The OCS Fellows initiative is designed to integrate learning experiences, specifically independent research, that Carleton students carry out on non-Carleton off-campus study programs into the Carleton curriculum. Our main objective is to engage Carleton faculty in providing advice and guidance prior to and after the students’ off-campus experience.

The majority of Carleton students who participate in off-campus studies (almost 60%) do so in the fall of their junior year. They return to campus for five more important trimesters of curricular engagement — they take courses in their major, complete their Comprehensive Exercise, apply for Carleton and non-Carleton-sponsored fellowships, and make their first post-graduate decisions.

Between 30-40% of students who study abroad do so on non-Carleton programs. An increasing number of these programs offer independent project or research components that test students’ knowledge of the local language and culture, as well as their capacity to develop and carry out a research proposal. A significant number of students who have participated in an OCS program incorporating independent research go on to base subsequent research, independent study, Carleton Fellowships, or comps off of their OCS program.

Engaging Carleton faculty in helping these students find the right pathways to integrate off-campus and on-campus learning, especially on programs that are not part of our curriculum, considerably enriches the already unique qualities of Carleton off-campus study programming. At the same time, these measures also allow Carleton faculty to become more familiar with non-Carleton programs.

Each year two faculty, representing different disciplines, are selected to serve as OCS Fellows for a period of one year (from spring term through the following winter term). The Fellows offer:

  1. One two-hour-long pre-departure workshop during the spring term for students participating in non-Carleton OCS programs with an independent research component to address issues of field research abroad
  2. Be available to the workshop participants for individual consultations during the spring term while they prepare for their study abroad experience
  3. Organize a returning-student event the following winter term — it could be a research symposium, poster presentation, or another workshop — to create an opportunity for students to present the work done abroad and to share their research experience
  4. As a follow-up, consult with students, either in a group meeting or individually, to discuss next steps — recommended Carleton courses, fellowship and research opportunities, comps ideas, etc.

OCS Fellows receive a stipend for this work. We will also entertain requests for funding to conduct a site visit of a non-Carleton OCS program (depending on the needs and resources of OCS).

For further information about the OCS Fellows program, please contact Helena Kaufman, Director of Off-Campus Studies.