Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session

Conversation Series

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Yale Summer Session Abroad's Faculty Conversation Series is designed to offer on-going opportunities for YSS faculty to gather together to learn from each other's experiences running programs abroad, to raise any potential problems or questions with the Director and/or Dean, and more generally to form a cohort that works collectively to design and implement the highest-quality programs for students.  Topics for these discussions are determined by suggestions from the Director and from the faculty.  


March 6 [see recap of the meeting below]
Let’s focus on our pre-departure meetings for students.  We will go over the YSS pre-departure PowerPoint template (including which elements the faculty and the staff will deliver).  We will also go over some additions to the student guidebooks which, in response to faculty requests, now feature a “Program Citizenship” statement and a revamped YSS Policies section, both of which address our high expectations for students’ productive engagement in our programs abroad. 

March 28
Let’s build our student cohorts.  Be it while still in New Haven with our newly-admitted students or throughout our programs abroad, how do we build student cohorts and cohesion?  We will hear from faculty about innovate approaches, including meetings with students prior to departure and formal mid-program check-ins with students to see if there are possibilities for improvements to the second half of the program while abroad.  We will also discuss how everybody is handling students’ wishes to travel independently during the program, economic barriers that some of our students encounter while abroad (e.g., not all students have large discretionary budgets), and more.

The March 6, 2019 Meeting Covered:

1. Student Pre-departure Meeting PowerPoint:
Together we looked at [a prepared] PowerPoint, which the faculty and the YSS staff will co-present at the student predeparture meetings.  Program Representatives for all of our programs have already been contacted about how, if desired, to update the slides with a blue background (those are the slides that the faculty will present).

2. Program Citizenship Statement and Policies:
At the faculty’s request, both of these items now feature prominently in the student guidebooks.  The citizenship statement says, in part, “Your [the student’s] active and complete participation includes being on time and prepared for all required program class sessions, activities, and excursions.”  The new policies section brings together and highlights several crucial policies that relate to our high expectations of students on our program, including (in what is a rare but possible outcome) dismissal from the program.  In all such matters, the YSS staff are here to help uphold these policies and high standards, and you can always contact us with any issues or concerns.

3. The $200+ Program:
As you know, each program had up to $200 to spend in outreach and ‘advertising’ ahead of the application deadline.  We would like to expand this idea to include outreach to students who have been admitted to your programs but before everybody leaves New Haven.  To give one example, this could be a modest event for admitted students and program alumni to discuss the upcoming summer and how best to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  I am eager to see the other creative approaches that you all might come up with or are already doing. 

If you have any unspent portion of the $200, you may put that toward such an event.  If you spent the $200 already and would like a bit more, I am happy to offer up to another $50-$100 (per program).  As we will discuss at our next Faculty Conversation Series meeting (March 28 at 3:30), building our student cohorts is an important goal worth investing in. 

4. International SOS:
Finally, we shared that we will have a member International SOS (ISOS) come to the faculty pre-departure meeting on May 2 to go over the many resources that Yale’s new Travel Assistance and Emergency Medical Care Coverage provider has on offer.  We will canvass you all ahead of that meeting for any particular questions, concerns, or case studies that you would like addressed on May 2 as well.  To get a jumpstart on what ISOS provides the Yale community, you may wish to visit:

2016-2017 Conversation Topics Covered:

• Faculty (on-line) Toolkit
The Study Abroad Team (and our tech wizard, Sam Cohen) will be working, with your input, to design an on-line portal for YSS abroad faculty.  The aim is for faculty to have in one place materials on: Running a Program, Conversation Series, Health & Safety, While Abroad, and general Resources.  We have the general architecture for this site already in place, so please come see a demo for feedback.  Conversations about this toolkit will broaden and continue through next term and beyond. 

• Achieving Robust Enrollments
Let’s share tips on how to get robust enrollments in programs.  We’ll talk about YSS’s advertising strategy as well as hear from faculty about what efforts have proven successful in raising student interest in participating in YSS programs abroad (such as an alumni/prospective applicant event). 

• Program Reports Overview
Many of you submitted program reports at the end of the summer.  In this meeting, I will summarize the feedback and lessons learned while soliciting from you any further insights from last summer.

• Prompting Students’ Critical Reflection / Overcoming Culture Shock
How do you prompt students to reflect critically on their learning and development throughout the program and after return?  Can this reflection or other approaches help students overcome culture shock (including reverse culture shock)?

• Outcomes Assessment
While reviewing some of the latest findings about student learning outcomes through YSS programs, let’s also discuss implementing a YSS Abroad Program Evaluation survey for students (separate from the course evaluation), building as much as possible on the evaluations already being gathered independently by some of our programs. 

• Integrating Course Objectives with Trips
How do we successfully integrate course objectives into program trips, excursions, and outings?  Let’s hear the success stories!

• Pre-Departure Planning
Strategies for providing impactful pre-departure meetings/resources for our students.  Let’s also discuss ways to revamp the faculty pre-departure meeting.

• Logistics (Phones, Health and Safety resources, etc.)
So many details, so little time!  Let’s discuss the “small” details that can add up to big headaches or success when running the program abroad.