Throughout the application process for domestic and study abroad programs, students are reminded of the importance of discussing their goals and interests with their academic advisers. We encourage them to share with you how their semseter away fits into their Amherst education and to seek advice on whether or not courses taken at another university or program can count toward the major. This important conversation does not require faculty to have extensive knowledge about the programs we use, but rather an understanding of the departmental policy on transfer credit from the program or university and courses appropriate for the major. However, should your advisee inquire about programs more broadly, please consider the following:
The Global Education Office will evaluate the overall quality of the program in consultation with the faculty Committee on Global Education, peer institutions and The Forum on Education Abroad, a prominent professional association for study abroad that has established standards and best practices for the field. (Their best practices align well with domestic study programs, too.) Please remember that you may always defer to us for program-specific advising.
There are three stages throughout the study away experience (from application to departure) where we ask students to consult with their academic adviser:
Programs approved for credit must have a strong academic curriculum and be run by experienced administrative staff in the host country. They must also offer substantial opportunities for immersion, as defined by the learning goals drafted by the faculty Committee on Global Education. We have, therefore, selected programs for the approved list that reflect our expectations:
Students may always petition to attend a program that is not currently approved. The faculty Committee on Global Education reads petitions once per semester.
Programs may be added to (or removed from) the approved list in the following ways:
Formed in 2008, the faculty Committee on Global Education (formerly, Committee on International Education) offers guidance for global education initiatives at the college. Activities of the Committee have included:
The Committee welcomes the opportunity to meet with faculty and their departmental colleagues with questions, suggestions, concerns, etc. Please contact the Director of the Global Education Office to schedule a meeting or send feedback.
When a student petitions a non-approved program, the faculty Committee on Global Education would like to hear from an Amherst faculty member about the courses offered and their appropriateness for the student and for Amherst. Students are asked on their petition form to share with us the name of a faculty member who will share this information. We then share the petition with the faculty member and a link to an online form addressing these points.
Please note this is not a typical letter of reference, but rather an evaluation of the course content and assessment methodology as written in the program materials. Faculty are not responsible for evaluating the program beyond what is stated in these materials as the Director will determine the accuracy of the program’s written information and reputation through a well-established peer and professional association network. Above all, faculty are asked to verify that the academic content of the program being petitioned is the “right” program for this particular student.
If you are approached by a student to write such a letter and have questions about the program or petition process, please contact Janna Behrens.
Amherst College is committed to providing a range of opportunities for global learning and will make every effort to make these experiences available to all students and faculty. With this goal in mind, the college seeks to establish partnerships with select foreign institutions that share a commitment to a liberal arts education. Partner schools may be in regions of the world with cultural norms and laws that do not comport with all of Amherst’s values. Partnership with a college or university therefore does not represent an endorsement of a host country’s laws, but the college will partner only with institutions that adhere to principles of non-discrimination and academic freedom.
Initiatives that fall under the umbrella of “institutional partnerships” may be:
Partnerships will be reviewed every three to five years in order to evaluate the level of engagement among faculty and students at both institutions, and the sustainability of the partnership.