Off-campus Study Study Group Recommendations and Actions

The International and Off-campus Study Group recommended:

  1. Providing additional financial resources to assist students who otherwise would not be able to afford to study off-campus.
  2. Investigating the reasons why certain cohorts of students are less likely to participate in off-campus study than students on average.
  3. Ensuring that faculty advisers are discussing off-campus study with students from early on.
  4. Intentionally linking on-campus courses with off-campus courses.
  5. Establishing an oversight body beyond the department-level to evaluate all off-campus study proposals in light of larger institutional, curricular goals.
  6. Increasing the number of domestic off-campus courses offered.
  7. Providing opportunities on-campus to faculty to prepare for leading off-campus programs.
  8. Providing funding to allow faculty to visit the domestic or international sites in preparation for leading a group.
  9. Encouraging faculty members who have led a student group to explore how they can incorporate their experience into their on-campus teaching or scholarship.
  10. Supporting faculty to pursue international research and establish collaborative relationships with colleagues and institutions within the United States and abroad.
  11. Evaluating all field-supervised semester-long courses in terms of their connection to on-campus curricula, pedagogical coherence, and rationale for choice of sites.
  12. Exploring new models of off-campus study, which may better suit the schedules and interests of those students who at present are less likely to enroll in the traditional off-campus offerings. Consider options such as:
    • Off-campus research opportunities over the interim and summer.
    • Off-campus study embedded in an on-campus course or a learning community.
    • An off-campus course tailored specifically to the interests of majors.
    • A DUR (Directed Undergraduate Research) off-campus during January or the summer.
    • Cohort-based programs. For example, we might think about creating a domestic study opportunity that would attract students who are participating in programs such as American Studies, American Conversations or American Racial and Multicultural Studies.
    • Service learning opportunities.

Since the study group made its recommendations the following have occurred (in rough chronological order):

  • IOS undertook a self-study and program review in 2012-13.
  • Faculty members interested in language, culture, and science gathered.
  • In 2013-14, all student visa services moved to IOS.
  • Academic Leadership discussed internationalization of the curriculum and campus early in 2013/14. Internationalization also was the focus of several CILA lunches, and a public lecture and a workshop for faculty and staff, focusing on strategies for maximizing learning in study abroad programs this past year.
  • A faculty-and-staff Advisory Council (https://wp.stolaf.edu/international/ios-advisory-council/) was convened by the Associate Dean to advise on curricular, co-curricular, and policy issues.
  • IOS has worked with the Piper Center to help prepare students for internships abroad.
  • A new model for orientations for off-campus interims begins this year.
  • In the fall of 2014, IOS Director Jodi Malmgren will lead a task force to evaluate St. Olaf’s field-supervised semester-long programs.
  • New off-campus study models include a summer archeology field school in Turkey, and a new Environmental Studies/Asian Studies collaborative offering on sustainable agriculture in Asia (support from the Luce Foundation).

We have not yet realized the goal of increased student participation. Iinterim participation remains robust, while a number of the field-supervised semester-long programs struggle to attain minimum enrollments.  The percentage of students in the past three graduating classes who have engaged in at least one off-campus learning experience during their time at St. Olaf has been essentially flat: 75.1% for the class of 2012, 72.9% for the class of 2013, and 73.4% for the class of 2014.

Enrollments in Off-campus Study 2011/12-2-13/14

Fall, Fall+Interim Interim Only Spring, Spring+Interim Year-long Summer (excludes Internships) Total
2013/14 79 569 104 6 31 789
2012/13 157 575 89 9 22 852
2011/12 123 569 88 6 20 806

 

Another 17 students were engaged in credit-bearing international internships.