A partnership of learning and discovery: Semester at Sea joins with Colorado State University as new academic partner

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Colorado State University will become the new academic home for Semester at Sea, in a partnership of two organizations focused on providing students with a college education that is a true voyage of learning and discovery.

The Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE), parent organization to the Semester at Sea program, and CSU announced the five-year agreement on June 4, 2015.

Over the next year, ISE will move its offices from Charlottesville, Virginia to the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, where CSU and ISE will officially begin the partnership June 1, 2016. Semester at Sea’s contract with current academic sponsor University of Virginia runs through May 2016.

“A partnership with Colorado State University will enhance the Semester at Sea experience, and we are eager to begin our journey together,” said Kenn Gaither, president of the Institute for Shipboard Education.

Participating students from a variety of universities will earn CSU credit for coursework that will transfer to their home institutions. The agreement also calls for ISE to provide additional scholarship support for CSU students to participate in a Semester at Sea voyage.

“CSU’s commitment to experiential learning and internationalization aligns with our core mission of a global comparative education. This is the beginning of a rich and dynamic partnership that will offer great benefits to both institutions and our students,” said Gaither.

Under the partnership with ISE, CSU will provide academic, administrative, and student recruiting support for the shipboard academic program.

“I’m excited for the opportunities our faculty will have with Semester at Sea, to teach on board, lead students on field excursions, and globalize our courses,” said Mary Stromberger, chair of the CSU Faculty Council. “There are also professional development and leadership opportunities for faculty to serve as academic deans of the voyages. I see these as tremendous benefits to the CSU faculty and our students.”

The partnership will enhance the Semester at Sea experience for students as well as enhance the opportunities for CSU students to experience an international education.

“This new partnership is an ideal match,”“ said Tony Frank, president of CSU. “Our shared commitment to student achievement and innovative, globally engaged education makes this a wonderful fit, and we look forward to a strong and exciting collaboration.”

The new academic partnership comes at the same time ISE is launching its sixth shipboard campus in the program’s storied 51-year history. This August, Semester at Sea’s new vessel will be renamed the World Odyssey for her role as the Semester at Sea campus. Currently named the Deutschland, she has been meticulously maintained since her construction in Germany in 1998 and will undergo routine dry-dock maintenance this summer. The World Odyssey meets the International Maritime Organization’s SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Public Health requirements, as well as all other statutory standards to operate throughout the world.

Since its maiden voyage in 1963, Semester at Sea has sailed on 114 voyages on five primary floating campuses, and collaborated with four academic sponsors. SAS students have traveled to more than 60 countries through a program that has impacted the lives of more than 60,000 students from 1,700 colleges and universities worldwide.

Colorado State University enrolls about 30,000 students and is among the nation’s leading research universities. Founded in 1870 as a land-grant institution, CSU and its faculty address local and global issues through an approach based on outreach and access to higher education, and by combining classroom learning with hands-on experience in the field and lab.

The partnership with ISE supports CSU’s rising focus on internationalization. The number of CSU students involved in education abroad has increased 70 percent in the past five years. In addition, CSU has nearly 2,000 international students and scholars representing more than 90 countries on campus, and more than 20 percent of tenure-track faculty hail from other countries.

“We are delighted to be the academic partner for the Semester at Sea program – it is a perfect fit with our ongoing and sustained internationalization efforts,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president of CSU. “We know that we will develop exciting curricular experiences in partnership with SAS for students from around the world – and for our share of students from CSU as well. “

“Our faculty will have fantastic opportunities for scholarly pursuits in both teaching and research in concert with the voyages – and they will bring back those experiences to the benefit of our entire campus,” said Miranda.