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Off-Campus Study & Exchanges
Skidmore College
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Paris Fall Seminar Director

Criteria and Procedures

The following guidelines define criteria and procedures for the Fall Seminar in Paris.

1. Structures for the Fall Seminar in Paris

The Fall Seminar in Paris must incorporate academic resources and educational and cultural opportunities specific to Paris, France and/or the European Union in order to take full advantage of the site. Courses within a specific department but offered abroad help to internationalize each department's curriculum and open the opportunity to faculty and students across the disciplines. Connections to a given department or program also offer a level of accountability for the course and the program in a way that general elective credit may not. With this in mind, the Seminar must be developed around the sponsoring professor’s academic field of expertise. The courses taught by the seminar director during the Seminar semester are worth 8 semester credits and should count toward a specified all-college, major, or minor requirement. The instructor proposes prerequisites. Specific course descriptions and an itinerary must be presented with each Seminar proposal. These courses are supplemented by 8 credits worth of courses taught by Paris program center instructors.

Specific Fall Seminar in Paris proposals must meet the special criteria included here and be reviewed by the Chair of the respective department or the Director of the respective Program, the Director of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges, the Dean of the Faculty, the Resident Director of the Skidmore in Paris Program, and the Curriculum Committee. Final decisions regarding competing proposals will be made by the Director of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges and the Dean of the Faculty.

2. Criteria for the Fall Seminar in Paris

a. Faculty Qualifications
Sponsoring faculty must possess the academic expertise to inform and guide the proposed course of study. Because the faculty will be able to rely on our on-site staff in Paris, it is not critical that he/she have extensive experience with French language or culture. However, it is important that he/she have an understanding of the cultural and educational resources of Paris, France or the European Union. In this way, the faculty member may take maximum advantage of the on-site resources. Faculty who lead a group of students abroad must also possess the personal qualities that are needed for a venture of this sort to be successful: above all, a high level of commitment to organizing and leading the project, demonstrated organizational skills, responsibility and reliability, resourcefulness, and a readiness to provide a high level of personal guidance to students, well beyond the expectations of the traditional classroom environment. The program proposal should outline specific experiences that speak to these qualities. (This level of preparedness will be reviewed by the appropriate deans and directors in consultation with academic department chairs.)

b. General Course Criteria

  • Seminar curricula must offer a carefully structured, focused, and challenging learning experience – an experience deserving credit within the relevant department’s program. It is expected that the two topics courses offered by the seminar director will count toward 200- or 300-level credit in the respective department.
  • The discipline(s) or object(s) of study involved in the Seminar program must clearly lend themselves to the unique opportunities offered by the site and must make significant use of the educational and cultural resources of the off-campus location.
c. Guidelines For Contact Hours And Credits

All courses will be delivered at the Skidmore in Paris program center, will be worth four (4) credits each, and will require at least 50 instructional hours each. (Contact hours of formal instruction must meet Skidmore College and New York State Education Department expectations for lecture, lab, and studio courses. Also see State Ed guidelines for “activity supervised as a group, such as ‘field trips.’”)

  1. Two (2) department-specific topics courses: Linked to each other and related to Paris, France and/or Europe; offered for 200- or 300-level credit; taught by Skidmore’s seminar director.
  2. One (1) language course: Offered at the beginning or lower-intermediate level; taught by an instructor of the Skidmore in Paris program as selected by the Paris Resident Director. (We have consciously kept this at the beginning and lower-intermediate levels due to the fact that students at the upper-intermediate and advanced levels and above have the opportunity to participate in the regular Skidmore in Paris program.)
  3. One (1) French civilization/culture course: As much as possible, incorporates Seminar-specific subject area; taught by an instructor of the Skidmore in Paris program as selected by the Paris Resident Director.
* NOTES ON CONTACT AND CREDIT HOURS: For courses that rely somewhat less on lectures and discussions and more on laboratory or field work, on studio experience, or on students’ independent research, the Curriculum Committee will need to determine, according to established Skidmore College practices and State Ed guidelines, the appropriate relationship between credits and the number of “instructional hours.” The students’ self-directed travel or study, while of great value in its own right, cannot diminish the amount of organized, formal instruction required for the credit minimums.