South Africa Mia Chasan

Crossroads Courses Overview

Whitman College is offering up to four faculty-led, off-campus Crossroads Courses per year for a three-year pilot during 2017-19.  The purpose of the Crossroads is to enhance student learning through intensive and engaged study off-campus or abroad. 

Goals

Crossroads courses are designed to achieve one or more of the following:

  1. Provide an opportunity for students to investigate scientific phenomena or engage with cultural resources or other local resources not available on campus
  2. Enhance students’ knowledge about a global issue(s) from a non-U.S. or underrepresented perspective
  3. Develop students’ intercultural competence, i.e. the ability to interact sensitively and successfully with people from different cultures, circumstances and/or from different scholarly traditions
  4. Provide students with an opportunity to enhance foreign language abilities

Crossroads Structure

  • Designed either as a free-standing off-campus summer course or an off-campus field course that is linked to a Whitman prerequisite or co-requisite course.
  • 2-6 weeks in length
  • Scheduled to occur during the Summer, Winter Break or Spring Break
  • 12-16 student participants per Crossroads course
  • Taught by an active teaching faculty member who has taught at Whitman at least one year prior to proposing the course and will be available in the two semesters prior to offering the Crossroads course to perform administrative responsibilities such as recruiting students and finalizing the travel itinerary.

Planning & Administration

Faculty who wish to propose a Crossroads Course work with the Director of Off-Campus Studies and the Faculty Mentor for Crossroads to design the curricular and logistical aspects of the course.  Off-Campus Studies provides assistance with cultivating in-country community partners, developing a budget, itinerary design, publicity, student recruitment, group flights, visas and navigating the course approval process.  Faculty leaders are ultimately responsible for making the logistical arrangements for the course (field studies, classroom space, housing for the group, meals, local transportation, identifying a local leader, etc) but may opt to work with a study abroad program provider (such as IES or CIEE) to arrange in-country services. 

Fees & Financial Aid for Participants

In an effort to make Crossroads courses accessible to all students, the Office of Financial Aid Services has designated special funds for need-based aid awards for Crossroads.  Students who qualify for need-based aid at Whitman should apply for this aid as part of their Crossroads application.  In addition, faculty leader expenses for Crossroads are subsidized by Whitman and not charged to the student participants as part of their program fee. 

Faculty Compensation

Faculty offering a Crossroads Course receive a stipend of $1000 per week for each week of the off-campus studies portion of the course.  In addition, the faculty member receives a 50% bankable teaching credit for the Crossroads course.  If a faculty member offers a 4-credit Crossroads Course, they receive 2-credits of teaching credit that may be used to reduce their standard teaching load in a future semester with the approval of their department.  Note that because Crossroads Courses do not generate course releases or reduce departments’ absolute number of course offerings, regular-semester courses offset by Crossroads teaching credits will not be counted toward departments’ non-tenure faculty requests.

Travel Warnings and Health Risks

The College normally does not approve trips to destinations with a US Department of State Travel Warning recommending that US citizens defer non-essential travel and higher-level warnings.  Similarly, trips to destinations with high health risks based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) advisories will also normally not be approved.

Faculty Leader OCS Training

Prior to departure, all faculty leading Crossroads courses are required to attend a Faculty Leader OCS Training with the Director of Off-Campus Studies, Student Affairs staff and faculty with prior experience that covers how to handle emergencies and non-academic issues when taking students off campus.

Accompanying Family Members

Faculty who wish to have their spouses, partners or children accompany them off campus during the trip should consult with the Director of Off-Campus Studies about the college’s guidelines, as Whitman student learning is the first priority for the courses.  Please note that Whitman College does not cover the cost associated with accompanying family members and the Director of Off-Campus Studies and the Provost must approve accompanying family members