Expressing Interest in Delivering an Off-Campus Field School or Harlow Program
Faculty of HSS Field schools
Rationale and Process
I. Purpose of Field Schools.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences field schools provide students with the opportunity to study abroad for a short period with the familiarity and expertise of MUN instructors. These special programs bring classroom and learning experiences to life in a safe learning environment. Students are exposed to new surroundings, diverse cultures and languages, skills development, extracurricular trips and guest speakers in ways that are possible only by spending time in another locale. The ability to complete MUN courses elsewhere as part of a local cohort acts as an extension of campus learning. Field schools deliver exceptional value in terms of financial commitment, administration and peace of mind. Because the programming is administered by Memorial University there is no need for external application processes to an international institution and no need to negotiate transfer credit issues. Those who complete time abroad develop skills that help them prepare for today’s global society, which increasingly involves traveling to unfamiliar locations, working in multicultural environments, adapting to new situations, and thinking creatively.
II. Types of Field Schools funded by the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Office.
The Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences allots a fixed budget in each fiscal year for qualifying field school programs. A field school that offers courses that are all applicable to a diploma or a certificate program is strongly encouraged. There are three types of programs that will be considered for funding.
- Required courses: The university calendar specifies that students must complete field school courses as part of their degree program.
- Harlow courses: Courses delivered at the Harlow campus that are enhanced by availing of the location, and which require up to 2 years of advance notice and planning.
- Elective courses: Courses delivered off campus that will be significantly enhanced by availing of the location. Preference is given to regular courses over the creation of special topics courses.
Normally, all of these courses are to be offered as part of a faculty member's course load, and the department Head must agree that this will not encumber the department's ability to offer courses that are required for students to complete their program of study.
III. Pre-Approval Process.
Step #1: Department Head submits an expression of interest to the Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (Undergraduate):
This step assumes that the Instructor has consulted with and sought approval from the respective Department Head in advance of submitting an Expression of Interest in planning their field school. The advance notice facilitates the Head’s development of the department’s teaching plan.
Deadline of Expression of Interest: 5:00pm April 10, or next business day (i.e., 13 months before a May program starts, 17 months before a September program starts, 21 months before a January program starts)
The Secretary of the Associate Deans will send out an email notice in February as a call for Expressions of Interest, with a reminder in March.
By April 10, the Department Head, on behalf of the interested faculty member, needs to inform the Secretary to the Associate Deans of Humanities and Social Sciences of the basic budget request associated with field schools and/or Harlow programs that will be included in the department’s teaching plan submitted in October. This may include submitting a revised request for a program that was not funded in the previous year.
At this juncture, only basic information is needed, and no form needs to be completed. An email submission should identify:
- the proposed location
- the start and end dates,
- the courses to be offered (including whether these are required for the program)
- the instructors involved (including whether these courses are part of a faculty members’ normal teaching load),
- the minimum number of student enrollments for the program to proceed, and
- a short statement about the pedagogical relevance of the proposed program.
An approximate budget request need only identify:
- the estimated travel costs for the faculty member(s),
- per diems, and accommodation costs and
- any other anticipated expenses to be incurred for participating faculty member(s) and the administration of the field school.
At a later point a detailed budget breakdown and course outlines will be required, as well as a promotional plan. Funding is not available through the Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences for student expenses such as tuition, destination travel, accommodation, or per diems. The proposed program should clearly prioritize students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Memorial University. The Secretary to the Associate Deans maintains an inventory of all submissions. The submitted information will be used for steps #2-4.
Step #2: Expressions of interest reviewed by Field Schools Committee
Early each year, the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences strikes a Field Schools Committee comprised of the Associate Dean of Arts (Undergraduate), the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Financial Officer, and three faculty members. Ideally, the faculty members will not be affiliated with departments who are requesting funds for field school delivery.
Beginning approximately April 11, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Committee reviews expressions of interest that were received by April 10. Normally, the Committee’s evaluation of expressions of interest is guided by the following considerations; however meeting all of these criteria is not a guarantee that an application will be successful.
- Pedagogy considerations, such as the academic benefits to students, and the relationship between course content and the proposed location of study. The pedagogical relevance should be identifiable in a statement from the faculty member establishing why the proposed travel and venue(s) are integral to teaching outcomes;
- Fairness and opportunity considerations, such as the rotation of program delivery such that a request that is unsuccessful one year is given greater priority for conditional acceptance the following year, and vice versa; and,
- General cost considerations within the available Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences budget. The Committee shall consider all expressions of interest within the annual budget envelope available for field schools.
By the end of April, the Committee will request that the Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (Undergraduate) advise the Dean of its recommendations (i.e., 12 months before a May program starts, 16 months before a September program starts, 20 months before a January program starts).
Step #3: Dean’s Office analyzes general cost considerations
Once the Field Schools Committee has made recommendations, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Financial Officer analyzes the financial aspects of each expression of interest so that the Dean may consider the value for money and related matters. Among the considerations are the financial implications of a faculty member not being available to deliver normal course offerings on campus.
Within a few days of the Committee making its recommendations, the Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (Undergraduate) submits the Committee’s recommendations along with the financial assessment of the Senior Financial Officer to the Dean.
Step #4: Dean makes a conditional decision
The Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences reviews the Field Schools Committee’s recommendations and the Senior Financial Officer’s financial assessment. By early May, the administrative support (finance and administration) advises Heads, copying the Associate Dean, whether the Dean has deemed the request for limited funds to be conditionally successful or unsuccessful. If the request for funds is conditionally successful then the faculty member will be invited to submit a detailed application (step #5) and the Department Head will tentatively include the course(s) in the preparation of the teaching plan. If the request is unsuccessful, the faculty member is eligible to re-apply the following April, and is encouraged to speak with the Associate Dean who will offer suggestions to improve the program design.
Step #5: Faculty member submits formal application (required for all field school funding requests exceeding $3000)
Deadline for submission of formal application: May 31, or next business day (i.e., 11 months before a May program starts, 15 months before a September program starts, 19 months before a January program starts)
By May 31, faculty members’ whose request for financial resources has been conditionally accepted will need to submit a completed “Off-Campus Program Application” form to the Secretary to the Associate Deans. Office personnel are available to answer questions during the preparation of the application. Applicants should consider that the formal application will be subject to an academic review (step #6a) and a financial review (step #6b). The Dean does not require a formal application on an annual basis when a request for funding is less than $3000, the program has been previously approved and the university calendar stipulates that students must complete the field school as part of their program requirements.
Tips for preparing a Harlow campus field school are available on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences website.
Step #6a: Academic review of formal application by CUGS
Each year, all formal applications are referred to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Committee on Undergraduate Studies (CUGS) for academic review. CUGS is asked to identify suggestions for pedagogical improvement and consistency with changing university policies. Particular attention is paid to the course outline and its connection with the field school location. Instructors are encouraged to state the skills and knowledge students would acquire by participating in the field school. CUGS does not render a decision on whether or not the field school ought to be offered.
Step #6b: Financial review of formal application
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Financial Officer performs a standard review of proposed expenditures to ensure financial diligence and consistency with university policies.
Step #7: Approval by the Dean
Deadline: June 30, or next business day (i.e., 10 months before a May program starts, 14 months before a September program starts, 18 months before a January program starts)
The Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences makes a decision that is communicated in a timely manner to the applicant and the Department Head. Any offer of funding is accompanied by conditions and the Office of the Dean reserves the right to withdraw its financial support.
IV. Cancelling the Field School due to Low Enrollments
A well-designed and well-promoted program is likely to be in demand. In the event of low enrollments, the Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences will work with the Department Head to confirm that the field school program should be cancelled, and information must be carefully communicated to students. (See Chart for enrolment deadlines and number of student commitments required.)
Minimum Number of Enrollments by MUN Students
6 months before start of field school semester
(by the registration start date of the semester prior to the field school)
4 months before start of field school semester
(by the start of classes of the prior semester)
1 faculty member offering 2 courses
evidence of 12 firm commitments from MUN students
minimum 10 confirmed enrolments from MUN students*
2 faculty members offering 4 courses
evidence of 24 firm commitments from MUN students
minimum 20 confirmed enrolments from MUN students*
Communication with students (from instructor)
Students who have signed up are advised in writing by the instructor(s), copying the Head and the Associate Dean, that the minimum number of enrolments has not been met. Plans continue for the program to proceed and efforts will increase to encourage student sign-ups. However if [NUMBER] students are not signed up by [DATE] the field school will be cancelled, with the possibility that it will be deferred for delivery in 1 year.
Students who have enrolled are advised in writing by the instructor(s), copying the Head and the Associate Dean, that unfortunately the minimum number of enrolments was not met and the field school will not be offered. Whenever possible a full refund will be available; however, full refunds are not always available due to prepaid expenses that are not reversible. The Department might explore the potential for the program to be offered 1 year later than originally planned, subject to meeting enrolment minimums.
Communication with MUN personnel (from Associate Dean)
The Associate Dean forwards the instructor's email to Dean's Office personnel, to the Go Abroad coordinator, and (if applicable) to
The Associate Dean forwards the instructor's email to Dean's Office personnel, to the Go Abroad coordinator, and (if applicable) to Harlow representatives
* In extraordinary circumstances, the Dean will consider reducing the cancellation markers to 9 or 19 as applicable, and delaying a cancellation decision by up to 2 weeks. Non-MUN students are eligible to enroll, however they do not count towards the minimum number of enrollments.
Normally, the maximum number of students is related to capacity, such as the number of seats on a bus.
In the event of cancellation, the Dean will notify the faculty member responsible, the academic unit Head, the applicable Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Financial Officer, the Go Abroad Coordinator, and the Communications Advisor. It is the responsibility of the Head of Department to ensure that the faculty member contacts students individually to inform them of a program’s cancellation and that this is done in a timely and sensitive manner. With approval of the Dean and the Head of Department, a cancelled program may be eligible for deferral to a future year, subject to changes being made to the program in consultation with the Associate Dean. Such changes may include increased emphasis on the delivery of courses that are required for a departmental program and which are also eligible for interdisciplinary programs and/or for diploma or certificate programs.
V. Post-approval Process.
Step #1: Communicating Approval of the Field School to Staff.
Once a field school has been approved, the Humanities and Social Sciences Senior Administrative Officer will notify the following (including start date, location and other unique aspects of the field school):
- The Instructor and Department Head
- Humanities and Social Sciences’ Communications Officer and the Go Abroad Coordinator,
- Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Advisor and the Manager of Interdisciplinary programs of the approval, including start date
- Enrolment manager, finance and administration, will monitor numbers of students (according to registration counts and Banner Finance) and inform the Dean’s Office a minimum of six months in advance of the field school
- Administrative support, finance and administration, will provide financial and logistical information for the field school and maintain the official financial file on all field school programs, including Harlow.
Representatives at the Harlow Campus wish to receive a request from the Humanities and Social Sciences Senior Administrative Officer at least 13 months before the delivery date.
Step #2: Administrative Duties of the Instructor
The Instructor of an approved field school will immediately:
- contact the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Office (administrative support) to obtain a fund number through which student deposits can be facilitated. Instructors should never handle payments for field schools. Students make payments through the Cashiers office. Students normally make a $300 non-refundable deposit, which is applied to the overall cost of the field school.
- connect with the Humanities and Social Sciences’ Communications Officer to discuss and coordinate printed material (posters, brochures)
- contact the Go Abroad Coordinator to discuss promotional plans
- take concrete steps to secure tangible commitments from students in the form of a financial deposit and course sign-up (see Step #3 below)
- direct students to deposit down-payments to the Cashiers Office
Step #3a: Instructor’s Promotion of the Field School and Generating Enrollments
As soon as a field school is confirmed, it is time for the Instructor to get the word out. Faculty members should begin posting information about the program 8 to 12 months in advance of the departure date to give students enough lead time to arrange financing, etcetera. At all times, students need to be aware that a field school or Harlow semester is subject to cancellation in the event of insufficient enrollments.
Promotional activities include:
- Get in touch with the Go Abroad Coordinator, who meets with students to discuss future go aboard opportunities. Liaise with the Go Abroad coordinator about participating in one or both of the Go Abroad Fairs, which are held every fall and winter semester. The Communications Coordinator will plan to have promotional items available for distribution at this event if all materials are provided by the beginning of August, in order to allow time for design and production.
- At the earliest opportunity, create a department webpage (under the section MORE) that is linked from your department's homepage. This is where most people will look for information. Nothing fancy is required -- what matters is that as much information as possible is available as soon as possible and that people know who to contact for further details. The webpage address should appear in promotional materials. Consider adding it to your email signature for extra exposure. If you require assistance in creating this page please contact the Faculty’s communications advisor.
- Inform all of your departmental colleagues that a field school program is planned. Course instructors and student advisors play a big role in spreading the word. Providing them with information to show or distribute to students in class is a useful technique.
- Make good use of email and social media to generate early awareness. This includes using Banner to send an email to students who recently completed a cognate course and/or who are enrolled for an upcoming semester; asking members of a students’ society to spread the word; and posting information on your department’s homepage and social media accounts. A custom Facebook page or equivalent is particularly helpful and is generally easier to maintain than an institutional website. Students look for photographs and details regarding the program, courses, cost and location. If you have testimonials from previous students, this is a good time to use them. If you require assistance in creating a social media account please contact the Faculty’s communications advisor.
- Post notices around the department about what courses will be offered.
- Get in touch with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Communications Coordinator. Upon approval from the Dean, the Communications Coordinator will promote the field school via the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences social media channels. Usually 50 posters and 100 to 400 brochures are printed in a single print run for each program, depending on the faculty member’s needs. High quality (300 dpi) photos from previous trips can be used in posters and brochures. Photos must be free of copyright infringement (i.e. taken by you or if taken by someone else, with written approval) and any students pictured must give their written approval for use of their image. Approval of printed material must be approved by the Dean.
- Schedule information sessions to promote the program, and publicize them through electronic communication. The Communications Coordinator can promote these through the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences events page, social media and Memorial’s website.
- Perhaps the most effective mechanism is to ask course instructors for an opportunity to address students in the classroom and distribute sign-up sheets to collect contact information from students who are tentatively interested. One experienced faculty member relays that visiting a classroom “is the best and fastest way to market my programs. I’ll only visit 2nd year and above courses in relevant fields, and I’ll privilege larger classes over smaller ones. It’s really easy to go through Banner to figure out what classes will be taught in a discipline in the upcoming semester, as well as who is teaching it, and where it is being taught. It’s easy to make a flow chart to keep track of all of the possible visits. I’ll then email the professor to arrange a visit and see if they prefer a 5, 10, or 15 minute presentation. In the classroom, I’ll give a short talk, which includes mentioning my first meeting, telling them how to get in touch, or taking their contact information, and giving them how to join our social media groups. I’ll pass around the brochure at this point, as well, and it would be great to tell them to keep it if they’re serious about the program, but to return it to the front if they’re not interested.”
- Consider striking a committee of interested students. They will be an important sounding board throughout the process and will help get the word out to their peers.
Step #3b: ‘Go Abroad’ Coordinator’s Promotion of the Field School
The ‘Go Abroad’ Coordinator’s responsibilities include holding pre-departure sessions for groups and individuals; organizing Fall and Winter Go Abroad fairs; preparing individual students for go abroad opportunities by providing a variety of resources; exit interviews, and offering guidance to put students’ go abroad experience into a career context. Specifically, the ‘Go Abroad’ Coordinator should:
- employ social media and Facebook to raise awareness about the approved programs
- include the approved programs in the Go Abroad Fair
- attend information sessions and class visits with the Instructor, if time permits
- organize pre-departure safety/security briefings for students (allow 2 hours)
Step #3c: Duties of the Communications Officer in promoting the Field School:
The Humanities and Social Sciences Communications Coordinator will liaise with the Instructor to promote the Field School through the media and printed material. The Coordinator will consider whether there is a possibility for an online story and, with approval by the Dean, will endeavour to produce brochures, templates and screen slides to promote the program. The Head of Department, the applicable Associate Dean and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Financial Officer must be given an opportunity to review and approve the print materials. The final material must be approved by the Dean.
Step #3d: The Role of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Senior Advisor and the Manager of Interdisciplinary programs in promoting the field school:
Both positions will advise students of the availability of approved field schools and Harlow programs, as part of the promotion of Humanities and Social Sciences experiential learning opportunities.
VI. Policies and Procedures Specific to Harlow Field Schools.
In addition to the above guidelines for field schools, there are some specific aspects of holding a field school at Harlow that require attention.
The Responsibilities of Administrative Support (finance and administration):
- requests approval from the Associate VP Academic (in writing) for the associated program fees
- once the program fees have been approved by the VP Academic, requests approval from the Associate Director of Financial & Administrative Services (in writing) for the designation of a detail code for the purposes of crediting the program fee amounts to each student
- notifies the Registrar’s Office (in writing) of the list of participating students and the associated program fee to ensure proper taxable credits are assigned to each student
- maintains the official financial correspondence file on all Harlow and field school programs
The Responsibilities of the Secretary to the Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (Undergraduate Studies):
- arranges to have travel letters prepared based on the list of participating students as provided by the faculty member
- maintains the (non-financial) official correspondence file on all Harlow and field school programs
Responsibilities of the Instructor:
- In developing their program, Instructors must keep in mind the legal requirements regarding the limitations on teaching abroad. Students are at Harlow for field experience
- Instructors are encouraged to invite the Scholarships office (Harlow Scholarships) to participate in information sessions
- In developing the budget, instructors should keep in mind that the program fee for students is the portion of their total costs for which they receive a taxable credit and is limited to the following items: site visits, field trips, museum and theatre visits, field trip transportation. (NOTE – transportation to and from Harlow upon start and end of field school is ineligible as a program fee cost)
- Student program fee amounts (collected in advance of Field School through the Cashier’s Office) and any other funds required while at Harlow campus will be transferred to Harlow campus by the Dean’s Office before the Field School commences. Harlow Campus staff will also send invoices directly to the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences office for payment in the case of some expenses.
- Program fee fund balances (should any exist) will not be returned to students under any circumstances. Program fee approval is granted directly by the Associate VP Academic and the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences office does not have authority to return these funds.
VII. Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Office Contacts
A current list of Dean’s Office contacts is available at: