the University. The day-to-day academic direction and supervision of the College is in the hands of the College Council, whose chairman is the Dean of the Faculty of Science, and whose members are appointed by the Rector on the recommendation of the Fellowship. The disciplines of Biology, Physics, Geology, Chemistry and Mathematics are represented. The activities of the students in the various disciplines are coordinated and supervised by the College Faculty.
Enrolment in the College is open to juniors (second and third-year students at the Science Faculty), seniors (fourth and fifth-year students at the Faculty, or in cases of exceptional merit, at other universities if they are interested in the natural sciences), and graduate students working on their Ph.D. Acceptance by the College is subject to a rigorous entrance examination. Subsequent examinations are required at the end of the third and the fifth year. Since the College can accommodate only 50 residents, the others take part in the programs as external students. The total number of students at present is slightly over 70. The representatives of students are active and have a wide range of discretionary powers.
The educational program is divided into two basic areas: general and specialized. General lectures are given by distinguished Hungarian and foreign scholars in the humanities, natural scientists and social scientists and provide students with an overview of the wider social, philosophical and moral issues raised by modern science and its implications for man and his world.
The specialized program offers weekly seminars in the five major disciplines. The students are able to familiarize themselves with each other's work, discuss the latest findings reported in the professional literature, and attend lectures given by invited authorities on specific fields.
The College regularly invites outstanding scholars from abroad to hold one or two-week long intensive (primarily postgraduate) courses. These lectures are public, and may be attended by any interested student of the Faculty, as well as by researchers from other institutions. During the summer holidays, the College hosts summer courses, lecture series and conferences dealing with various key issues of modern science. These postgraduate courses have been integrated into the Ph.D. program of the Faculty of Science.
To help the students acquire proficiency in foreign languages, the College offers English, French and German language courses.
It further assists students by partially or fully financing educational trips abroad: postgraduate courses, surveys, visits to scientific institutions, etc.
Visits by foreign lecturers, language courses and students' trips abroad are financed by independent sponsors.
One of the priorities of the College is interdisciplinary cooperation. The first successful endeavor in this area is a research project conducted jointly by biology and physics students, which has gained the support of the National Scientific Research Foundation.
The College has also embarked on an experimental tutorial program. This, and the fact that juniors, seniors and graduate students all live together, makes a vibrant atmosphere of dialogue and debate one of the hallmarks of life at the College.
The College wishes to maintain close cooperation with the centers of elite education in the sciences both at home and abroad. To this end it is in contact in Hungary with the Eötvös József College, the Collegium Budapest, the Invisible College, and the Central European University, and abroad with the Scuola Normale of Pisa, the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris, the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati of Trieste, and the University of Heidelberg.
Prof. Imre Kondor
Bolyai College of the Eötvös University
Faculty of Sciences
Amerikai út 96
H-1145 Budapest Hungary Phone: (361) 251 1137
Fax: (361) 251 1137
Internetto calls itself "Lighthouse in the sea of information". This has a nice ring to it but does not really tell much about its purpose or contents. When you call it up&emdash;or, to use the proper term, download its first page, you get a graphically designed title page, like that of any "print magazine", with a contents list. Much of what you can read&emdash;or access by clicking on the items in that list&emdash;is also much like what you would read in a magazine published for a young audience of intellectual bent. The main difference&emdash;apart from the fact that Internetto is read off computer screens&emdash;is that unlike the editing of a "normal periodical", editing and putting out Internetto is a continuous process. As for its structure, Internetto is, in fact, three magazines in one. It contains a daily newsletter, sent out at around 3 o'clock a. m. local time&emdash;prime time in the US&emdash; a weekly E-Mail variant accessible also through BBS's via CompuServe, as well as a weekly magazine.
The news carried by Internetto concerns mainly developments in electronics and computer technology, viewed, however, from a non-technical aspect. The weekly magazine, on the other hand, is almost fully cultural. It includes art reviews, pictures, interviews, literary studies, stories, reports, recipes, discussion, and a lot more. Being avid fans of the `Net, Internetto's readers are also great E-Mail-writers, reacting all the time to what they read in the magazine (in fact, they are strongly encouraged to do so). Their reactions can also be read. You can move from section to section, returning to the Contents every time, or move about with the help of the omnipresent hypertext. One of the highlights is a continuously expanding collection of new slang terms along with witty comments and ironic explanations. But the new expressions themselves are pretty funny, especially as many of them come directly from the computer language the readers of Internetto are so familiar with. (Having your morning cup of coffee, for example, is called "booting" or you may even "install yourself" by drinking it.) Another entertaining section collects comments by Americans staying in Hungary on life in this country (in English, too).
Like abcd, Internetto is also published by the Hungarian branch of the American-based multinational computer magazine and book publishing giant IDG which certainly deserves creit for its courageous support for such experiments meant to develop the new culture of interactivity, in whatever form they appear. In answer to the question "What's in it for IDG," Editor Nyírõ explains that part of the services of Internetto&emdash;like the weekly E-Mail newsletter&emdash;will soon become subscribable, i.e. they will be sold for money. Far more income, however, is expected come from advertising, and, even though the number of Internet users in Hungary is still relatively small, advertisers appear to be far more interested in Internetto than in abcd, the advertising revenues of which fall far short of what was expected when the magazine was first started.
Ultimately, however, IDG is likely to benefit most from Internetto's and abcd's role in spreading the culture of interactivity, educating new users in a technology which keeps continuously flowing, and sustaining IDG's magazines and books.