For more than 50 years, Dickinson College has operated its own global study and research centers. These centers immerse students in the study of foreign language and foster a deeper understanding of the political, social, cultural and economic histories of the countries and regions where they are located. They form a worldwide network of living laboratories from which students can trace the causes and consequences of global forces, examine differing policy responses to global change and assess and learn from successes and failures.
The defining characteristic of what makes a program a Dickinson program is the closeness of the overall academic relationship, in all its many dimensions, between Dickinson and its partners. Otherwise, Dickinson programs vary as much as the parts of the globe in which they are located, and there is no one program model.
Roughly 70 percent of Dickinson students who study abroad participate in Dickinson programs. Moreover, more than 40 percent of the Dickinson faculty have led or taught on a Dickinson program. In some cases, Dickinson faculty, who are serving as rotating resident directors, teach one or two courses on Dickinson programs, with the remainder of the courses taught by faculty at our partner institutions (e.g., Spain and Norwich, England). In other instances, Dickinson programs are led by a permanent in-country director or coordinator who supports students and may also teach a course (e.g., Cameroon and Germany). Another model is that Dickinson works closely with the international office of a partner institution abroad (e.g., Japan and Oxford, England), and all courses are taught by local faculty at the host institution.
There is a Dickinson faculty advisor on campus for every Dickinson program. These on-campus coordinators work closely with students during the selection, application and pre-departure process, offering them individual guidance for each program. In addition, faculty and on-site staff from our partner institutions regularly teach and lecture during visits to Dickinson, increasing students’ familiarity with our programs and host institutions overseas.
Long-term Programs Abroad
Long-term programs run for a semester or academic year, and they fall into three categories: Dickinson programs, partner programs and non-Dickinson programs.
Roughly 70 percent of Dickinson students who study abroad participate in Dickinson programs. More than 40 percent of the Dickinson faculty have led or taught on a Dickinson program. Typically, Dickinson faculty members teach one or two courses in Dickinson programs, with the remainder taught by faculty at our partner institutions. Where Dickinson programs are led by in-country directors appointed by the college rather than by our faculty, the in-country directors make regular visits to campus so that students get to know the directors, their work and the opportunities that exist at the centers they lead.
There is a Dickinson faculty coordinator on campus for every Dickinson program. The faculty coordinator works closely with students, offering them individual guidance on course selection in the Dickinson program. Faculty from our partner institutions also regularly teach and lecture on visiting stays at Dickinson, increasing students’ familiarity with what's available in the Dickinson programs. It's not just the presence of Dickinson faculty at a global center that makes a program a Dickinson program; it’s the closeness of the overall academic relationship, in all its many dimensions, between Dickinson and its partners.
While the college has invested significant resources in developing its own programs, it's not possible for an institution of Dickinson's size to operate and maintain programs that meet the needs of every student. So the college has developed a select number of strategic partnerships with some of the oldest and most respected study-abroad provider organizations (e.g., DIS and CIEE) and designated these opportunities as partner programs.
All partner programs are carefully vetted. New partner programs are proposed when a curricular need in our current offerings is identified. Typically, a team of faculty members scrutinizes the programmatic structure and academic quality of a prospective partner program by conducting one or more site visits. Site visit reports are submitted to the Global Engagement Advisory Committee (GEAC), a subcommittee of all-college Academic Programs and Standards Committee. With GEAC approval, new partner program proposals are then reviewed by APSC and, pending support, are required to receive approval by vote of the full faculty. Institutional aid and cost of participation for partner programs work the same as for Dickinson programs.
Non-Dickinson programs are available to the relatively few Dickinson students who find that their academic goals cannot be achieved on a Dickinson or partner program. Approximately 10 percent of Dickinson's education abroad participants pursue and are approved to participate in non-Dickinson program options. Students must schedule an advising appointment at the Center for Global Study and Engagement before applying to any non-Dickinson semester program (non-Dickinson summer programs do not need CGSE approval). After an advising appointment, students must apply to the GEAC for approval and make a compelling academic case for the program being proposed. Although institutional aid may not be used toward the cost of a non-Dickinson program, students may take their federal and state assistance with them. Credit earned on approved non-Dickinson programs is treated as transfer credit on the Dickinson transcript.
Short-term Programs Abroad
Although Dickinson continues to emphasize long-term (semester and year) education abroad, the college also offers short-term programs each year. These fall into two categories: summer programs and globally integrated courses/Mosaics.
Summer programs are freestanding, self-contained, one-credit courses taught abroad at one of our global sites by a Dickinson faculty member. Summer programs typically run for four to six weeks.
Globally Integrated Courses/Mosaics
In some ways, globally integrated courses and Mosaics are not short-term programs at all; they are listed here because they entail briefer stints abroad (usually less than four weeks’ time), combined with a semesterlong, credit-bearing course offered on campus. Students must complete both the international and on-campus portions of the course to receive credit. These programs prepare students to make the most of their shorter stays abroad by connecting them meaningfully with a course devoted to a thorough investigation of a global topic.