International Educator - January/February 2013 - 57
a very organized, competitive selection process,” Lemery says. “We also have another group of programs that are administered in the colleges, schools, and departments on campus. So we have both a centralized and a decentralized system.” Programs operated out of the UT-Austin education abroad office are on a three-year approval cycle, with programs running either for three consecutive years, or every other year. When the next cycle begins, approval must be renewed for another three-year cycle. “Most of the proposals we get are good proposals,” Lemery says. “But we get more proposals than we can accept. The proposals have to be approved through the department and the college. The study abroad office also looks at them in terms of health and safety issues, and risk, and in terms of program design, to see if it’s even viable. Then once all of those things are checked, the proposals go to a faculty committee for review, and the faculty makes recommendations for approval, in order of priority, so that if we can’t offer as many programs as they approve, we know where to cut the list off.” The three-year cycle helps keep only current programs on the books: and it is more efficient than the previous system, which required renewing program approval every year.
At the University of Utah, the Center for Learning Abroad has recently implemented the use of a standardized form for faculty to use in proposing new programs. “One of the very basic things that we did was to create the form, to expedite our ability to review the proposals in a more effective way,” says Beth Laux, associate director of the center. “Before we just had a list of questions that faculty would answer. The form helps us make sure faculty have answered all the questions. It also opens up the narrative. In the past, sometimes faculty were trying so hard to answer all of the questions, but there wasn’t necessarily a good description of the academic component, and what it was meant to accomplish. It also didn’t necessarily address how the program fit within the context of the subject area, and within the context of the university curriculum. Our hope is that the new form will encourage faculty to think about including coursework that could meet general education requirements, which would expand their target audience substantially. We also added a safety, security, and health assessment. The faculty don’t do that part: we certainly invite them to participate, but that is something that our office conducts in consultation with them.” Some institutions have established across-theboard eligibility requirements for faculty to be
J A N + F E B . 13 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR