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Global Faculty-Led Experiences (FLEX)

The Lewis Global Studies Center's FLEX programming initiative offers faculty opportunities to design and lead short-term global learning travel programs (1—3 weeks) to either enhance an existing course or as a newly credited course offered during winter, spring or summer breaks. This initiative replaces the former Global Engagement Seminars. The goal is to build a range of global experiential learning activities that can be readily adapted to departmental and faculty interests. Programs may be outside of the United States or have a global theme within the United States.

Current Offerings 2017–18

Interterm 2018

Brains, Behavior, and Evolution: An Integrative Field Course in Panama
Application Deadline: October 2, 2017
Program Date: January 2018

Through study of diverse animals in the setting of the tropical rainforest, students will deepen their appreciation of how brain and behavior adapt to diverse ecological niches. This course will involve travel to Panama and field studies based on native animals in a tropical rainforest. This will include intensive study for 10 days, as well as 5 meetings prior to the travel and 3 meetings following the trip. The travel agenda will include lectures from scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, bird identification hikes, field studies of leaf-cutter ants, field studies of hummingbirds, and self-designed research projects, as well as other site visits and excursions. 

St. Petersburg, Russia with the Higher School of Economics
Application Deadline: October 2, 2017
Program Date: January 2018

Visit the REEES website for more information. 

Spring 2018

Poland: Yiddishlands - JUD 362 Seminar in Jewish Studies
Application is through spring course registration, November 6–17, 2017
Program Date: Spring semester with March break travel component (2018)

Yiddishlands is a 2-credit spring break program scheduled for March 2018 will be led by Justin Cammy. This program is a study trip associated with the spring semester on-campus course JUD 362 Seminar in Jewish Studies. The trip will include travel to Warsaw,  Poland and Vilnius, Lithuania. Professor Cammy's description of the courses states that it will “…investigate the relationship between Eastern European Jewish history and post-Holocaust and post-Communist memory through the prism of Yiddishland, the dream of a transnational homeland defined by language and culture rather than borders”. The program will be associated with the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland and will visit important historical sites of Jewish life in the region.

Summer 2018

Ireland: Overcoming Divided Histories
Application Deadline: February 5, 2018
Program Date: May 20–June 1, 2018
Cost: $3,200

This program is a collaborative project with the Jandon Center, the Lewis Center, and a Spring 2018 course “Colonialism and Postcolonialism in Modern Irish Literature” taught by Smith faculty member Michael Thurston. Professor Thurston and Denys Candy, Director of the Jandon Center, will be the faculty leaders for the trip, to be conducted in May of 2018. The travel program will visit Dublin and Belfast; making connections between the literary history of the region, especially Dublin, and the peacemaking initiatives of various groups active in long history of the “troubles”:  the Belfast Interface Project, the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, groups of former political prisoners, and community organizations active in overcoming sectarian divisions still visible in the urban fabric of the region. 

The literary component of the program is described by Professor Thurston below: 
“From the “Revival” epitomized by W.B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, John Millington Synge, and James Joyce to the recent past dominated by such writers as Edna O’Brien, Eavan Boland, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, and Ciaran Carson, writers from across the island (which is to say, from both the Republic – formerly the Free State – and Northern Ireland, from communities both Catholic and Protestant, both Irish and Anglo-Irish, both nationalist/republican and unionist) have used their work to confirm, challenge, and complicate identities formed around geography, religion, politics, and orientation toward one or another historical event. What role has literature played in the crystallization of antagonisms? What role might it play in imagining community bonds across borders, boundaries, and walls?”

Application Instructions for Students

To apply for a Global FLEX program, submit your application online in Smith International Travel Experiences System (SITES). Once in SITES, go to Search Programs and use the keyword ‘FLEX’ to locate the current programs. 


Instructions for Faculty

  1. An initial site visit to plan the program and select local program providers, usually the year prior to the planned program. Faculty may be asked to seek additional support from CFCD or departmental funds.
  2. A one-time program development stipend of $1,000 is available for new programs.
  3. A faculty stipend of $2,000/week, for a maximum program length of three weeks, for planning, designing, leading and reporting on the travel program.
  4. Flight, accommodations and meals for the traveling faculty member.
  5. Partial coverage of student expenses based on financial need status. Students will be expected to pay for some portion of their program fees, and any related visa, immunization or other travel expenses.
  1. Priority funding is for programs intended to be offered up to three occasions. Funding beyond three trips will need to come from other sources. We discourage one-time-only programming.
  2. Faculty are required to participate in the annual faculty-led short-term program workshop and training offered each May. Additional pre-departure risk assessment meetings will also be required.
  3. In most cases, logistics will be supported by a local contractor or institution. A services contract and/or MOU will be prepared by the faculty member and local contractor in coordination with the Lewis Center.
  4. Programs are required to include professional student affairs support to assist with logistics and handle student health and safety issues during the program.
  5. Faculty will write a short report with documentation (such as photos and student assignments) for donor reports, to be submitted within 90 days of the end of the program.
  6. Students will complete evaluations and submit thank you letters to the donor(s) at the end of the program.

Course enhancement proposals will require Lewis Global Studies Center and Committee on Study Abroad (CSA) approval; proposals requesting a new course designation and credit will also need to be submitted to the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP). This process can take 6—10 weeks depending on when the initial proposal is received.

  1. Proposal is initially submitted to the Lewis Center directors for review and determination of viability.
  2. Based on initial review and requests for additional information, proposals are subsequently forwarded to CSA for study abroad approval.
  3. Proposals that request a new credited course (typically 2 credits), and supported by the Lewis Center and CSA, are submitted to CAP for final consideration and course approval.
Please direct any questions about the Global FLEX program or the process to Sara Lark.