About Us

Global Education Office

Who We Are

Faculty Committee on Global Education

Learning Goals for Global Education

What is immersion?

Mission and Vision Statements

Program Affiliations and Consortia

Professional Association Membership


Faculty Committee on Global Education

The Committee on Global Education is composed of three members of the faculty (each from a different department), one of whom will serve as chair, and the director of the Global Education Office and the registrar, ex officio, with vote. The Committee of Six appoints the faculty members of the committee for three-year terms and appoints the chair. The Committee on Global Education shapes policies and procedures for evaluating and approving study-away programs and initiatives for Amherst students. The members maintain and review a list of college-approved study-away programs, review student petitions for study-away programs that are not already on the college-approved list, review student evaluations of all programs, facilitate outreach to departments, and consult with the director to identify new opportunities for experiences off-campus and to facilitate student participation in them. The faculty members of the committee review applications for the faculty exchange with Doshisha University (the Amherst-Doshisha Professorship) and make recommendations to Amherst’s dean of the faculty. The committee also reviews other potential partner institutions and makes recommendations to the dean (voted by the faculty, April 4, 2017). (Significant revisions were made to this charge by vote of the faculty on February 6, 2018.) Members for the fall of 2018 are: Paul Schroeder-Rodriquez, chair; Olufemi Vaughn, Chris Dole, Ewa Nowicki, Janna Behrens.

Learning Goals for Global Education

A core goal of Amherst’s liberal arts education is the encounter with and appreciation of intellectual and cultural difference. Such encounters are valuable for individual development, and they are necessary for the common good in a complexly interconnected world. Students will ideally experience intercultural exchange on a daily basis during their time at Amherst in ways that enrich their education. That said, learning experiences away from campus can enhance understanding of difference in additional forms and have the potential to enrich campus life when individuals return to the Amherst community. The learning goal for Amherst’s Global Education program is, therefore:

To encourage meaningful encounters with intellectual and cultural difference while away and upon return.

Elements of Amherst’s global education program that help to achieve this goal include:

  • Language Study

A country’s cultural practices and cultural frames of reference are inscribed in, not separate from, its languages. The majority of Amherst students study away in a setting where English is not the primary language, though some students study in countries where English is spoken widely or at other institutions within the United States. But even in these cases, students will encounter a different idiom and a different vocabulary to which they will need to adjust. In cases where a foreign language is spoken, students are expected to study the language of the country for the duration of their time in the program. Significant language study in advance of travel and continued language study upon return are strongly recommend and may be required for some majors.

  • Program of Study

Study away allows students to explore ideas and experiences beyond what is available at Amherst. Some students use study away to increase depth of knowledge in a field, and others to have access to different topics and methodologies, yet all gain from the insights that come from a shift in institutional and geographical perspectives. A student whose major includes mastering a language will inevitably improve proficiency and cultural competency.

  • Immersion

Immersion in a single locale over a substantial period of time is crucial to any study-away program because it increases the likelihood of meaningful encounters. Examples of immersion include living with a local host family and participating in university clubs and organizations. The Committee on Global Education therefore insists on immersion as a criterion for approving programs.

  • Personal Growth

A global education helps students become more confident, independent, and self-aware, and provides them with unique opportunities to reflect critically on themselves and their personal background or history. After navigating the inherent unpredictability and ambiguity of the maturation process while away, students return to campus ready to add significantly to classroom and campus conversations in new ways. Such first-hand experiences add depth to their ideas and how they articulate these ideas.

  • Global Insight

Responsible engagement with our diverse and interconnected world requires flexible thinking, an openness to varied perspectives, and an awareness of divergent experiences and needs. Such global awareness is a central component of a liberal arts education, and study away is a powerful tool for this broadening of vision and understanding.

-Revised by the Committee on Global Education, Spring 2018

What is immersion?

We define immersion as the active participation in a culture markedly different than one’s own, which leads to critical reflection, empathy, and perspective shift.

Program Affiliations and Consortia

Amherst is a member of study abroad consortia and affiliates with several study abroad providers.

Affiliation often means Amherst students have priority admission over non-affiliate schools, our faculty have an opportunity to contribute to program development and academic oversight, and participate in surveys. 

Professional Association Membership

Amherst College and the Director of Education Abroad are active members in the professional associations and networks in international education.  Amherst is a member of the Institute of International Education, NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the Forum on Education Abroad.  These non-profit organizations require annual dues that provide members with access to the latest information, standards, and networks within the field. The Forum is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the standard development organization in education abroad.

Mission and Vision Statements

Global Education Mission Statement:

To encourage students to study in settings different than their own and with programs that provide the highest appropriate level of academic, cultural and/or linguistic immersion by making use of local and regional resources both in and outside the classroom that Amherst cannot provide. 

Our vision for the future:

  • Encourage students to engage in deep reflection about their experience in order to deepen awareness of global issues.
  • Prepare students early in their academic career for their semester or year away and work with them upon return to better integrate their experiences into curricular and co-curricular life at Amherst.
  • Develop an efficient and customizable process to guide students in research and decision-making as they select a program.
  • Remove all obstacles for students who are typically underrepresented in study away programs.
  • Enhance the presence of study away on campus through continued development of our physical space, library resources (books, films) and expansion of our visibility online.