With the recent approval of new guidelines regarding faculty-led international travel at Bowdoin, that trip to Paris with your French class you've been dreaming of may be further out of reach.
The Curriculum Education and Policy Committee (CEP) proposed the changes to the existing travel policy at the March 30 faculty meeting.
In previous years, faculty members were not always required to request the approval of the Curriculum Implementation Committee (CIC) to lead travel. Under the new policy, however, professors interested in leading international trips as part of a credited course must now submit a proposal to the CIC.
Associate Professor of Government and Asian Studies Henry Laurence, a member of the CEP, explained that the policy changes primarily address the legal complications of traveling with students.
"What happens with visas? What happens if someone gets sick? What are the faculty member's responsibilities? Those issues are relevant wherever you travel, whether it's abroad or in the United States," said Laurence.
Proposals for international travel are subject to a review by the CIC, which then determines whether or not the added requirements will have their intended academic effect.
"All of these classes go to the CIC, and they make the decisions about whether or not this [travel] is an integral part of the class," said Laurence. "Will it do academically what it's intended to do?"
The implementation of the new policy was also motivated by concerns regarding the fairness of required travel for students.
"It's not written down anywhere at Bowdoin, but ideally we want classes to be open and available to everyone," said Laurence. "In a perfect world, they shouldn't require students to pay extra money or spend extra time."
"We have to think very carefully about any class that's going to be requiring extra of students," Laurence continued. "[If] it has to do with more money, is that fair? If it requires extra time, is that fair?"
Although no classes at Bowdoin currently require international travel as part of the course, Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd saw good reason to reform the system.
"There have been a number of co-curricular trips in recent years which have benefited from the kinds of support that this policy puts in place," wrote Judd in an e-mail to the Orient. "At present there are no courses which require international travel as part of the course, but such courses have existed in the past and we anticipate that such courses might be proposed in the future."
"The CEP is responsible for making educational policy across the curriculum," said Laurence.
"It is the CIC who deals with the implementation of those decisions at ground level."
The committee's proposal was the result of an extensive dialogue on faculty-led international travel by the Working Group on International Education (WGIE), chaired by Professor of Physics and Astronomy Thomas Baumgarte.
"These procedures emerged from the discussion of the WGIE which spent time last year on question of short-term study away," wrote Judd.
The group focused on bringing greater clarity to the current process for approving faculty-led travel, while also encouraging every faculty member interested in leading an international trip to go through a standardized process for gaining approval.
"It's to make sure that faculty members are aware of all the resources and the issues and help them think through issues, particularly the legal issues," said Laurence.
"The policy clearly sets out for faculty the way to propose such courses and how the proposals are evaluated both from a curricular and also a logistical perspective," added Judd.