Murray State students are no longer the only ones globe trotting.
Now, faculty have jumped on the study abroad bandwagon.
Six years ago only 10 Murray State faculty taught abroad. Now, 62 faculty members are taking the chance to bring students around the globe.
Melanie McCallon-Seib, director of Education Abroad, said faculty support for programs has grown over the last few years.
Some permanent study abroad programs already exist that send both students and professors around the world, such as the Regensburg exchange program. Murray State faculty are recruited to teach courses in Germany for this semester-long program.
McCallon-Seib said the reassurance of having Murray State faculty along for the experience is part of the appeal of this program to students.
If a program or course doesn’t already exist, professors have the opportunity to design one from the ground up. The study abroad office supports them with design and budget.
McCallon-Seib said faculty involvement has allowed students that didn’t have the opportunity before, to go abroad.
“Faculty play an important role in recruiting students,” McCallon-Seib said. “They know what they want to do with the course and they talk it up to students in their classes.”
New professors in some departments also have created more opportunities for students to go abroad.
Kathy Callahan, associate professor of Humanities and Fine Arts, used her study abroad experience from graduate school to help teach a class in London that she designed.
Callahan said teaching abroad gave her an opportunity to interact with students in a different way.
“Teaching abroad always gave me a more positive relationship with my students,” Callahan said. “They still come back to visit and we keep in touch even after the program ends.”
Students also recognize the difference faculty make in their experience.
Kyle Armstrong, junior from Nasvhille, was accepted into the Regensburg program for fall 2015.
Armstrong said having professors from Murray State teaching abroad will help him navigate a semester abroad.
“I think it’s going to be good because if I ever need any help I can go to them,” Armstrong said. “It’s comforting.”
Louis Dunn, sophomore from Nashville, TN, was also accepted in the Regensburg exchange.
“I think it’s good for faculty to be there. It’s nice to have that connection to something familiar,” Dunn said.
New programs are developed every semester thanks to faculty interest and support from the study abroad office.
McCallon-Seib said the study abroad office is working to make programs available for all majors, but it heavily depends on faculty interest.
“Faculty excitement trickles down to student excitement,” McCallon-Seib said. “It matters.”
Story by Lucy Easley, Staff writer