Hallmarks of a Successful Program
- Academic Integrity:
Study Abroad programming is a serious and meaningful academic enterprise consisting of college-level academic study. The program syllabus includes coursework and experiential learning. The program is taught in a manner that enables participants to connect with the foreign culture and society of the nation (or region) in which the program takes place. K-State’s Faculty-led Study Abroad courses must adhere to the same high standards of content, delivery, and assessment as courses taught on campus.
- Cultural Integration:
Strong programs facilitate participants’ integration into the host culture so that students engage with that culture and society at fairly sophisticated and complex levels and, by means of this connection, arrive at a deeper understanding of its people and culture.
The course syllabus should incorporate some academic content relating to the host country, culture, economy, and history. From this integration and engagement, the participant should learn not only about the host country and region, but also about their home society and country. Perhaps most importantly, the process of integration and engagement will teach the participants a great deal about themselves as well.
Without this academic integrity and cultural integration, participants remain merely tourists and, although tourism is sometimes educational, it is usually not “credit-worthy.”
The program should have an explicit element that enables the participants to become, at least for a while, “residents of” and not merely “tourists visiting” the city and region where the program is located. We want to go far beyond “educational tourism;” one of our goals is to avoid giving participants the feeling that they are just passing through the society in which they find themselves. All education abroad programs - and especially short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs must find the means to enable participants to interact with and engage in the host culture. This is perhaps the principal challenge that short-term faculty-led study abroad programs face.
- The Safety and Security of Participants:
The safety and security of students and Faculty Leaders while they are overseas is critical. For faculty-led programs proposed for regions where a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning, Alert, or Advisory is in effect, the K-State Study Abroad Office requires the Faculty Leader to submit a formal written statement addressing the issues outlined in the travel warning and what specific precautions you will take to ensure students’ safety for the duration of the program. This statement will be reviewed by the Associate Provost for International Programs for approval.
Additionally, because emergencies can occur anywhere in the world, each Faculty-led Study Abroad Program must adhere to the Study Abroad Office and K-State’s Emergency Preparedness Protocols. For detailed information, please review the Emergency Information for Faculty Leaders page and the K-State Office of Student Life website.
- Fiscal and Budgetary Responsibility:
We recognize that many students face considerable financial pressures in completing their studies at K-State and that a study abroad experience may create additional financial burdens. The Study Abroad Office and the Faculty Leader work together to keep the costs for Faculty-led Study Abroad programs at a reasonable amount. When developing a program, Faculty Leaders should strive to find a balance between fiscal responsibilities, logistics, and academic content, to maximize both the opportunity for student learning and the opportunity for participation by students who rely on financial aid to fund their study.
Proposals for new faculty-led study abroad programs must present evidence that they will provide the highest quality program in the most fiscally conservative and cost effective manner. Funds expended for faculty-led study abroad programs are carefully monitored and accounted for, and each Faculty Leader is expected to reconcile an expense report immediately upon returning to the United States.
- The Needs of the Student:
One of K-State’s goals is to increase the number of K-State students studying abroad each year. To do this, the University seeks to provide students with programs (short-term, semester, and year-long) that reflect the academic strengths of the institution. K-State seeks to offer programs that appeal to students in all departments and to students at the Manhattan, Salina and Olathe campuses.
In developing new programs, Faculty Leaders and departments should place a priority on proposals that demonstrate explicit support of these principles. Rather than duplicating opportunities that already exist on campus (especially in terms of location and content), Faculty Leaders should look to augment and complement the existing curriculum. In this way, students will have an even stronger academic degree.
Additionally, the Faculty Leader must be prepared to provide a high level of personal support – significantly higher than on the home campus – for the participants, many of whom will be traveling outside the U.S. for the first time, are in need of a higher level of care.
- Appropriate Orientations:
The students should not arrive in the host country ignorant of things that they need to know in order to understand the host culture and its people. An orientation for a faculty-led study abroad program is best viewed as an ongoing process, starting well in advance of departure and continuing throughout the program and even upon the students’ return to campus, if possible.
To prepare the students adequately for living and studying abroad, the program proposal should include provision for a substantive orientation program that includes the preparation of an orientation handbook and pre-departure and on-site orientation components. The Faculty Services Coordinator is available to assist the Faculty Leader in conducting a pre-departure orientation for students.
- Likelihood of Success:
The proposed program should provide evidence of a convergence of factors that increase the likelihood of success for the program. The Faculty Leader should identify a topic of relevance, an adequate pool of students on which to draw, and an appropriate location for the program. For detailed information, please review Tips for Recruiting Students, which is available on the Study Abroad Office website.
- Reasonable Faculty/Student Ratio:
Successful programs rarely will have a faculty/student ratio greater than 1/20.
- Inclusion of Local Faculty:
If the size of the proposed requires additional instructors, the Faculty Leader may want to consider hiring additional instructors from the host country. Local faculty or guest lecturers from the host county/host institution can provide new viewpoints or insights, as well as giving students another opportunity to interact with host nationals.
- Language Programs:
For program designed to improve students’ foreign language skills, additional characteristics of success include:
- The professors in the host country who teach the language courses are native-speakers of the language they teach.
- In addition to language study, opportunities are made available for students to study the culture, society, history, or contemporary politics of the country.
- Program length is a minimum of 6 weeks.
- Language classes enroll no more than 10 students per section and are offered at various skill levels.
- Multiple Site Programs:
For faculty-led study abroad programs that involve multiple sties, additional characteristics of success include:
- The program balances the desire to provide an overview of several cities or countries with the need for an in-depth experience in each location and utilizes an itinerary that neither exhausts the participants or the Faculty Leader, nor inflates the cost of the program unnecessarily.
- Since accommodations for faculty-led study abroad programs are generally in hotels, hostels, or bed and breakfast settings, the program should provide additional opportunities for participants to have contact with the residents of the countries visited.