December 10, 2020

Important updates about Furman’s Study Away Program

Dear Campus Community,

The Provost’s Office, the Center for Engaged Learning, and the Rinker Center for Study Away and International Education wanted to share updates about May Experience 2021 Study Away Programs and International Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Study Away Programs.

As you may recall, Furman’s Study Away Safety Compliance and Assessment of Risk Committee (SASCAR) continually monitors the global COVID-19 pandemic and meets regularly to assess risks and determine whether study away programs are feasible.

The SASCAR Committee has made the difficult decision to cancel all international and domestic Study Away MayX 2021 programs based on current travel advice from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Center for Disease Control.  

SASCAR considered modifications proposed by faculty directors to mitigate health risks for international and domestic May Experience study away programs. However, the timeline required to approve Furman faculty-led programs requires that we make these decisions based on the information we have currently. The majority of study away destinations continue to require a 14-day quarantine which is not conducive to a three-week May Experience program, and although the outlook for vaccines is promising, the timeline for dissemination of those vaccines is unclear.

We also want to inform you that, for the Fall 2021- Spring 2022 academic year, we will be suspending international faculty-led programs. However, in an effort to safely connect students with these critical experiences, we will offer affiliate study abroad programs through select providers which meet Furman’s health and safety criteria.  After much research on best practices, discussions with SASCAR and our peer institutions, we feel this is the best way to provide students with these experiences while keeping our faculty and students safe.

This is a temporary change aimed to ensure that we maximize the number of students who are able to study abroad next academic year. Opting to use affiliates provides a much longer timeline to consider the viability of programs. For example, whereas for faculty-led programs we would need to decide about Fall 2021 programs by the end of January, for affiliate programs those decisions can be delayed until well into the spring and summer.  We are hopeful that by that time the COVID-19 situation will improve and vaccines will be widely available to students and faculty.

We have many other upcoming engaged learning opportunities available to students.

Kind regards,

Ken Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost