University of Oregon

GEO Field Schools - Call for Proposals


The Office of International Affairs will make 2-3 awards of $5,000 - $10,000 each to UO degree-granting academic units to seed the development of department-owned study abroad programs (aka GEO Field Schools).  We anticipate departments will expend these moneys in summer 2017, but are open to other timelines.  There are two key elements that define such a field school or department-owned study abroad program: 1) the program can be led by multiple faculty from a single academic unit; 2) the department would like to make the study abroad location a kind of case study which appears as widely as possible in the department’s courses.  Faculty from departments which receive GEO Field School awards will receive high priority in future rounds of GEO Faculty-led Program Development Grants.


Today’s undergraduates face job markets and careers that are more competitive than ever and more international than ever. With these changes in the structure of work come new pressures and potential for all programs (especially those in the humanities and social sciences), to stretch beyond their traditional focus on classroom learning. They can and must connect on-campus curricula more directly to practical skills and to international opportunities.

The UO’s study abroad office, Global Education Oregon (GEO), proposes a new model to forge these connections: “GEO Field Schools” attached to on-campus departments and programs. This simple concept has existed for a long time in a few disciplines—UO’s Archaeology field school dates to 1937, and our Historic Preservation program operates field schools in several international and domestic locations—but the model has a much broader promise today. While internship programs, practicum-style activities, and study-abroad opportunities have proliferated in recent years, all typically lack organic relationships to students’ on-campus majors. Such activities are presented and perceived as add-ons to a liberal education rather than an integrated part of it, and are typically led and administered either by individual professors or by study-abroad offices. The GEO Field School model, by contrast, offers practical and international experiences to undergraduates as an integral part of their on-campus degree programs.

GEO Field Schools will ideally become regular study abroad locations for students in a given major.  Major advising would highlight this location, from IntroDucktion through every step of a student’s progress towards a degree. The Field School locale would be featured across the curriculum, as a kind of case study within as many courses as possible.   Should Geography develop, say, an Iceland Field School, Iceland’s physical, environmental and socio-cultural characteristics would be featured as case studies in many Geography department courses. The Field School would thus constitute an integral element of the curriculum for that major, and credits earned abroad could then more easily count toward major requirements. The model will vary considerably from discipline to discipline, as faculty tailor it to their curriculum and off-campus possibilities, but in principle the core concept is applicable to literally every program UO offers.


We invite degree-granting academic units to apply for $5,000 to $10,000 seed grants, ideally to buy out faculty time and cover other expenses associated with the development of a GEO Field School and its integration into a unit’s curriculum.


Any UO degree-granting academic unit (department, program, school or college).

Proposals should be submitted by the department/program/unit head, with written approval from relevant Dean of Associate Dean. Proposals should address all the evaluation criteria listed below in maximum three pages of narrative.

Applications should also include a one-page summary budget outlining uses of award funds.

If units choose to submit supplemental materials, these will not count toward page length maximum.

For questions about application process and the GEO Field School program as a whole, please contact GEO Executive Director Thomas Bogenschild,

Review Process 

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of the Vice Provost for International Affairs (or designee), the Executive Director of Global Education Oregon, and 1-3 faculty who already serve as Senior Advisors in the Office of International Affairs.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Academic quality of the proposed student experience.
  2. Role of experiential learning in student experience (internships, service learning, original research, field experiences).
  3. Unit buy in – how many faculty committed to participating on any basis in the field school or its promotion?
  4. Field school leadership commitment – how many faculty willing to travel as part of field school (not necessarily in any given year)?
  5. Academic integration – how many courses will use field site as a case study?
  6. Credit – how many major-satisfying academic credits will be granted for the field school?
  7. Location –we will consider any location in which a safe, academically sound, sustainable program can be built to serve the needs of an academic unit.  Modest preference given to field schools that make use of GEO’s existing sites -- Accra, Ghana; Angers, France; Athens, Greece; Fes, Morocco; London, UK; Oviedo, Spain; Rosario, Argentina; Segovia, Spain; Shanghai, China; Siena, Italy; Vienna, Austria.
  8. Budget plan that makes most effective uses of award funds.  Preference given to proposals that include unit matching funds.
  9. Unit leadership – support from unit head and relevant Dean or Associate Dean


Proposals are due to the Office of International Affairs: Global Education Oregon by Friday, 2 December 2016. Please submit all materials by email to

Reviews will be completed and awards made by late January 2017.

Unless otherwise agreed upon between academic unit and OIA, field school development should occur beginning in summer 2017, for launch no later than summer 2018.

Supplementary Support 

GEO’s Faculty-led Program Development Grants provide resources to support the travel, on-site logistics, and time required to create new high-quality faculty-led study abroad programs. In future rounds of these awards, GEO will give high priority to faculty from departments which have received a GEO Field School Award.