Study Away Committee
Annual Report, 2008-2009
John Beckford, Dean of the Faculty
Elizabeth Bradley, student
Erik Ching, History, Chair
Sam Giffin, student
Tim Hanks, Chemistry
Christopher Hutton, Music
Tom Kazee, Provost and Executive Vice President)
Kailash Khandke, Asst. Dean for Study Away and International Education
Lisa Knight, Religion
Brent Nelsen, Political Science
Cheryl Patterson, Business
After working towards setting policy and establishing our operating procedures last year, the primary activities of the Study Away Committee (StAC) in 2008-2009 revolved around reviewing proposals for forthcoming study away programs for the two semesters in 2009-2010 May X 2009 and May X 2010. The deadline for all semester programs for 2009-2010 was October 1, so the committee reviewed applications throughout the Fall. The committee received and reviewed 14 applications for semester programs: Africa, Brussels, Chile, China, Columbia SC, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Latin America, New Mexico, Spain and Washington DC. The committee received and reviewed 14 applications for May X 2009: Africa, the Appalachians, Berlin, Birmingham AL, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Italy, New Orleans, Scandinavia, Senegal and Turkey. To date the committee has received and reviewed two applications for May X 2010: Galapagos and Costa Rica.
Of the semester programs, all 14 were approved by the committee and by the faculty at large. Three of them subsequently failed to make: Columbia SC, Chile and Latin America. Of the 14 May X 2009 programs, the committee and the faculty at large approved ten of them, with the other four programs withdrawing their applications for their own reasons. Three of those approved (the Czech Republic, Guatemala and Senegal) either did not make or were withdrawn by the faculty member, so a total of seven programs are in the process of going on this inaugural voyage of May X 2009. Both of the May X 2010 programs have both been approved by faculty at large and are in the process of recruiting students.
In addition to reviewing programs, the committee continued its role in monitoring and assessing the state of study away in general at Furman. This involved various issues throughout the year. But one issue of importance that emerged toward the end of the year was the downward trend in applications for study away programs across the board for 2009-10, as evidenced by the failure of two long-standing programs (Chile and Latin America) and the significantly reduced applicant pools for most of the remaining programs that did make. The committee, particularly in conjunction with Dean Khandke, discussed the possible reasons for this trend. In addition to endogenous explanations, we also realized that Furman is confronting larger, exogenous factors, because study away applications are down at most universities nationally. This fact suggests that That being said, one factor that makes Furman an outlier to national trends is the fact that many of our programs, including those that failed, do not cost students additional money. In hopes of acquiring data to better understand this trend, the committee, in conjunction with Dean Khandke, developed a survey that was sent out to all students in late April 2009 regarding their perceptions of and/or plans for study away.