With over 60 percent of students studying abroad by the time they graduate, Colgate is constantly commended for the accessibility of its study abroad programs. Recent proposals, however, have left some students concerned that attending off-campus study groups unaffiliated with Colgate will soon become implausible.
Currently, there are about 20 Colgate off-campus study groups located in various nations throughout the globe. Two-thirds of students studying abroad take part in these programs while the other third participate in non-Colgate programs. This semester, there are over 31 different non-Colgate study abroad programs in which Colgate students participate. Being programs has never been considered a great challenge in the past. However, recently enacted proposals from the Off-Campus Study Group Committee (OCSC) and the Academic Affairs Board (AAB) have stated that their changes will make the process for attending these non-approved programs “highly rigorous,” generating some concern from the student body.
Despite the concern, the Department of Off-Campus Studies and International Programs believes that these changes will be far from limiting to Colgate students.
“The overall goal is the diversity of programs,” Director of Colgate’s Off-Campus Studies Kara Bingham said. “Currently there is little guidance to the approval of non-Colgate study groups. These new principles will help guide the development of an approved list.”
Although the process of applying for approval for non-Colgate programs will become more rigorous, these new changes will actually increase the number of Colgate-approved programs that students are offered. It is estimated that there will be over 60 total programs approved within the next several years. The stamp of approval appears to provide multiple advantages for students.
“The biggest change will be that Colgate tuition will cover the costs of more study abroad programs,” Bingham said.
This is especially beneficial for those who receive financial aid from Colgate. Currently, most non-approved programs are not covered by the costs of Colgate tuition. These changes therefore open up the opportunity for financially dependent students to choose from a wider selection of study abroad programs.
These newly approved programs will also guarantee the earning of a full semester’s credit upon their successful completion. In the past, students who participate in non-Colgate study groups have been forced to take a leave of absence from the university without the guarantee that their credits will transfer back to the University. These new changes assure students will receive full credit for their work, while being able to earn at least two major credits or one minor credit in the process.
In the past, a student who may have been interested in studying the economic history of the Middle East may have been limited to a Middle East program in London, for example. With the Approved Programs approach, it is the hope that students will be able to go to a university in Egypt to gain more direct experience without any limitations concerning financial pressures or the transferring of credit.
Lynn Staley, Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, is excited about the possibilities that Approved Programs presents to Colgate students. Study abroad programs have already been approved that link Colgate with some of the most prominent universities around the globe.
“President Herbst, at the advice of Colgate faculty, has signed an agreement with the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University that affiliates Colgate with a Consortium of top liberal arts colleges whose aim is to strengthen academic links between Oxford and schools in the United States,” Staley said.
Many of Colgate’s faculty and staff have considered these new changes a step in the right direction.
In response to the approval of this initiative, President Herbst said, “I dare say that when Colgate’s history is written 50 years from now, this moment will be noted as a point when the university made a particularly important decision.”
Because it will take several years for the university to actively select non-Colgate study abroad programs to be approved, these new changes will not go into effect immediately.
“This is not a process that is going to take place overnight,” Bingham said. It is expected that these changes will go into full effect for the Class of 2016.