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Study-abroad opportunities continue to expand
November 19, 2003

Even though the Institute for International and Intercultural Education was closed last spring, Metro State continues to offer, even expand, its study-abroad opportunities for students.

Since the institute's closing, its three functions have been reassigned. Academic Affairs now oversees those study-abroad programs for which Metro State offers academic credit. Tara Tull, interim associate dean of the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, now assists Metro students who want to participate in study-abroad opportunities through other institutions, such as Semester at Sea. And Skip Crownhart, associate director of academic advising, assists foreign students.

Since 1977 when the college offered its first study-abroad course - a course in Mexico offered by the Language and Culture Institute - about 120 courses have been held in 35 countries.

"Metro State has a tradition of being very local-oriented, and it has been very selective about providing opportunities to study abroad," said David Conde, associate vice president for academic affairs. In exchange, each proposed course is carefully evaluated to ensure that academic goals are being met and that student safety is ensured. "Study-abroad courses have to be very focused and have a special meaning for the particular academic area," Conde said.

Earlier this month, the Board of Trustees approved two new study-abroad courses. The first is a six-credit Spanish language class at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, to be taught by Maria Rey-Lopez, an assistant professor of Spanish at Metro State. The course is scheduled for July 3-31, 2004.

The second is a Hospitality, Meeting and Travel Administration course. Borneo Eco Tourism is a three-credit course to give students a first-hand experience in eco tourism. Students will be given opportunities to examine the low-impact sustainable tourism practices in Borneo, Malaysia, and to evaluate environmentally sensitive eco lodge accommodations. The class will be lead by Assistant HMTA Professor Helle Sorensen, who last year led two study-abroad trips, Tour Management and the Advanced Study of Wine. The course is scheduled for May 30-June 15, 2004.

Conde, who works with faculty members to navigate the review process of creating study-abroad courses, said that in addition to these two courses, an ancient history course in Rome and a French language course in France are expected to go to the board for approval.

Once a proposal for a new course is complete, Frieda Holley, associate vice president for academic affairs, takes it first to the Board of Trustees and then to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education for approval.

In addition to non-residential opportunities in which students take just one course abroad, Metro State sponsors a London Semester each January through March and the Guadalajara Program for 10 weeks each fall, spring and summer. Those programs are also administered by Academic Affairs.

While Tull does assist students interested in a study-abroad program from another institution, the college no longer has a resource center for them, and financial aid is not available through Metro State. Tull said that it wasn't cost-effective. "We found that lots of students were interested in study abroad but only a few actually enrolled in a program," she explained. Now Tull provides interested students with a list of study-abroad resources and information on transferring credits. "I can also provide very general study abroad information to students," she said.


@Metro is an electronic news bulletin distributed every Wednesday to all faculty, staff and administrators at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Copyright 2002-2003 Metropolitan State College of Denver