Semester at Sea_Academic Profile 2020





The Mission

The Institute for Shipboard Education strives to educate individuals with the global

understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world. With the

world as our classroom, our programs integrate multiple-country study, interdisciplinary

coursework, and experiential learning for meaningful engagement in the global community.

Comparative • Experiential • International

Since 1963 Semester at Sea ® (SAS) has

been a pioneer and leader in comparative,

experiential, international education – a

form of education needed more now than

ever. In today’s dynamic times, employers

seek to hire individuals with cognitive agility

and reflective thinking. The power of SAS

lies in its rigorous academic coursework

combined with experiential learning in eight

to ten countries. Over the 105-plus days of

a voyage, students enhance their capacity for

listening to alternative views, embracing a lack

of knowing, reframing questions, and testing

unusual solutions. Our SAS alumni are primed

for success in a world of disruptive innovations

and globally interconnected systems.

CSU, Semester at Sea’s Academic Partner, is a

Carnegie Research 1 University, the public landgrant

institution of the state of Colorado. Fully

accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,

it is renowned for its particular expertise in

environmental, natural resource, energy, water

and sustainability research, along with world-class

programs in veterinary medicine and engineering.

800.854.0195 | |

Semester at Sea brings college

students, gap-year students, world-class

faculty, and international experts together

to travel, learn, and grow onboard a campus

unlike any other. On the MV World Odyssey,

members of the shipboard community share

their expertise and experience with one

another to create an immersive, inclusive,

and boundary-crossing learning environment.


The Tung Foundation supports student scholarships, Tung Faculty Scholars,

Interport Lecturers, and China-based Field Programs. Each year students

from China and the U.S. receive full tuition scholarships to join a Semester at

Sea voyage. In addition, for voyages visiting China, a Tung Faculty Scholar

teaches courses, mentors students, conducts evening seminars, and

leads the China-based Field Classes. Interport Lecturers join the voyagers

in the port prior to China and contribute to the shipboard community

by providing evening seminars, guest-speaking in classes, serving on

panels in Global Studies, and partaking in informal conversations at meal

times. The generosity of the Tung Foundation ensures SAS students of a

comprehensive shipboard educational experience that live up to C.Y. Tung's

commitment that “a ship can carry more than just cargo. It can carry ideas.”




Voyagers who sail with Semester at

Sea show a statistically significant

increase in Cognitive Knowledge,

Intrapersonal Identity, and Affect

based on the Global Perspectives

Inventory* assessment. Students

return to their home campus with

a stronger awareness of their own

identity and a heightened level of

respect and acceptance of other

cultural perspectives.

*Global Perspectives Inventory is a holistic

view of student learning and development

in the campus environment.

Commitment to


Our Academic Partner -

Colorado State University

Semester at Sea ® is an education abroad program

administered by the Institute for Shipboard

Education (ISE), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Colorado State University (CSU) is the program’s

academic partner. Together, ISE and CSU ensure

the quality of voyage faculty, the academic rigor

of the curriculum, the appointment of academic

leadership and the integration of academic, student

life, and in-country learning.


Voyage faculty come from institutions in the

U.S. and around the world. The Senior Academic

Officer, a joint appointment by ISE and CSU, leads

the hiring process with direct cooperation from

CSU department chairs and deans. Each voyage's

faculty cohort is composed of highly regarded

experts in their respective fields. A record of

excellence in university teaching is essential and

professional experience abroad in one or more of

our voyage destinations is strongly preferred. The

Senior Academic Officer and the Academic Dean

interview each candidate and select voyage faculty

who will be exceptional teachers in the classroom

and in the field and positive contributors to the

shipboard community.


All courses taught on a voyage are approved

CSU courses listed in the CSU course

catalog. Approximately 65-72 course

sections are offered each voyage. Disciplines

represented generally include anthropology,

art, environmental sciences, biology, business/

commerce, communications, economics,

literature, geography, history, journalism, music,

oceanography, philosophy, political science,

psychology, religious studies, sociology, theater

arts, tourism, and women’s studies. Semester at

Sea students enroll as visiting CSU students and

receive CSU transcripts indicating completed

courses with grades at the end of the voyage.

Academic Leadership

Each voyage has an academic leadership team

made up of highly qualified professionals and

includes an Academic Dean, Academic Advisor/

Registrar, Librarian, Writing Center Director,



In-Country Experience

and a three-person In-Country Field Programming

team. The Academic Dean holds professorial rank at

CSU and has a record of successful administrative

experience. As a whole, the academic leadership

team oversees and supports faculty and students

throughout the voyage.

Global Studies - The Core Course

All students take the Global Studies

course. As the connective, shared,

intellectual focus for Semester at Sea,

the course utilizes lectures, visiting

speakers, panel discussions, and

facilitated reflection sessions to

ensure an engaged learning experience.

The course is built on four central integrated themes:

Port Country Discovery, Intercultural Competence,

Ocean Stewardship & Sustainability, and Global

Citizenship. Together, these themes explore the

transnational patterns of human experience across

time and space, drawing on multiple disciplines and

ways of knowing. Global Studies enables students to

better understand the forces that structure their lives

and shape the future.

In-Country Learning

Each voyage students visit eight to ten countries

and typically spend four to six days in each

country. While in-country, students taste, touch,

smell, hear, and ultimately feel the content of their

lectures and textbooks. Field Classes and Field

Programs provide the platforms for comparative,

experiential learning that is at the heart of the

Semester at Sea educational experience.

Field Classes

Each course includes one required Field Class. The

faculty member designs and leads an eight-hour

Field Class that integrates in-country interactive,

experiential learning and on-ship classroom

instruction. Twenty percent of the contact hours

for each course is designed for course-related Field

Class work that is approved and subsequently

evaluated by the faculty member.

A few examples of Field Classes include

discussions with economic development experts

at the World Bank in Ghana, practicing Zen

meditation with monks in Japan, learning about

women empowerment initiatives in India through

NGO and community engagement, and exploring

the ecosystems of Mauritius with local scientists.

Field Programs

Field Programs are optional, fee-based experiences

that provide opportunities to explore port

countries. Field Programs prioritize safety while

generating awareness, building deeper understanding,

and facilitating meaningful action. Field Programs

are centered around five core commitments:

Environmental Stewardship, Family and Community

Engagement, Social Equity and Access, History and

Arts, and Human Expression.

Voyagers can choose from a variety of different Field

Program options — from port city orientations, to

multi-day homestays. Examples of Field Programs

include hands-on cooking classes, university

exchanges, and beach clean-ups in partnership with a

local NGO.

Distinguished Interport Experts

To complement the full-voyage faculty and

staff members on board, Semester at Sea hires

Distinguished Interport Experts. Each expert joins

the voyage for a single leg to enrich the shipboard

community’s understanding of the upcoming

country or a special global topic such as the

natural environment, political systems, or oral

communication. Experts engage with the community

by visiting classes, giving evening seminars,

participating in co-curricular programming, and

acting as a resource for questions about their home

country or area of expertise.












As a global program, Semester at

Sea doesn’t start and end with

voyagers’ shipboard experience,

ISE’s commitment to community

also encompasses those populations

in the port countries that we are

privileged to visit. ISE invests in

developing deep and sustained

relationships with in-country

service providers and local partners

that value ISE’s mission and provide

safe, quality, and meaningful incountry


Commitment to Safety

The health and safety of all voyagers is the number

one priority for ISE, our onboard staff, Captain

and crew. The ISE leadership team consults U.S.

State Department health and safety reports, travel

advisories, and regional analysts, in addition to other

international and private organizations, to monitor

conditions in countries and regions around the world,

safely move the ship through our itinerary, and prepare

our shipboard community for travel in-country. In

the event of a threat to the health and safety of our

voyagers, ISE quickly adapts and modifies itineraries

and in-country planning. This ability to respond is

supported by strong relationships with U.S. Embassies,

a third-party 24/7 emergency assistance company

(AXA), and a strong travel insurance policy (CISI)

for all voyagers. Prior to embarkation, voyagers are

provided with SAFEY, an emergency communication

app that allows for 24/7 immediate contact with oncall

ISE staff and the voyage leadership team.

Health Clinic

The well equipped and resourced health clinic on

board the MV World Odyssey is prepared to meet the

medical needs of voyagers at sea. Voyage medical staff

are U.S.-licensed health professionals. Personnel

include, at a minimum, a board-certified physician,

a board-certified physician’s assistant or nurse

practitioner, a certified ship’s physician, and two

certified ship’s nurses. Additionally, Semester at

Sea employs two licensed mental health counselors

responsible for coordinating, implementing, and

evaluating total mental health care and education

for all voyagers. If more advanced care is required,

the onboard medical team has strong protocols to

utilize shore-based medical capabilities.

Mandatory Logistical Pre-Port

Before the ship’s arrival in each port, all

participants are required to attend a

mandatory pre-port briefing. Briefings cover

travel logistics, immigration and customs

procedures, and health, safety, and security

information. Voyagers receive a Green Sheet

providing critical information they may

need in port for easy reference. Semester at

Sea also enrolls all U.S. participants in the U.S.

State Department’s Safe Traveler Enrollment

Program (STEP). This program notifies the U.S.

Embassies and Consulates in each country of our

itinerary prior to our ship’s arrival.

Information included in Green Sheet

resource guide for each port:

• On-call staff

• Medical personnel

• Port agent information

• Local ship telephone numbers

• Port location information

• hospitals

• Consulate or embassy contacts)


The MV World Odyssey is a state of the art vessel that accommodates up to 600

students, 100 faculty, staff, and family members, and 200 officers and crew members.

The shipboard campus consists of classrooms fully equipped for audio-visual needs,

including a closed-circuit video system, a Union/Theatre, and an on-board library with

access to Colorado State University’s online library resources. It also includes the

standard facilities of an ocean-going vessel such as two dining rooms, snack bars, a

health clinic, an outdoor pool, fitness centers, sports court, laundry service, wellness

center/spa, and a hair salon. Living areas are dormitory-style cabins and supervised by a

support team that includes a complete student life team.

Commitment to Community

Shipboard life is a seamless integration of coursework, student

clubs and organizations, faculty and staff mentoring, counseling

and medical services, and fitness activities. As a self-contained

community at sea, students are able to study and interact in an

intense and profound learning environment.

Semester at Sea is a true living learning community. The Student

Life Team is responsible for creating intentional programs and

activities that encourage students to make meaning of their

experience, deepen their understanding of themselves, connect

more deeply with others, and ponder new concepts. Students are

also encouraged to start student organizations including affinity

groups, faith-based organizations, sports clubs, and cultural groups.

The Student Life Team is a composed of student affairs

professionals including a Dean of Student Life, Assistant Dean of

Student Life and six Resident Directors (RDs). Each RD has a focus

area to support student learning and growth on the voyage. These

focus areas include diversity and inclusion, spirituality and wellness,

career exploration, sports and recreation, gap and international

student success and, student organizations.

Voyagers are organized into RD-supported residential communities

called Seas and participate in well-loved events such as Sea

Olympics and Neptune Day. These programs and activities all lead

to a deeply connected community committed to supporting one

another’s growth while exploring the globe.




Semester at Sea seeks to not simply visit countries along the voyage

itinerary; it seeks to positively contribute to each community. The

Chapman Family Foundation is committed to ensuring SAS students

are partaking in experiential learning for meaningful engagement

in the global community. Through the support of the Chapman

Family Foundation, SAS is elevating its commitment to responsible

travel through long-term partnerships with, and investment in, local

organizations around the world. These partners are creating lasting

change in their communities and play a key role in curating meaningful

and deeply engaging Field Programs for SAS students. Students

who cannot afford to pay for these programs can apply for awarded

scholarships, and a select number of students are awarded the

opportunity to stay engaged with the partner organization post-voyage.

97% of alumni

report that SAS

changed their

world view.

Semester at Sea gives a broader perspective

and a whole new outlook on the world. It filled

me with the need to continue to travel and the

desire to see the world and learn from it.

Sarah Kathryn, Spring 2017

Semester at Sea’s focus on a comparative,

experiential global education has had

a profound, beneficial, and long-lasting effect on

students, faculty, and staff. SAS is proud to claim over

73,000 alumni who possess deep understanding of the

interconnectedness of all people and the inspiration to

engage in the complex challenges of the world.

To understand the academic value of SAS one need

only call upon any of the thousands of students, faculty,

and staff who have participated in this program. The

comment most often heard directly from students is that

SAS was, academically, the most significant experience

of their education. Alumni from six decades continue to

refer to SAS as life changing and transformative.

Equally ardent supporters of SAS are its former faculty.

Faculty have reported that courses taught on a ship,

while in quality comparable to courses offered on the

home campus, have a tremendously positive effect

upon the cognitive learning of students.

Semester at Sea is on the cutting edge of comparative

and experiential studies for students from around the

globe. Colleges and universities seeking to expand

the intercultural and international opportunities of their

students confidently encourage participation in SAS

as the world’s leader in global maritime education.

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