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Before They Even Get Here: Cross-Campus Collaboration on a New Pre-Freshman Study Abroad Program


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During this session, we'll examine the development of an innovative study abroad program, which was the result of successful collaboration among professionals from the admissions and study abroad offices and an academic department. The synergy that resulted from this collaboration enabled the creation of a program that exceeded all expectations as a recruiting tool, as a summer bridge preparing high school students for university, and as an innovative model for future study abroad programs. Panelists will each tell the story of the program's creation from his or her own perspective, highlighting areas of potential mutual misunderstanding and how they were resolved.

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Before They Even Get Here: Cross-Campus Collaboration on a New Pre-Freshman Study Abroad Program

  1. 1. GO BEFORE YOU GO: STARTING A PRE- FRESHMAN STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM Kathie Carpenter, Jim Rawlins, Ben Callaway
  2. 2. Kathie Carpenter 2 My dual identity: empty nester and Director of Undergraduate Studies for International Studies Department Fall first-year students for 20-odd years, summer bridges for entering student athletes April, 2015
  3. 3. Academic success: some research 3 Teaching study skills is actually very helpful, but … Many students don’t want to participate How to entice? Usually, only after it’s too late
  4. 4. My goals Leverage abroad experience to draw them into academic prep Leverage academic preparation opportunity to get them abroad Cohort-building, longterm connection with a professor Work more with this interesting demographic Many of the gaps you all work with - gender, major, income, ability - affect the demographics of our majors What you do has consequence!(More INTL majors, too)
  5. 5. Our assumptions Keep them busy Emphasize experiential, active learning Healthy relationship with alcohol Location with no language barrier, minimal culture shock Need to be at least 18 Classes with appeal across genders
  6. 6. So what did we actually do? Two 4-credit courses : in class 22.5 hours week (5.5 hrs/day) “The Play’s the Thing” and “London: Biography of a City” One 1-credit course with me “Advancing your Academic Success” Field trips every Friday, weekly meeting, theater one night/week “Free time” on weekends (tube passes)
  7. 7. First day: Assessments Skills CLSSI (Dennis H. Congos, Univ Central Florida) 3/16 at or above benchmarks Rest below benchmarks: Test Prep: 6 Concentration: 6 Time management: 10 Textbooks: 12 Note taking: 12 Memory: 8
  8. 8. “Freshman Fears” (Missouri State?) Top five for our group: “I will not be able to manage my time” “I will have trouble understanding the professor” “I will not be able to develop proper study habits” “I will have difficulty meeting friends” “College will be too difficult for me”
  9. 9. What did I actually do? Academic Activities: Critical reading strategies, time management, test-taking, giving presentations, group and pair projects Orientation activities: UO “game show”, 4-year plan, campus resources assignment “Office hours” One-on-ones Lots of informal conversations Cultural brokering (“What does it mean when they use the F-bomb?”)
  10. 10. Hub and Spokes Working with multiple stakeholders: admissions, faculty director, overseas center, incoming students Learning opportunities for study abroad office with cross campus partnerships Sow the seed: Promote thinking about study abroad prior to arrival on campus
  11. 11. Building the Program Faculty Support: Study Abroad Programs Committee Approval, faculty director input Budget: Subsidy and support from Office of International Affairs London Centre: Site Director experience with freshmen and local faculty willingness to adapt courses
  12. 12. Student Recruitment Round pegs, square holes: incoming freshmen as a new audience for study abroad office Partnership with admissions to evaluate student applications Acceptance process – proactive steps to maintain engagement
  13. 13. London Resident Assistant Want students to have same support as on-campus freshmen to address multiple culture shocks Collaboration with Residence Life on job description and hiring process Next steps: ongoing UKVI visa changes, effects on London RA position
  14. 14. Common Questions Group flight? Under 18s? Pre-departure and in-country orientation? Program length and timing
  15. 15. “We have an idea…” Unlike any other study abroad program, doing one for your future students is tethered to many unknowns – the simplest of which this isn’t yet your student! NACAC guidelines Financial Aid Summer Orientation Goal: Get through year one, then worry about year two
  16. 16. A timeline was laid out… Meetings for this started in fall 2015 Included Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, and Orientation Who would apply? Who would we pick? …and how likely were they to come?
  17. 17. Admissions factors Promote the program to students Promote the program to counselors Don’t overpromise Who will be chosen?
  18. 18. Financial Aid Factors How soon will program costs be finalized? If a student has financial need, can they get assistance? Summer term limitations (leading vs trailing)
  19. 19. Registrars Office Factors Are the students to be considered matriculated or nonmatric for the term? If matriculated, what is the best timing for the switch? Will it cause other things to go wrong, such as official enrollment counts?
  20. 20. Orientation factors When is the best time for accepted students to come to summer orientation? How do we hold them spots? Special treatment? Equal treatment?
  21. 21. Timing – the big “ifs” Can application become available at the right time? What if interest is too high? (negative recruitment impact) What if interest is too low? (publicity timing) What if May 1 brings a lot of students bailing out? Wait lists, etc.
  22. 22. Unforeseen issues Resented “babysitting” but wanted more interaction Mismatch of expectations: HS study tour vs. college study abroad Complaints, disclosures about other students Scary stuff Behavior issues, “signaling” miscues (phones in class) No basis for comparison of UK system since pre-college Didn’t really connect with Londoners Communication: Facebook is “out” now
  23. 23. Outcomes The program turned them into theater lovers They grew up fast They struggled, but no grade lower than a B Attitudes more than content (e.g., writing, rewriting) They’ve all lasted this long!
  24. 24. What will I do differently? Meet 2X week instead of 1X Attend more content class lectures, field trips Set clear behavior guidelines, with consequences Arrange more meals, films, discussions together Faculty (London & me) will talk about our research Service learning Won’t ask to live in dorm!
  25. 25. Working with faculty (working with me) I am super impressed with your professionalism but you need to keep reminding me about what it is that you actually do Staff turnover is traumatic for me Communication, clarity: I have no idea what you professionals need or expect from me I’m used to the academic issues of firstyears, but not the behavior e.g., counseling referrals in London I operate with a completely different sense of time than you do Matters like visas aren’t even on my horizon
  26. 26. Still concerns for us High risk behavior - need an action plan In-class deportment - need an action plan Parents may encourage for the wrong reasons Financial aid, diversity Recommendation “arms race”
  27. 27. Future research questions Retention rates? GPA and other indicators? Introspective retrospectives in future? More study abroad experiences? Connections maintained?
  28. 28. Looking Forward  Multiple cohorts throughout summer / additional sites  Create mentoring opportunities with other study abroad students in-country  Paying it forward – current students providing scholarships for future years  Returnee engagement – on campus advocates for study abroad from Day 1 of freshmen year
  29. 29. THANK YOU