Westminster faculty and staff are invited to contact the staff of the Office for Global Engagement with questions, concerns, and comments related to the comprehensive internationalization of the university.
A May Term Study Experience (MTSE) is a 4-credit course that is taught almost entirely off-campus, usually abroad, that fulfills the Engaging the World (WCore) experience for Westminster undergraduates. Proposals to teach an MTSE are due approximately 15 months in advance and must be reviewed by the International Council and approved by the academic deans and provost. The course must fulfill the global learning outcomes per the Engaging the World requirement. The Office for Global Engagement provides administrative support, training, and risk management oversight for MTSEs.
This chart explains the difference between a May Term Study Experience and an on-campus May Term class with a field trip component.
|May Term Study Experience||May Term Class with Field Trip|
|4 credits||2–4 credits|
|Must fulfill Engaging the World (WCore)||Does not fulfill Engaging the World (WCore)|
|International or domestic travel||Domestic travel only|
|Recommended by International Council, approved by deans and provost||Approved by individual school and academic dean|
|Administrative support provided by Office for Global Engagement||Supported by relevant school|
Who Can Teach/Lead
Because of the additional responsibilities that come with teaching a course with an educational travel component, these study experiences are team taught by full-time employees of Westminster University. Full-time faculty members are given priority as faculty leaders. In addition to full-time faculty, full-time salaried staff members with at least a master's degree and university-level teaching experience may teach study experience courses with permission of their supervisor and the dean of the related school. In most cases, staff are leaders because their expertise provides a special learning value to the course. In some cases, staff will be leaders if their presence is essential to ensuring that the program occurs. Administrators may teach or lead, but this will be only if their expertise or presence is essential for ensuring that the program occurs.
Team teaching possibilities include the following:
- 2 full-time faculty members (preferred)
- 1 full-time faculty member (leader) and 1 qualified salaried staff member
- 2 qualified salaried staff members, both of whom already have experience teaching at Westminster University
- 1 full-time faculty member and 1 associate faculty/adjunct
Faculty and Staff Compensation
Full-time faculty are paid as they would be paid for any May Term or summer semester course—either as part of their usual load or as overload. Staff will be paid overload at the adjunct instructor rate; their regular salary will not be altered during the study experience. Adjuncts are paid according to the scale that would be used if they taught a regular 4-credit course. Faculty and staff trip leaders' expenses, including airfare, lodging, meal expenses, in-country transportation (taxi, bus, etc.), international health insurance, and program-related entrance fees and phone charges, are covered by the participant fee.
Impact of Faculty Leave on MTSE
Faculty who are scheduled to be on leave during part or all of the year preceding the MTSE should carefully consider the amount of time and work that must be completed on campus to recruit and prepare for a successful MTSE. Any faculty person who will be on leave should not be the lead planner and should partner with full-time faculty co-leader(s) who are willing to assume additional responsibilities for planning and recruitment. All faculty leaders will be required to attend mandatory training and/or meetings either in-person or remotely, even if they are on leave.
All May Term Study Experiences (MTSE) must have at least 15 undergraduate students enrolled for credit and no more than 30 people (guests and students) enrolled. As the number of enrolled students increases, so does the number of faculty/staff leaders required to teach the course.
- MTSEs need at least 15 students enrolled for credit and 2 faculty/staff leaders.
- When enrollment of students registered for credit reaches 23, a third faculty/staff leader could be added.
- When enrollment of students registered for credit is 26–30, a third faculty/staff leader must be added.
Faculty Leader Guests
Guests, including children of faculty/staff leaders, may participate in the Study Experience but must not disrupt the program. Faculty may occasionally wish to have family members (partners, children, etc.) accompany them on a study experience. While students often benefit from the personal dimensions of interactions with family members, Westminster University cannot financially support the participation of those family members in any way.
The faculty/staff member must cover travel costs and living expenses as well as additional expenses related to any program activities (e.g., tickets to cultural events, museums, films, theatre, meals, additional housing costs, public transportation, etc.).
While their occasional participation in cultural events is permitted, family members cannot represent Westminster University in any official capacity. They should also not participate in program activities orientations, class lectures, etc. if their participation might intrude in any way on the pedagogical outcomes of the program.
In addition, faculty must provide an adult caretaker for dependents under the age of 18. All family members must sign legal forms and obtain international health insurance prior to the start of the study experience.
Faculty/staff leaders must request approval from the Office for Global Engagement, their Academic Dean, and the Provost if they intend to bring along a guest or guests.
Students are not permitted to bring a minor under 18 on any Westminster University study experience.
The proposal process is suspended for 2021 and no new proposals will be accepted. The process is planned to resume for May Term 2022.
As part of Westminster University's commitment to global learning, the university seeks to maintain a small number of high-quality strategic partnerships with international universities and organizations.
All potential partnerships will be evaluated by the International Council in collaboration with the provost based on the following criteria:
- International partnerships should align with the mission, including the academic, scholarly/creative activities, and service priorities of Westminster University.
- Partnerships should demonstrate the potential to engage students, faculty, and staff in initiatives that advance global learning, internationalization of the curriculum, collaborative scholarly/creative activities, and/or outreach and service that addresses global issues and needs.
- There should be evidence of institutional quality, including, for example, reputation, international ranking, and accreditation status.
- The cost, feasibility, and sustainability of proposed activities must be addressed.
- The possible risks to students, faculty members, the university, and university stakeholders, including, but not limited to, legal and financial risks, threats to safety and security, reputation, etc. must be evaluated.
- There should be significant and sustainable mutual benefit. This does not necessarily need to be reciprocal (as with student exchanges), but all parties must derive benefits in the partnership.
Types of International Agreements
Letter of Intent
- A non-binding statement that acknowledges the intent to explore the possibility of collaboration
- Appropriate when a new project is being initiated, upon first meeting new international partners, or in connection with a one-time project
Non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
- A general statement that lists areas of possible joint activities to acknowledge a formal, ongoing and strategic relationship between institutions that is intended to be long-term without creating financial obligations or committing resources
- Should be explicitly non-binding and does not allow for commitment of university funds, staff, facilities, or other university resources
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
- A formal contract that details the terms and conditions of specific forms of collaboration both legal and binding on both parties
- Necessary whenever there is a commitment of university funds, staff, facilities, or other university resources
- This could include: international student and faculty exchange, joint research, collaborative degree programs
Proposal and Approval Process
Follow this process when initiating new agreements to ensure appropriate support for the planned activity.
Discuss the initiative with your academic dean to learn about any internal departmental or university policies for international collaborations and confirm departmental/university support for the initiative. In consultation with the academic deans, explore areas outside of your discipline to determine if there is potential for institution-wide collaboration.
Submit the proposal to the assistant provost for global learning using the International Partnership Proposal form. This should include a justification statement that outlines the program and ensures the program meets the goals of the university. Include as attachments any relevant drafts or documents.
The assistant provost for global learning will bring the proposal to the next International Council meeting for review. The International Council in collaboration with the provost will vote on whether to move forward with the process, request more information, or determine if the potential partnership is not a good match.
The assistant provost for global learning and Westminster University general counsel will provide a draft agreement.
Agreement terms are negotiated. The sponsoring individual shares the draft with the collaborating institution, which may propose edits. Changes should be clearly marked in the draft and must be approved by assistant provost for global learning and general counsel before signing.
Following approval of the draft, the institutional authorities named in the agreement print and sign two original copies of the agreement. The president of Westminster University should be the designated signatory on any Memorandums of Agreement. The provost and academic dean can sign Letters of Intent or Memorandums of Understanding (MOU). One copy of the fully executed agreement remains with the partner institution; the original is held by the Office of the President. An electronic copy will be maintained by assistant provost for global learning in the shared folder.
The WCore Engaging the World experience requirement prepares students to be better global citizens. It builds on the knowledge from the general education courses students take during their first and second years and applies what they have learned by focusing on ways to advance social justice, equity, and parity within local and global communities. This experience challenges their biases and prejudices and instead emphasizes the knowledge that everyone lives in an integrated, complex, and interdependent society.
Students may fulfill this experience by participating in an on-campus 3-4 credit Engaging the World course or an education abroad program. On-campus Engaging the World courses integrate 4 out of 6 learning outcomes through curricular and/or co-curricular approaches. Education abroad programs include May Term Study Experiences, international internships, and other study abroad programs approved by the Office for Global Engagement.
Engaging the World Course Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of an Engaging the World course, students will be able to demonstrate 4 out of the 6 learning outcomes.* Engaging the World courses may meet these learning outcomes through several learning experiences, including course content with a substantial global focus, a civic engagement component, and/or immersion in natural and social environments outside of the classroom.
- Global Self-Awareness: Analyze ways that human actions influence the natural and human world.
- Perspective Taking: Identify and explain multiple perspectives (such as cultural, disciplinary, and ethical) when exploring subjects within natural and human systems.
- Cultural Diversity: Explain and connect 2 or more cultures historically or in contemporary contexts with some acknowledgment of power structures, demonstrating respectful interaction with varied cultures and worldviews.
- Personal and Social Responsibility: Explain the ethical, social, and environmental consequences of local and national decisions on global systems.
- Understanding Global Systems: Examine the historical and contemporary roles, interconnections, and differential effects of human organizations and actions on global systems within the human and the natural worlds.
- Applying Knowledge to Contemporary Global Contexts: Formulate practical yet elementary solutions to global challenges that use at least 2 disciplinary perspectives (such as cultural, historical, and scientific).
*Milestone 2 from the Global Learning VALUE Rubric from AAC&U
Engaging the World Course Proposal Materials
Completed forms should be sent electronically to the co-chairs of the International Council, Sara Demko and Rebecca Sanderson.
The International Council is a university-wide committee that works in conjunction with the Office for Global Engagement to instill a focus on internationalization/global learning into Westminster University's planning, programs, and consciousness. Specifically the council focuses on:
- Advocating for the internationalization of faculty, staff, and students
- Supporting and participating in the Office for Global Engagement's programming and student support initiatives and services
- Exploring the possibility of creating new programs and requirements that have a significant global perspective or study abroad component
- Remaining up-to-date on the university's international partnerships and providing support as needed
- Exploring and developing professional development opportunities for faculty and staff interested (a) in study abroad, (b) teaching opportunities at university partner schools, (c) academic exchange, and (d) internationalization of curriculum and co-curriculum
- Supporting and contributing to the development of assessment measures related to global learning in the curriculum and co-curriculum
- Reviewing and providing feedback on proposals for Engaging the World on-campus courses to evaluate global learning outcomes and assessment measures and making recommendations to the WCore committee
- Reviewing proposals for faculty-led study abroad including both international and domestic May Term Study Experiences and making recommendations to the academic deans and provost who make the final decision
Pre-Approving Study Abroad Courses
The goal of Westminster's Office for Global Engagement is to provide study abroad opportunities to students that meet the university-wide learning goals and prepare them to be global citizens. When choosing a study abroad program, students are encouraged to search for programs that provide academic coursework that fits within their major, minor, or liberal education requirements.
To support students who study abroad, the Office for Global Engagement needs assistance from faculty advisors to approve courses for transfer credit. As part of the Westminster study abroad application, students will complete a credit pre-approval.
Program Credit Assessment
Review the course description or syllabus provided for each course for the major or minor you advise. For some programs and countries, syllabi can be difficult to find and credit pre-approval will occur once a student arrives in-country. In this case, the Office for Global Engagement will assist the student in communicating with the faculty advisor and registrar.
List the Westminster course the study abroad course will replace on the credit pre-approval. If the study abroad course will replace a specific Westminster course, list the course subject and number (i.e., ACCT213). If the study abroad course will fulfill a general requirement like an elective, list the requirement (i.e., public health elective).
Sign next to the courses you pre-approve.
Courses that fulfill liberal education requirements or general elective credit must be approved by the registrar.
When a student returns from study abroad and their transcript has been reviewed by the registrar, the faculty advisor will need to make a course substitution in the degree audit for any study abroad course pre-approved.