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Crossroads Courses Overview

Whitman College is offering Whitman Crossroads Courses, short‐term, faculty‐led off‐campus studies courses in Spring/Summer 2020. Funding for up to four Whitman Crossroads Courses per year has been made available on a pilot basis. 

Mission of Whitman Crossroads Courses:

Provide high impact learning experiences via short, intensive off‐campus courses that are led by Whitman faculty and are broadly accessible to students.

All Crossroads courses should be designed to fulfill the following key outcome:

  1. Provide opportunities for students to engage directly with scientific phenomena, ways of learning, communities, individuals, organizations or other resources (such as art, performances, collections, archives, and media) not available on campus.

Preference will be given to Crossroads courses that are designed to also fulfill one or more of the the following key outcomes:

  1. Enhance students’ knowledge about a global issue(s) from a non‐US or underrepresented perspective by weaving diversity, inclusivity, social justice and global perspectives into the course content and activities.
  2. Develop the ability to interact sensitively and successfully with people from different cultures, perspectives and circumstances. In doing so, the course will encourage students to embrace ambiguity and think deliberately about their place in the world.
  3. Provide students with an opportunity to enhance foreign language abilities.  

To qualify, Crossroads Courses must:

  • Be designed as either a free‐standing off‐campus summer course or an off‐campus field course that is linked to a Whitman prerequisite or co‐requisite course.
  • Be scheduled to occur during Summer, Winter Break or Spring Break.
  • Be 2 ‐ 6 weeks in length.
  • Be taught by an active teaching faculty member who has taught at Whitman at least one year prior to proposing the course and be available in the two semesters prior to offering the Crossroads course to perform the administrative responsibilities associated with the off‐campus component, such as recruiting students and finalizing the travel itinerary.
  • 12-16 student participants per Crossroads course
  • Not include destinations that have high‐level US Department of State Travel Advisory of Level 3 or 4 in effect or pose other significant risk.

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