Senate resolution attempts to add credit to study abroad programs

Sara Schleede

With flag course requirements, degree plans can seem endless and unmanageable, but new legislation from the Senate of College Councils could make graduation essentials easier to accomplish.

In an effort to ensure classes are continually updated with relevant flag credits, Senate introduced Senate Resolution 1719 Thursday in support of an email list to faculty-led study abroad professors reminding them to review syllabi for possible curriculum flags. 

“This is necessary because, through our research, we’ve seen that a lot of faculty-led study abroad program classes have content that would meet the requirements for certain flags, but they don’t actually offer credit for students,” said Isheta Kumar, academic enrichment at-large and chemistry freshman.

According to the legislation, faculty-led study abroad programs only offer credit when course instructors have appealed for approval from the Center for Skills & Experience Flags. Professors may alter syllabi and course structure each academic session before the student registration period opens.

SR 1719 was created specifically with the Global Cultures Flag in mind. According to an earlier draft of the legislation, this flag is not typically included in some majors’ degree plans. However, many students study abroad regardless of major or discipline, the legislation stated. 

Communications at-large Haris Rafiq said regular reminders set for professors to review and appeal their material will lead to more flag credit from study abroad courses ranging from three to 16 weeks.  

“The biggest issue we wanted to confront with this is that not many curriculum flags exist for UT faculty-affiliated study abroad courses,” said Rafiq, a chemical engineering junior. “When we did a search through the 2017 summer catalogue, zero courses existed that offered any curriculum flags.”

Senate president Austin Reynolds said the emails could help clarify to study abroad professors that their courses offer more credit than they may realize, even when not taking place on UT’s campus.

“Clearly there’s tangible skills being made whenever you’re putting yourself in an actual experience,” said Reynolds, an English senior. “(This legislation is) looking more broadly at ‘Does this experience also reflect a flag?’” 

Rafiq said the legislation has significant support from the Center for Skills & Experience Flags.

“It wouldn’t stretch any existing resources,” Rafiq said. “It would be another way to make sure that the amount of flags being offered is maximized for reaching the efforts students are making abroad.”