Miami University’s Farmer School of Business (FSB) announced Wednesday, Dec. 22 that all of its winter study abroad programs would be moved to a hybrid online format.
“After considering recommendations from the CDC, the State Department, International SOS, and other agencies, and in consultation with others at the university, we have decided to cancel all travel for FSB Winter 2021-22 programs,” the email sent to students read.
The FSB Global Studies Office cited the omicron variant and increasing restrictions in host countries as the major concerns that drove the decision.
“We are concerned that if we go this winter, the experience will likely fall short of your expectations,” the email read.
In the email, students were given three options: hybrid delivery and travel in May, opting out of traveling and only taking the core business course over the winter term, or withdrawing completely.
By choosing the first option, students would receive credit for their core business course by completing it over the winter term. The travel component would give students an additional 3 credits through FSB’s BUS 420 course. However, the email does not indicate an reimbursement for this option, despite the new trip being two weeks instead of three.
In a Q&A session at 10 a.m. on Dec. 23, Bryan Ashenbaum, the associate dean of FSB curriculum, explained students would be getting a reimbursement if they choose this option because the program fees would just be used for more guest lectures, excursions and trip activities.
“A lot of lectures were built in to that trip that you’re not going to have to sit in class for because the core course you’re taking will be taken care of and done,” Ashenbaum said, “...and those two weeks will be devoted to the itinerary that mainly you were hoping to do.”
The second option offers a refund of program fees and tuition for BUS 420, as students would not be traveling. If students planned on using both of these courses to fulfill the six credit Global Perspectives requirement, they would have to make up the other three credits later.
The last option would allow students to get a full refund of program fees and tuition for both courses. Students using the study abroad program to fill the Global Perspectives requirement would need to make up the six credit hours elsewhere.
Students were asked to fill out a form indicating which option they would choose by 12 p.m. EST, Dec. 26.
The email went on to advise students who have already booked their flights to call the airlines about refunds or travel credit and to schedule an academic advising appointment with a FSB advisor.
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However, some graduating seniors planning on using the program to fill their Global Perspectives requirement are scrambling to figure out how they’ll graduate on time. Many classes have filled to the class capacity for the spring semester.
Ashenbraum said if students continue taking the business core class over the winter term, they will receive three of the six credits needed to satisfy the Global Perspectives requirement.
Ashenbaum said he plans on reaching out to the Provost’s office further to see if he’s able to convince them to grant graduating seniors an exception. He said he’s hoping for one of two options; allowing seniors to take BUS 420 online over the winter term or waiving three credits for the Global Perspective requirement for those graduating.
“They’ve already got an email saying ‘there are too many graduating seniors we cannot have this tripped up,’” Ashenbaum said. “...I’m not the person in charge of that decision, but I have no problem escalating it to a person who theoretically could or at least make it reasonably uncomfortable for the people that seem to be standing in the way of the decision.”
As of 10:40 a.m. he had not received either exception.