UMAIE (pronounced “you may”) is the Upper Midwest Association for Intercultural Education, a consortium of six colleges and universities offering intercultural courses during the January Interim. UMAIE was founded in the fall of 1963 when several colleges adopted the 4-1-4 academic calendar. The UMAIE pioneers recognized that they could expand the international curricula, control costs, and increase participation in study abroad if several campuses cooperated in offering courses overseas. This vision has enabled hundreds of students to study abroad every January since 1964.

How are students recruited?

Recruitment is a responsibility shared by instructors, UMAIE campus representatives, and Seminars International.

Beginning in the spring, Seminars International provides all member campuses with summary course descriptions and posters highlighting the UMAIE offerings for the coming January term. They also supply individual course descriptions for distribution by UMAIE representatives and faculty members. Course descriptions are also available through the Seminars International website www.semint.com.

Instructors are expected to promote their own courses, both in their classes and through campus organizations and activities.

Who leads UMAIE courses?

UMAIE courses are led by faculty from all of the consortium’s member schools. Courses may be led by a single faculty member or two faculty members from the same or different institutions. The UMAIE Board of Directors encourages faculty members to work together on courses whenever possible, and is frequently able to facilitate linkages between instructors from different campuses.

UMAIE seeks faculty members who have an ability to exercise patience and strong guidance with a group of students in an experiential educational setting. Often the students come from several different campuses, and sometimes they are experiencing overseas travel for the first time. Several hundred faculty members from eleven midwest campuses have led UMAIE courses to destinations throughout the world.

Why lead a UMAIE course?

Apart from the challenges of teaching overseas during the January Interim (with expenses paid while doing so), faculty members who lead UMAIE courses have an opportunity to enhance their professional development in several ways.

They will gain knowledge in the international dimension of their fields, establish new overseas contacts in their disciplines, improve foreign language skills, uncover new research resources, and gain a fresh perspective on working with students.
They have a chance to work with young people from other schools who may have different learning styles and academic perspectives, and instructors are able to try new ways of approaching a subject that may be incorporated into courses back on the home campus. Because travel arrangements — transportation, accommodations, and budgets — are managed by travel professionals, faculty members can focus on the academic aspects of their courses.

How are courses selected?

Course ideas are usually discussed first with a faculty member’s representative to the UMAIE Board of Directors. If the idea is promising, the faculty member is invited to submit a full proposal. Each proposed course is first submitted to their home campus curriculum committee. Once the home campus curriculum committee approves the course , the proposal is then submitted to the UMAIE board. The UMAIE board evaluates proposals by the following criteria. A five-point scale (5=excellent, 1=poor) is used as the evaluation tool for the first four categories. A three-point scale (3=excellent, 1=poor) is used for the last two categories.

  • Objectives. Objectives are academically sound, clear, and attainable within the constraints of available time and resources. The proposal clearly demonstrates that the course will meet its stated objectives.
  • Instructor. Instructor is experienced and knowledgeable in the field of study and in the proposed location.
  • Academic Content. Course academic quality is equivalent to an on-campus course.
  • Academic Requirements. Requirements are appropriate and adequate for the course.
  • Organization. Travel and study plans are organized and feasible.
  • Student Interest. Students would be interested in taking this course.

What are an instructor’s responsibilities?

Once a course is selected, Seminars International, an experienced company hired to manage travel arrangements, works with faculty members to finalize course details, including the itinerary, travel logistics, and course promotion.

Faculty members are responsible for the academic content of the course, including the selection of lectures, site visits, and interviews, if any. They must help to promote the courses and participate in the UMAIE orientation for students in November.
Registration, payments, and other administrative responsibilities are handled by the UMAIE campus representatives and Seminars International. Seminars International also manages all travel arrangements, including visa procurement, orientation, flight deviations, guided city tours, and tickets for cultural events that may be planned in conjunction with the course.

Instructors are required to accompany their group from the course’s point of origin in the United States and remain with it for the duration of the course. They must submit grade reports within one week of the group’s return, and financial and narrative reports within two weeks.

Are any development funds available?

Grants are available for faculty who wish to teach a UMAIE course at a future date but who have no previous experience in a particular country or world region. See your campus representative for guidelines and deadlines for these grants.

What schools participate in UMAIE?

Augustana University, Erin Kane, 605-274-5050
Elmhurst College, Gail Gilbert, 630-617-6130
St. Ambrose University, Center for International Education, 563-333-6389
St. Catherine University, Office of Global Studies, 651-690-6472
University of St. Thomas, Office of Study Abroad, 651-962-6450

For more information…

Please contact the UMAIE campus representative or board member at your school. You may also obtain information from Seminars International.

Minnesota Office:
Seminars International
21530 Vernon Avenue
Prior Lake, MN 55372
312-561-5173 ext.26
E-mail: kathy@semint.com

Seminars International
55 E. Monroe Street – Suite 2870
Chicago, IL 60603-5713
P: 312.561.8183 / 800.541.7506
Fax: (312) 332-5509
E-mail: travel@semint.com