New Director and Funding Model Reshape Education Abroad Program
As the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) nears its 50th anniversary in 2012, the internationally respected program is poised for renewal and growth. Originally established in 1962 as a study abroad program serving students from all UC campuses at the University of Bordeaux in France, UCEAP has grown to encompass 300 programs in 36 countries, serving almost 5,000 UC students annually. For tens of thousands of students and faculty, EAP has been a life-changing cultural and academic experience. Over the past 50 years, over 50,000 UC students have participated in one of UCEAP’s programs; 550 UC faculty have served as EAP study center directors (SCDs), visiting professors, or program instructors; and 24,000 international students have completed non-degree study at UC campuses through UCEAP’s reciprocal exchange agreements. UCEAP has maintained its strong record on the safety and security of its programs. It maintains a Current Alerts page, which is informed by consultation with international experts and the State Department’s travel warnings.
Although its successes should be celebrated, UCEAP has recently weathered a period of streamlining and consolidation, which has impacted its business operations as well as its programs and modes of academic oversight. Over the past few years, UCEAP has been restructured from a centrally supported program to a self-supporting model financed by student fees, and a permanent Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director was hired. [Read an interview with UCEAP Executive Director Jean–Xavier Guinard here.] The Senate, through its University Committee on International Education (UCIE), has been involved throughout this period of reassessment. This article provides an overview of restructuring at UCEAP and describes new modes of academic oversight that are being proposed in light of the reduced role of Study Center Directors.
Fiscal Model and Administrative Restructuring
UCEAP’s realignment began in late 2005 in response to a $3.3M budget deficit. The budget troubles were caused by a combination of internal administrative weaknesses, an unanticipated freeze on new enrollments, a drop in the value of the dollar, an expensive study center structure, an outdated funding model, and a shift in the pattern of EAP participation from full-year to semester programs (see the Report of the University of California Joint Ad Hoc Committee on International Education). The crisis forced UCEAP to eliminate programs, reduce staff at its Santa Barbara headquarters by 30% (from 108 FTEs to 71 FTEs) and at its overseas study centers, and streamline its administrative processes. Between 2009-10 and 2011-12, at least 9 study centers and 22 programs were closed, including several well-known and long-established sites. Through these efforts, UCEAP will eliminate its deficit by the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year.
In 2007, UCEAP underwent an ad-hoc academic review, which concluded that EAP should occupy “a central position in a broad portfolio of student study opportunities that include campus and third-party programs.” The Senate opined on the Ad-Hoc Review Committee’s report, urging that “one of the University’s principal priorities be the maintenance of EAP’s high quality academic programming… [and that] all cuts should be done carefully to minimize impact on academic quality, and in consultation with the Academic Senate.” In response to a recommendation in the report, Provost Lawrence Pitts convened a joint Senate-Administrative EAP Task Force, which addressed a number of issues related to fees, governance, and the study centers. In July 2009, the Task Force recommended the establishment of a joint faculty/administrative Governing Committee to oversee the implementation of a transition plan and to act as a long-term advisory group on UCEAP administrative matters. The Task Force also recommended that UCEAP relocate from Goleta to a campus (now reformulated as developing an “administrative partnership”), and that it develop a budget process that would include the assessment of a UCEAP fee by the 2010-11 budget cycle. The Task Force also asked UCIE and UCEAP to better integrate the undergraduate curriculum into UCEAP’s programming. In its remarks on the Task Force’s Final Report, the Academic Council emphasized that the “Education Abroad Program is an academic program that should remain under faculty oversight.” In the new structure, UCIE not only remains distinct from the Governing Committee, thereby retaining its traditional authority over courses and curricula in EAP, but also advises the UCEAP Governing Committee on program development, study center management, and budgetary priorities. The Task Force also recommended adding a line item in the UCEAP budget to support faculty involvement in governance to ensure program quality.
The Ad-Hoc Review Committee’s report recommended that UCEAP should adopt a self-supporting model funded predominantly by student fees rather than state General Funds. By 2013-14 state appropriations to UCEAP will be reduced to $1.4M, down from over $20M in 2005-06. In 2008, a new funding model was designed to respond to these fiscal realities. In the new model: 1) The campuses will receive marginal cost of instruction (MCOI) and return-to-aid revenue generated by EAP students; 2) UCEAP will receive the Tuition and Registration fees (minus return-to-aid) generated by UCEAP students; 3) UCEAP will receive revenue generated by EAP program fees; and 4) UCEAP will continue to streamline administration. The model also will slowly build a reserve of at least $3M by 2013-14. Both the budget model and UCEAP’s 2011-12 budget of $25.1M were approved by the UCEAP Governing Committee at its November 2010 meeting.
Modes of Governance
UCEAP has long distinguished itself from other study abroad programs not only through the academic quality of its programs, but also through its system of faculty governance. Faculty participate in the governance of the program in multiple ways: through UCIE and divisional Senate committees on international education; through the UCEAP Governing Committee, which oversees the business operations of EAP and includes representatives from UCIE and the University Committee on Planning and Budget; and through the faculty SCDs. UCIE is delegated the authority to supervise all courses and curricula within EAP per Regents Standing Order 105.2. UCEAP reports to UCIE on program and policy developments at its quarterly meetings. UCIE also reviews UCEAP programs and study centers, as well as disestablishment of study centers and programs, and makes final recommendations to the Provost on SCD appointments. UCIE also vets all UCEAP academic policy issues. Because UCIE provides oversight of EAP courses, students are guaranteed UC credit toward graduation. UCEAP works with campus departments to translate, catalog, and review courses at international universities taken through EAP, and to transmit grades and course information to the campus registrars.
Faculty SCDs traditionally have provided another layer of academic oversight. SCDs are selected from UC Senate faculty to ensure that UC academic standards are met in the EAP programs. The SCD is the “instructor of record” responsible for signing off on grades earned through EAP. The SCDs also produce annual reports to UCEAP evaluating the programs. And they perform a host of other duties, including academic advising, counseling, and addressing health and safety concerns. In most cases, SCDs serve two-year terms, which allow them to develop professional relationships with colleagues at host universities, playing a diplomatic role between UC and its partner institutions.
The benefits of a UC faculty presence and direct academic oversight are significant, but this model is expensive, as compensation includes the faculty member’s nine-month salary, a summer supplement, a housing allowance, and reimbursement of travel expenses. Moreover, most institutions now provide more robust student services than they did when EAP’s study centers were established, making some study center functions redundant. UCEAP has reduced SCD positions from between 25 and 30 to ten, challenging UCEAP to reconstitute faculty oversight and governance of EAP programs in new ways. For many years, UCEAP has been replacing some faculty SCDs with liaison officers and/or resident directors who usually are faculty at the host institutions. With UCIE’s guidance, UCEAP is also experimenting with oversight by UC faculty based on UC campuses. Faculty Advisory Committees (FACs) with either a regional or a disciplinary focus are being charged with providing ongoing consultation on UCEAP academic programs. FACs will advise UCEAP on the quality of existing programs and program development, and will share information about UCEAP with campus colleagues and students in these countries or disciplines. To date, UCIE has approved three geographically-based FACs: The Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Turkey, and one curriculum-based FAC on Spanish Language and Culture. Another role for faculty will be the “faculty consultant” based in California, but with the flexibility to allow for overseas site visits. The faculty consultant will engage in recruitment and student advising on UC campuses and will promote the integration of the undergraduate curriculum into EAP programs .
Like all parts of the University, UCEAP has done its share of cost- and program-cutting while trying to preserve academic quality. Despite these difficult economic times, UCEAP is on a firm footing and has a sustainable growth trajectory (participants increased from 4,528 in 2009-10 to 4,872 in 2010-11). UCIE and other Senate bodies have also successfully preserved the academic status of EAP programs, and have committed to working with the administration to preserve EAP’s academic rigor. What is needed, however, is the commitment of faculty to participate in various kinds of faculty oversight. While there always will be faculty “champions” on the campuses who promote EAP and participate in its governance, Executive Director Guinard remarks that “Champions are not sufficient – we need the entire team.” Indeed, service to EAP is service to the University. To that end, UCIE will continue to explore new modes of faculty governance, promote academic integration, and find ways to responsibly grow EAP within the structure of the new budget model.