Resources for Proposing an Off-Campus Program
Selection CriteriaRequests will be reviewed first by the Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) to assess viability, marketability, operational risk, budget/cost, and the general quality of the learning experience. This review will also include the Director of Academic Administration, to examine budget implications of the course request.
Only programs that are viable, marketable, safe and affordable will then be reviewed by the Academic Affairs Council (AAC) and/or the Graduate Academic Affairs Council (GAAC) to ensure academic integrity of all courses taught by the University. Ultimate decision on course academic rigor lies with AAC/GACC with recommendation from CGEE and Academic Affairs regarding viability and other factors not related to academic content.
Criteria used to recommend and approve off-campus courses requests include:
Number of programs
The number of approved off-campus programs will not exceed capacity for Augsburg University student enrollment and budget, both for off-campus courses as well as in conjunction with the overall Academic Affairs budget. Given the number of strong proposals received each year, a proposals’ academic quality and experiential learning strengths are not the only deciding factors for approval.
CGEE, and/or the relevant academic Dean, will communicate with program proposers regarding capacity, or possible low enrollment, if it is believed the course will either exceed capacity or be challenging to fill. This could result in collaboration with another faculty-led proposal to combine experiences, or, moving the proposal to a future year/term.
Solid Academic Framework
In addition to meeting the requirements of the Augsburg Experience (undergraduate), programs should include the following:
- Academic rigor equal to courses offered on campus that integrate reading, writing, speakers and direct experience into a deep learning experience;
- Use of the location abroad as a “classroom” that utilizes the global/local context for direct discovery, integration and application of knowledge;
- Learning community: facilitating the student group to create a learning community that enhances individual learning.
Programs should include the following:
- Opportunities for students to dialogue with a range of viewpoints and voices in the host community(ies);
- Scheduled cultural programming, such as attending local events or a dinner/homestay with a host family;
- Assignments that engage students with community and local perspectives, such as interviewing locals, service learning projects, and other experiential learning opportunities;
- Journaling for reflection on cultural self-awareness and critical thinking related to cultural difference;
- Language acquisition by learning basic phrases, vocabulary building and listening skills;
- Writing across cultures through creative writing, comparative analysis, descriptive field notes, research, etc.
Additional Miscellaneous Factors
Additional consideration will be given to programs that:
- Fulfill graduation requirements beyond the Augsburg Experience (LAFs, Keystone, major/minor requirements, etc.) for undergraduate students. The broader the academic requirements that a course fulfills, the wider range of students can apply;
- Contribute to the best overall mix of geographic locations, academic disciplines, new and experienced faculty leaders, and student populations served. Programs that serve underrepresented majors and students will be prioritized. Underrepresented, in this case, mean underrepresented in study abroad. These groups include, but are not solely limited to: students of color, first generation students, STEM majors, health sciences majors, and athletes;
- Provide a good value, balancing cost with academic needs of students as well as alignment to course sequencing for the majors/minors and the academic program(s) which are proposing the course;
- Received strong student evaluations after past iterations of a program, if applicable;
- Consider environmental issues in program planning and/or course design.
Credit Hour GuidelinesThe Federal Credit Hour Definition (adapted):
A credit hour is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than: (1) one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for a fifteen week semester; or (2) an equivalent amount of other academic work leading to the award of credit hours. 1 credit hour requires 37.5 hours of combined direct instruction and associated student learning experiences. If the course equals 4 credit hours, it will require 150 hours of combined direct instruction and associated student learning experiences.
Application of credit hour criteria to courses including an off-campus experience:
- Instruction and student work for the purposes of credit hour computation in off-campus courses includes the following types of activities:
- Course meetings before, during, and after the dates of travel;
- Time to read/view assigned texts;
- Lectures (from the course instructor, guest lecturers, faculty/staff/students at partner institutions, guides, local residents, etc.);
- Discussion meetings (with course instructors, guest lecturers, faculty/staff/students at partner institutions, guides, local residents, peers, etc.);
- Museum, clinic, business, government building or other site visits;
- Learning activities that engage students with the learning objectives of the course (i.e. homestay, organized cultural excursions, performances, etc.);
- Service learning projects;
- Student presentations;
- Synthesis/processing/reflection time (may be used for writing, discussion, or production of creative work which may take many forms including but not limited to journals, formal papers, blogs, art, music, multi-media, etc.)
Cost ConsiderationsThe list below can help faculty leaders design strong program proposals by allowing them to actively choose where to “invest” in higher cost program elements that will best support the learning outcomes, and where to choose lower cost elements (when possible and appropriate).
Location – flights: Some locations offer less expensive flights. If your program requires flying to multiple cities/countries, this raises the price. CGEE’s preference is to purchase group flights for a number of reasons, but these flights are often $150-$350 more per person than single flights found on websites like Travelocity, etc. It is, however, not recommended that groups use highly discounted airline tickets purchased through third party websites.
Location – on-site costs: Some on-site costs involve a choice (e.g., fancier hotels vs. hostels, coach bus vs. public transport). But other on-site costs are hard to change – food in Rome will cost more than in Phnom Penh; New York will likely be more expensive than Columbus.
Time of year: The cost and availability of both flights and on-site costs can go up or down in a particular location, depending on what is considered “high season” in that location.
Co-Teaching: Teaching a course with another faculty member from a different discipline can, but is not guaranteed to, increase the target market and therefore the viability and marketability of a program. It can also increase the program cost due to faculty compensation, if there is not an increase in student enrollment on the course. Normally, the faculty load will be split between co-instructors, based on the typical teaching load for the course.
Number of faculty leaders: All travel and in-country expenses for faculty leaders are paid with student dollars, so two faculty leaders creates a higher per-student price. Generally speaking, two faculty will not make financial sense when the expected number of participants is fewer than 15. We understand that, for some programs with multiple and unique disciplines on offer, two faculty may be required for academic reasons. In these cases, CGEE will critically look at whether enrollment over 15 can be expected OR if costs can be cut in other ways to accommodate two faculty.
Number of students: The more students who participate in a program, the more they can share the fixed costs of a program (like faculty expenses, promotional materials, honoraria for speakers). If you are proposing a program with only one faculty member but would like to take more than 19 students, our office can help find a staff member who can assist as a co-leader.
Program length: A longer program incurs more on-site costs, but it also provides more value to a student. A longer program in Thailand (where the flight cost is high, but daily costs are low) allows for a reasonable price given the number of days in country. A longer program in the UK will incur disproportionately more in on-site costs, since food and accommodations there are more expensive. These types of considerations are not as apparent in domestic programs.
Number of courses: Tuition is not added to courses in winter/spring break as the off-campus course is covered in comprehensive tuition. Tuition is added for summer program courses. Because of the University’s commitment to global education and to incentivize an internationalized curriculum, all undergraduate day students who participate in international off-campus faculty-led programs automatically receive a 70% discount on tuition, which is applied to the overall cost as a CGEE Global Scholarship.
Programming choices: Visits with local people/experts can be less expensive than concert tickets. Some museums have high entry fees while others are free, etc.
A few more notes on cost:
- Faculty overload is being covered by Academic Affairs.
- CGEE programs are open only to enrolled students of Augsburg University, or, to non-degree seeking students from other institutions. Community members, alumni, etc. are not allowed to participate; do not count on “rounding out” enrollment with such individuals.
- CGEE operational costs also need to be factored into any program cost. These include, but are not limited to: promotional materials, orientation costs, international health insurance, flight fuel surcharges, international wire transfer fees, emergency/contingency funds.
Creating a Green ProgramTraveling has an undeniably negative impact on the environment in a number of ways, not the least of which is the emission of CO2 as part of air travel. Since Augsburg University is committed to reducing the environmental impact of all of its operations, CGEE asks faculty to consider incorporating greening practices into study abroad programs. We believe this can be done in two main categories – program planning/logistics and course assignments that help raise students’ awareness of their individual carbon footprint and that of the group.
CGEE encourages faculty to consider environmental issues in program planning and/or course design and reference the list below when completing the Strengths Statement for the proposal. Inclusion of green practices in a course design is not a factor in whether or not the course is offered as it is recognized that some locations, or curricula, do not lend themselves to this.
Program planning aspects:
- Carbon Credits
- Transportation on foot, by bicycle and/or by using public/mass transit
- Eating locally produced foods (either from markets, food for local preparation, or at restaurants)
- Home stays or green-building stays (hotels, etc. that meet have green features)
- Environmental impact of travel as part of curriculum
- Projects enacted back in Minneapolis that address climate change
- Personal behavioral change in Minneapolis reflecting greater environmental sensitivity
Guidelines for Sustainable Travel
- NAFSA’s Sustainability in Study Abroad Page
- Sustainable Travel International: www.sustainabletravelinternational.org
- Article: "Sustainable Travel and Study Abroad," by Astrid Jurka, Transitions Abroad
- Article: “A Necessary Partnership: Study Abroad and Sustainability in Higher Education” by Andrea M.W. Dvorak, Lars D. Christiansen, Nancy L. Fischer, Joseph B. Underhill