Proposing and Planning

Proposing and Planning an Off-Campus Short Term Course

A Short Term course, with travel off-campus in Maine, elsewhere in the United States, or abroad, can provide meaningful field-based learning experiences and opportunities for exceptional faculty-student interaction. The courses also require considerable effort to plan and lead in the field, with the faculty responsible for both academic leadership and student support services (the latter in collaboration with the Center for Global Education and the appropriate departments at Bates).  The information below is intended to assist faculty with the proposal process. These procedures apply only for courses with extra costs exceeding $500 per student.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, off-campus short term courses have been suspended. No proposals will be accepted for the 2021 Short Term.

The form and instructions are available here.  Faculty are informed of the decisions by early June (1st deadline) or late October (second deadline).  For guidance in crafting a proposal, please consult Darren Gallant, David Das , your department/program chair, and the Faculty Handbook for Off-Campus Short Term Courses.  Consultation with colleagues who have previously led Off-Campus Short Term courses is also helpful, as is reading descriptions of past courses.

Selection Criteria: The Off-Campus Study Committee evaluates proposals and selects a balanced set of courses for final approval by the Academic Affairs Council. Two categories of criteria are particularly important in evaluating proposals:

1.  Individual course qualities:

  • the proposed number of students, with a preference for larger enrollments
  • the student-faculty ratio (see “Enrollment” below)
  • the relative pedagogical advantages of teaching and learning off-campus
  • overall course cost and the cost per student, with a preference for lower costs
  • the faculty member’s knowledge of the location and field experience
  • the availability of external funding and departmental support
  • the consideration of risk management related to the location and proposed activities
  • the nature of the faculty member’s appointment
  • proposal quality and planning detail

2. Qualities of the entire set of proposed courses. Even among courses that fulfill the criteria noted above, enrollment needs and the limited budget for financial aid to support Off-Campus Short Term courses require that they:

  • balance themes, locations, divisions, pedagogies, and new/experienced faculty
  • provide as many opportunities as possible to students within the fixed budget
  • support the curricular needs of the College

Approval is always contingent on the course achieving the enrollment minimum set by the Committee, changes to location safety/security, and  and on per student costs not increasing beyond those approved.

Enrollment: Each course generally has a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 25 students per course. Faculty may propose courses with different minimum and/or maximum enrollments based on travel costs, travel logistics, and the course location abroad. When approving programs, the Committee may require the minimum 12 student enrollment or may set different minimum and maximum enrollments based on these and other factors.

Timing: The time off-campus may be all or a portion of Short Term. Often Short Term courses will begin and end on campus. Courses, with field trips in Maine, may be based on-campus with multiple field trips off-campus.

Structure: Some courses may travel frequently but will want to have a some sort of base for part of their time. Other courses may be based at one site, with an organization that provides support services and housing. Others may begin with the support of a local organization, but conclude with course travel.  The Center for Global Education can provide recommendations for supporting organizations on-site. For risk management purposes, Off-Campus Short Term courses may be required to have a on-site supports, faculty, staff, or course assistant in addition to the lead faculty member.

Participants: Only the faculty members approved to teach the course and students registered in the course may participate in off-campus travel. No family members, staff, or other individuals may accompany the course. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be made when proposing the course.

Cost and Budget: The extra cost per student is a key variable in determining the feasibility of the course, both by the Off-Campus Study Committee initially and by individual students when making their enrollment decisions.  These costs should be itemized on the budget planning worksheet below.  It is wise to be realistic — and fiscally conservative — when calculating costs so as to avoid underfunding or to alleviate cash flow concerns during the course. After developing a tentative budget, faculty consult with the Assistant Director of Accounting.  This review is confirmed by a signature on the course proposal form.  Unspent funds are the property of the College.

Financial Aid: The College provides financial aid for qualifying students.  The aid budget is limited, thus necessitating the careful review of extra costs, the limited number of courses approved each year, and the retention of unspent funds by the College.

Recruiting, Applying, and Registration: Unlike an on-campus course, faculty actively recruit and select students for Off-Campus Short Term courses due to the minimum number of students needed to proceed and as the composition of the course can greatly influence its dynamics. Please be willing to undertake this task before proposing an Off-Campus Short Term course.  The recruiting takes place after Thanksgiving vacation and at the beginning of the winter semester with information sessions organized by the faculty.  More information on deadlines is provided in the Timeline for Proposing and Planning an Off-Campus Extra-Cost Short Term.