Selecting a Study Tour

Course proposal

The Study Tour component is an important asset to the initial course proposal that is submitted for U.S. faculty to the MUDEC Committee and the Dean as part of their proposal and to the Dean for non U.S. faculty members. While only a rough outline is necessary at the level of the course proposal, the Dean carefully reviews the preferred destinations and the Dean’s office determines whether or not the tour is feasible, taking many different factors into consideration.

Such factors include but are not limited to:

  • Anticipated costs
  • Originality of the tour
  • Originality of the destination
  • Coherence of the semester in terms of destinations and activities

Faculty members applying must be aware that they may have to reconsider their initial study tour destinations even after being accepted and appointed to a MUDEC faculty position. They may also be asked to submit an alternate destination choice in their proposal.

A few principles should be respected/followed when preliminarily planning the study tour:

  • Avoid repetition for students (2 tours going to the same destination).
  • Consider general budget constraints ($1800 for the two tours of the semester).
  • Develop a strong academic link between the tour and the course subject.
  • Allow students to discover new cultural dimensions.
  • Consider taking students to places they would not visit on their own or that would be difficult for students to access on their own.

Instructor's preparation

The instructor prepares the academic content and destination of the study tour. The study tour is accepted in principle with the proposal reviewed by the MUDEC Committee and by the Dean who submits the nomination for appointment to the Provost. However, in rare cases, even after being appointed by the Provost as MUDEC faculty member, it may be possible that modifications to the tour, in its content and even its destination, are necessary due to unforeseen or changing circumstances. These changes, if initiated by the Dean, will be discussed with the faculty member, and if initiated by the faculty member, must be approved by the Dean.

The faculty member is the leader of the study tour. She/he is responsible for the academic program of the tour and for the number of required contact hours (12.5 for the year program, 25 for the summer program). All other aspects (including logistics and budget) are organized by the Office of the Dean in close contact with the instructor.

Faculty members in charge of sprint course study tours and semester course study tours may apply for a study tour grant (see Faculty Manual for further details) designed to support their visit to the places they will go to with students, to make appropriate contacts and check out interesting places/sights/activities for the social and the cultural aspects of the tour. Faculty members need to apply for such grants by writing a short proposal (typically 1-2 pages in length) that will be submitted to the Dean for final approval.

Dean's initial letter

Once a course is approved and the professor officially appointed to Luxembourg, a letter from the Dean launches the organization process. This letter is typically sent 4 months prior to departure:

  • November 10th for the Spring Study Tour (return December 1)
  • May 15th for Fall Study Tours (return June 1)

The letter includes a deadline and requests final decisions from the faculty member in terms of destinations(s), timing and academic, social and cultural content. A study tour itinerary model is attached as well as a survey that is designed to give all necessary information to the Office of the Dean. The Assistant Dean and the Staff in charge of study tours form the Study Tour Organizing Team (STOT). This team is in charge of the logistics of the tours and all budgetary issues. The faculty member leading the tour is in charge of all academic aspects of the Tour.

First draft

Once the information requested by the Dean’s letter is returned to his/her office, the STOT starts putting together a first draft itinerary. This draft is constantly updated and is eventually integrated into a final Road Book for the tour. In order to prepare this draft, the STOT reviews prices for transportation and accommodation to analyze the feasibility of the proposal.

If the itinerary document the faculty member gives students is different from the draft itinerary, it will replace it and will be included in the Road book. To this end, it must be provided to the Assistant Dean at least 10 days prior to departure on study tour for inclusion.

Besides this draft, the Assistant Dean monitors with precision the budget of every tour in a separate document. The STOT also implements a Canvas site for each study tour. The Canvas sites are accessible to faculty members in charge of study tours and to all students.

The STOT organizes a meeting with the Accompanying Staff Member the week prior to the tour’s departure and reviews the details of the tour, shows all the available documents, draws attention to possible unclear situations, and hands out cash needed for the Tour.

What is an activity?

The academic component of the study represents the equivalent of 1 credit or the equivalent of 12.5 contact hours of in-class meeting plus about the same in preparation time.

Each study tour program of the core program (semester/year) must clearly identify these 12.5 hours of academic activity. Those hours are not supplemental to the syllabus or to the content of the class. They are fully part of it. It is recommended that these hours are experiential (lectures, visits, activities on the tour, etc.) and favor a critical understanding of global contexts. Formal in-class contact hours can also be organized during the study tour. These are particularly interesting for briefing or debriefing sessions, but may also correspond to formal in-class teaching. These slots have to be carefully organized so that a venue can be properly reserved in advance.

Besides the academic component, it is highly recommended that study tours include cultural and social activities which are not counted as formal hours. Examples of cultural and social activities include:

  • lunches & dinners
  • concerts
  • plays
  • city tours
  • fun activities such as boat tours and amusement parks
  • participation in typical local activities or visits to local places of interest

It is evident that a city tour in a history class, a concert in a music class, a play in a literature class, a lecture during a dinner etc. are directly related to the content of the class. Ultimately, the faculty member in charge of the tour decides what counts or not as contact hour. However, the Dean may request specific information from the faculty member about any of the activities that occur during the study tour.

Duration and budget

The budget of a study tour consists of the general fee paid by students upon registration. This fee is broken in two parts for the Sprint Study Tour and the Semester Study Tour ($800 for the Sprint Study Tour and $1000 for the Semester Study Tour). Students are reimbursed through the Bursar Bill at the end of the semester for any unused funds in their 2 respective tours.

The duration of the Study Tour is:

- 4 nights/5 days for the Sprint Study Tour

- 5 nights/6 days for the Semester Study Tour

MUDEC is dedicated to keeping its programs affordable to all students. This is why the study tour budget is very limited. It includes visible costs (guides, entries, meals, etc. …), as well as hidden costs (transportation, public transportation, overnight, insurance, per diem, Accompanying Team traveling, administration, phone, gifts, tips, etc.). The responsibility of the overall budget rests with the Assistant Dean in charge of administration. While the faculty member in charge of the tour ultimately makes decisions about activities and destination, these decisions must fit within the constraints of the budget. The Assistant Dean must be informed of any change in the program by the faculty member so that any impact on the overall budget can be analyzed and proper decisions made. Activities may be eliminated by the Dean in case of a budget problem or for any other reason deemed appropriate by the Dean.

In case of a divergence of appreciation between the STOT and the faculty member, the faculty member must contact the Dean.

Use of private providers

All possible academic, cultural or social activities are decided by the Faculty member leading the Tour. He/she can use his/her contacts to organize these activities but needs to work closely with the Assistant-Dean so that the final Itinerary can be completed and the Road Book created.

For most common destinations, travel companies and private providers are not recommended: the STOT often finds the same or even lower rates than a provider. Experience shows that for a study tour in the UK, with equivalent activities, a study tour locally organized is 20% less expensive than one organized through a private provider, which means that a significant part of the budget can be reallocated to other activities.

For less traditional locations, (Morocco, Slovenia, Poland…) where the language might become a barrier or for completely new destinations (Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania …) finding an agent may be an efficient solution. In many cases, MUDEC has a contact (Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic…). If the Faculty member leading the Tour has his/her own contacts, such contacts should be used in collaboration with the STOT. In all cases, MUDEC organizes the logistics of the tour.

Communicating about the Study Tour's budget

It is important that faculty members feel responsible for conveying a strict and appropriate sense of transparency and accountability as regards to the fees that students pay. For this reason, all students’ questions about study tours’ budget must be directed or reported to the Assistant Dean so that an accurate answer can be given.

  1. Faculty members should not answer any questions pertaining to budget issues as they are not in their purview.
  2. Any student’s question must be reported to the Office of the Dean, to make sure that every student is properly informed as it is important not to leave any question unanswered.

The faculty member leading the Tour can always request information about the budget while preparing the Tour.

Who travels?

Every student participating in the given class participates in the Study Tours of his/her classes. Exceptions for very specific situations can only be made by the Dean in consultation with the faculty member leading the Tour.

The faculty member who leads the tour is accompanied by one Accompanying Staff Member from MUDEC. No other person can substitute for the Accompanying Staff Member (i.e. a faculty member cannot use a spouse, a guest, a friend, a colleague, or an acquaintance as a substitute for the Accompanying Staff Member). The faculty member is the academic leader of the tour. The Accompanying Staff Member is in charge of all logistical aspects as deemed necessary by the Tour leader. In cases where a student needs special attention, the faculty member continues the tour with the group and deals with logistics while the Accompanying Staff Member takes care of the situation with the student.

Guests

MUDEC complies with Miami University’s guidelines regarding guests.

The decision of inviting non-official guest participants is solely the decision of the faculty member and is made under his/her responsibility. MUDEC has no liability or responsibility towards these guests. Faculty members should have their guests fill out the form informing them of the conditions of their following the tour. Guests are required to pay all Study Tour fees. No exception is made.

A paying guest respects the rules and regulations of the students in terms of participation, pays for all activities regardless if he/she participates or not to all of them. Children aged 13 and older are considered as adults; children younger than 13  per se do not participate, but if requested by the Dean, pay 50% of each activity, whether they participate or not.

Paying guests pay the price of their individual room. If they share a room with a faculty member or the Accompanying Staff member, they pay the difference of price between a double and a single room.