College renews Financial Times partnership

Timothy Fleming

The College of Arts and Sciences recently renewed its partnership with the Financial Times, granting students access to both hard copy and online versions.

The partnership with the Financial Times began around late 2006, according to Robert Blanchard, the assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“The College was considering additional ways of providing its students with a global perspective on the issues of the day,” Blanchard said.

Based on the recommendation of Catherine Hill, former associate dean and current political science professor, the college chose to partner with the Financial Times.

Blanchard said that negotiations to form the partnership were difficult.

At the end of these negotiations, Villanova became only the second higher-education institution in the world to become part of the Financial Times’ “Global Alliance” program.

Starting in February 2007, students from the college, and eventually the entire university, were granted access to the newspaper.

“The Financial Times offers a distinctive and non-American perspective, not just on matters of business, but cultural and political ones as well,” Blanchard said.

Rev. Kail Ellis, O.S.A., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, expressed his approval.

“Through the Global Alliance Program with the Financial Times, we at Villanova are providing our students and faculty with FT’s unparalleled international reach – real-time news; unbiased, authoritative and concise information; and phenomenal teaching tools for faculty to aid them in presenting complex and important ideas to our students,” Ellis said according to the college’s Web site.

Students have more than one option for accessing the Financial Times.

Fifty copies are distributed Monday through Friday among kiosks at Mendel Hall and the St. Augustine Center.

However, the Financial Times cannot be distributed in Bartley Hall, according to the University’s contract with the Wall Street Journal.

“There have been few days, if any, when hard copies are available at the end of the day,” Ellis said.

Students can also access a digital version of each issue, as well as the archive, dating back five years.

Before renewing the partnership with the Financial Times, the college asked for feedback from faculty members.

Several professors mentioned that they assigned readings from the Financial Times as part of coursework in political science and business classes, while others praised it as a research tool.

Hill, who initially recommended the newspaper, remarked how, although its title suggests an attention to financial matters, the paper also provides great information on cultural polemics, the geo-political global landscape and other important issues.

“The Financial Times is the best paper around for international reporting,” said A. Maria Toyoda of the political science department.

Short of offering subscriptions to the Economist, this relationship is the best resource the University could provide, she said.

“To be sure, not all faculty use the FT in their classes, nor is it appropriate to all disciplines,” Blanchard said.

Despite that limitation, a review conducted by the college found that the relationship with the Financial Times was achieving its initial objectives, according to Blanchard.

“In the future, hopefully more students will take advantage of the opportunity, and Villanova’s membership in the ‘Global Alliance’ will yield great rewards for both its students and faculty,” he said.