Why does Gordon-Conwell deliver some of its curriculum abroad?
There is a growing trend in higher education toward learning that is more global in its perspective and contextual in its delivery. Indeed, 65% of universities now include international education in their institutional mission statements, and 80% are “actively working to increase study abroad participation.”
Likewise, a growing number of students value an internationalized education. For example, the number of American students choosing to study abroad tripled between 1986 to 2008, from 48,283 to 262,416 students.
A further trend in higher education is away from discrete study abroad experiences toward more robust curriculum integration. The long-term impact of education abroad is enhanced when global learning becomes a seamless part of one’s degree program.
Traditionally seen as a junior year experience, education abroad now extends into graduate and professional schools. In 2009, 10.5% of all students studying abroad were doing so as part of a graduate degree program.
Growing numbers of professional schools are imbedding study abroad into their professional training and curriculum. Students’ vocational preparation is enhanced by the opportunity to see the global implications and applications of their professional practice, be it medicine, law, business or ministry.
While only a minority of seminaries deliver some of their curriculum abroad, Gordon-Conwell believes such opportunities are integral to our mission, and essential preparation for effective ministry in the multi-cultural and global world in which our students will ultimately minister.
Tell me more about Gordon-Conwell’s global education curriculum.
The initial focus of Gordon-Conwell’s global education program is on short-term, intensive courses offered during the January-Term or the Full-Summer Session.
Short-term, global courses grant 3 hours of credit, and are approximately 19-21 days in length.
Global education courses are designed to satisfy either required or elective credits in students’ degree programs.
Approved courses are hosted by the GCTS campus of the faculty leader, but are cross-listed on the three remaining campus course lists. They are open to students on all four GCTS campuses.
The list of approved international courses will be posted on the seminary website up to three years in advance, and will include information on pre-requisites for participation, as well as degree requirements the course will satisfy.
What is the focus and content of these contextual learning courses?
While a GCTS faculty member is listed as the professor of record, global courses are typically enhanced through liberal use of in-country resources and guest scholars. A high priority is placed on multiple levels of cultural immersion.
The content of global courses will generally rotate between Biblical Studies, Theology, Church History, Missions, Ethics, Educational Ministries, Preaching and Counseling.
How do students apply to study abroad?
Courses are approved at least 18 months ahead of time, with student recruitment taking place during spring semester of the academic year prior.
Students submit a formal application to the faculty member of record. Upon acceptance, students must formalize their intent to participate by submitting a non-refundable $150.00 deposit to Student Accounts.
Students currently on academic or disciplinary probation are encouraged to reapply when their records have been cleared.
How do I prepare ahead of time to gain the most from this opportunity?
Acceptance into the course also assumes a willingness to participate in a minimum of four pre-departure orientation sessions. The two common sessions provided by the seminary focus on “Cross-Cultural Communication and Sensitivity,” and on “Health and Safety in Study Abroad.” A minimum of two additional sessions will be facilitated by the faculty leader focused on course content and expectations, team building and information specific to the host culture. Note: Depending on the home campus of the lead faculty member and registered student, adjustments will need to be made in orientation program delivery.
Faculty leaders will typically recommend or require particular readings and/or assignments to be completed prior to departure.
What additional fees are associated with global education courses, and does financial aid apply?
All institutional aid is portable into approved short-term global courses.
Once a student is screened and accepted by the faculty leader, they may choose to renegotiate their aid package with the Financial Aid Office. Some educational loans may apply to additional “course fees” required for logistical delivery of international courses.
Official registration for accepted students takes place during the term when the course is offered. Students will be billed for tuition according to the standard rate structure and billing table that currently applies to each individual student.
Limitations and restrictions on cross-campus registration do not apply to international short-term courses.
An additional “course fee” will be added to the schedule, which covers on-the-ground expenses such as food, accommodations, guest speakers and local transportation. (In some cases, airfare may be rolled in.) The course fee calculation reflects the total logistical cost of delivering the course. This figure is divided by the number of students taking the course. Course fees typically range between $2,500 – $4,000 per student.
The “course fee” also includes the cost of travel insurance (additional to the major medical coverage required of all students). The insurance policy, negotiated by GCTS, will cover such additional items as medical evacuation and expatriation. The cost of travel insurance is approximately $35.00 per student.
The “course fee” for a global education class is posted on a student’s account during fall semester of the academic year when the course is taken. (For example, the class would be posted during fall semester for courses delivered in J-term or one of the Summer Sessions of the academic year in question.) As with other fees, payment is due in full at the start of the semester. However, if students elect to pay off the balance of their “course fee” throughout the semester, standard non-payment fees apply. The recommended payment schedule for students willing to make non-payment fees is September 15, October 15 and November 15. The balance must be paid in full by the published deadline.
In those rare cases where a student is accepted into an international course after full payment is due, acceptance is conditional on immediate payment of the fee in full. Late acceptances may be subject to a higher “course fee” since earlier negotiated group rates may not extend to late acceptances.
Is there a published refund policy?
Due to financial commitments made well in advance for airline tickets, accommodations and other deposits, it is not possible to guarantee the amount faculty leaders may be able to recover from vendors if a student drops the course following September 15. In some cases this might not be finally negotiated until the faculty member is on the ground in-country.
Are global courses ever open to those who are not matriculated GCTS students?
Students from other graduate schools and seminaries may apply to participate in GCTS international courses, provided they submit an application to the GCTS Admissions Office and qualify for acceptance as “Visiting Students.” Applicants from other institutions may not displace matriculated GCTS students, nor the spouses of matriculated students. Visiting student applications will be reviewed and acted on by the faculty leader either on, or after, June 1 of the academic year prior. The same policy applies to friends of the seminary.
Student spouses may register to take global education courses for either credit or as an audit. They likewise apply through the Admissions Office for “Visiting Student” status. The same “course fee” would apply for spouses, as this represents the actual cost of travel and accommodations for each individual.
GCTS alumni and friends might also choose to register for global education courses. Because alumni and friends may have previously taken an on-campus version of the course, audits will be permitted. Alumni and friends would also need to register with the Admissions Office as non-degree seeking “Visiting Students.” As indicated above, alumni and friends applicants may not displace matriculated GCTS students nor the spouses of matriculated students. “Visiting Student” applications will be reviewed and acted on by the faculty leader either on, or after, June 1 of the academic year prior.
I am interested in the Global Education aspect of the D.Min. program. What do you mean by 'Pre-requisite: D.Min. acceptance'?