Carleton is committed to making off-campus study possible for all students and to ensuring a high level of academic rigor and experiential learning on all approved programs. Carleton faculty and staff enthusiastically encourage students to participate in OCS programs and embrace our mission statement.

Learning Goals

Students who study off-campus, experience the personal growth that results from leaving the confines of Carleton and its routines, and enter into a learning environment that is different in customs and norms. This new environment may offer chances to communicate in new languages, meet people from different backgrounds, experience new living space, navigate in an unfamiliar place, ask for help, travel independently, and consider different points of view. A reflective learner will incorporate these unfiltered experiences — the successes and the mishaps — into a new sense of self, perhaps one that is more confident in its own talents and in possession of an expanded worldview.

Therefore, Off-Campus Programs have the following learning goals.  Students who study off-campus should:

  • use intercultural encounters, field study, and their own experiences, to expand their curiosity and ways of knowing
  • acquire understanding of an unfamiliar environment, whether that environment is cultural, social, economic, linguistic, natural, historical or political
  • make connections between this new environment and their own, to hopefully better understand the world in which we live
  • develop specific discipline-related and interdisciplinary skills through exploration of off campus sites, field research, and immersion in the languages and cultures of these locations
  • recognize and think about the connections between local, national, and global challenges, and confidently pursue solutions to these challenges
  • bring the experiences back to Carleton, and allow their off-campus learning to inform their further education in a dynamic and thoughtful way
  • expand their vision of life after Carleton and explore broader range of life and career opportunities

To further these goals, Off-Campus Studies Office seeks ways to integrate the experiences of studying off-campus into the experience, and curriculum, on-campus.

Faculty-Led Program Model

Features of Carleton’s Faculty Led Program Model

Carleton’s faculty-led programs are embedded in the curriculum, with faculty and departments maintaining strong ownership of their programs.

College Ownership

  • Fiscal control and administrative oversight
  • International visibility
  • Internationalization of campus environment
  • Opportunities for faculty development  

Faculty Ownership

  • Intellectual design
  • Curriculum integration
    • Pre- and post-program coursework integration at the introductory and advanced levels
    • Integration with course planning and offerings on campus
    • Extension of the “Carleton experience” academically, intellectually, and socially – taking advantage of the “bubble”
  • Ensuring rigorous academic standards consistent with the college curriculum and pedagogy
  • Situating disciplinary knowledge in global and cultural contexts
  • Fostering and deepening the sense of learning community beyond the classroom and the campus to fully engage the on-site experience
  • Supporting personal growth and development of students by challenging their intellectual, cultural, and personal values through travel and/or cultural immersion
  • Developing life skills through travel, such as independence and interdependence, financial management, navigating the unknown, establishing personal connections, and engaging in career explorations 

Faculty & Staff Publications

In Other Words
2020 essay by Susan Jaret McKinstry, Helen F. Lewis Professor of English, in Faculty as Global Learners: Off-Campus Study at Liberal Arts Colleges by Joan Gillespie, Lisa Jasinski, and Dana Gross.

Integrating Worlds: How Off-Campus Study Can Transform Undergraduate Education by Scott D. Carpenter, Helena Kaufman, and Malene Torp
2019 book by Scott Carpenter, Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of the Liberal Arts and Professor of French, Helena Kaufman, Director of Off-Campus Studies, and Malene Torp, Executive Director of DIS: Study Abroad in Scandinavia.

Public Health in Practice: Development of an Undergraduate Domestic Off-Campus Public Health Program
2016 article by Debby Walser-Kuntz, Herman and Gertrude Mosier Stark Professor of Biology and the Natural Sciences, and Cassandra Bryce Iroz, ’14.

Facilitating Study Abroad for Psychology Students
2016 article by Ken Abrams, Professor of Psychology, and Naomi Ziegler, Associate Director of Off-Campus Studies.

Internationalizing the Undergraduate Psychology Curriculum: Lessons Learned at Home and Abroad. 
2016 book edited by Dana Gross, Professor of Psychology at St. Olaf College, Ken Abrams, Professor of Psychology, and Carol Enns, Professor of Psychology at Cornell College.

Environmental History in the Field: Reflections on Teaching Wilderness at Grand Canyon National Park
2016 article by George Vrtis, Professor of Environmental Studies and History.

Interdisciplinary Teaching in the South Pacific
2015 essay by Fred Hagstrom, Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Art.

Nomadic Encounters: Turning Difference Toward Dialogue
2014 Article co-authored by Iveta Jusova, Director of Carleton Global Engagement Women’s and Gender Studies Program and WGSE program students Kelsey Henry and Joy Westerman. In The Subject of Rosi Braidotti: Concepts and PoliticsEds. Iris van der Tuin and Bolette Blaagaard. Bloomsbury Academic Press.

Interview with Chérif Keita
Chérif Keita talks to Peter Shea about growing up in Mali, his intellectual life in Minnesota and Africa, some surprising connections he has discovered between Northfield, Minnesota and South Africa, dating back to the 19th century, and about the work done by his father to further education in Mali. Interview contains many references to Off-Campus Studies for Carleton students.