Faculty-led study-abroad programs have proliferated in recent years, as colleges have sought ways to give time- and cash-strapped students some international exposure. Marrying academics’ international experience with students’ interests has seemed an ideal match for many institutions.
But as the programs have grown, colleges have discovered that relying on faculty members to design and organize study-abroad trips does not always go as smoothly as hoped. Professors often lack the administrative know-how to manage the nuts and bolts of such trips. And they must juggle their planning with other academic responsibilities.
Many of the ideas for faculty-led trips emerge from a professional-development program at Murray State that sends about 30 professors abroad each year, to China, Germany, or South Korea. The two-week trips to foreign universities and cultural sites are meant to encourage participants to bring a more international perspective to their teaching and research.
Other proposals come from faculty members’ experience living or working abroad.