Core for Faculty and Staff

Experience Abroad

Experience Abroad

Study abroad experiences will contribute to the satisfaction of the Core Language Requirement only if participating students can demonstrate 201-level competency in the relevant language, as determined by the Classics and Modern Languages department.

Prior to this resolution, the most recent statement of the Language Requirement read:


  • For students entering in Fall 2017 or later: 201-level proficiency
  • For students entering prior to Fall 2017: any two three-credit hour courses, or 202-level proficiency

There has been a continuing question of the role that study abroad experiences might play in the core. This was an issue that faculty discussed in deliberations that led up to the adoption of the new core in Spring 2014. It is clear that, in those discussions, faculty members often differed on the appropriate role for study abroad in the Core.

The document on which faculty voted in Spring 2014, choosing the new core reads:

0-9 - second language (201 Competency or 102+ abroad)
Students meet at least 201 competency standard, or complete 102 plus study abroad, as determined by Modern Languages and Classics department
SLOs: Introduces 5a
(Note: 97% incoming first year students test into 102 or higher; languages was the top selection from student survey as possible minor with reduced core size)

This statement makes it clear that the faculty voted to give Modern Languages authority to determine which study abroad experiences satisfy the language requirement.

In Spring 2016, Modern Languages agreed that students could satisfy the language requirement through their study abroad experience as long as students acquired the equivalent of 201-level competency, as determined by the assessment of Modern Languages.

According to what faculty voted in favor of, Classics and Modern Languages might determine, for example, that a student studying Spanish as part of Xavier's program in Nicaragua might be registered for a 102 level course, but through the span of the semester might move through several levels of language acquisition up to and perhaps beyond 201 (as is often the case with students fully immersed into a foreign country for an entire semester). Classics and Modern Languages, in other words, might determine that this student has satisfied the 201 requirement (even though they were only registered for 102).

At the same time, Classics and Modern Languages would likely determine that students who completed a short-term study abroad experience, where, for example, students may have learned a few foreign words or phrases, have not satisfied the 201 requirement.

In short, the standard in all cases would be 201, with Classics and Modern Languages faculty determining when a student can satisfy this requirement through a study of language while abroad.

Study Abroad and the Core

Even though this policy is the one that faculty voted to adopt in Spring 2014, the Core Curriculum Committee knows that many faculty would like to see other ways for study abroad experiences to be included in the Core Curriculum. However, introducing such a change would require an amendment to the Core.

CCC will consult with relevant parties on campus to see if there is a workable proposal for including study abroad within the core. Should such a proposal emerge, CCC will bring that proposal before a vote by the faculty.

In the interim, CCC solicits questions, suggestions, and opinions from faculty and departments on possible strategies for incorporating study abroad within the core. Please feel free to contact Annie Ray ( or Thomas Lebesmuehlbacher ( or any other member of the Core Curriculum Committee with such suggestions.

For current study abroad trips, trip leaders are encouraged to continue to contribute to the core by offering courses that satisfy existing core requirements, or by encouraging faculty to submit their courses for consideration of Core flags - including Diversity, E/RS, Writing, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Core Curriculum Committee

March 1, 2017

Prior Announcements relating to the Core and Experience Abroad:
  1. In Spring 2014 Faculty voted in favor of further study of January Terms (J-term).
  2. In Spring 2014 Faculty voted that the Core requirement for language would include "201 competency or 102 plus experience abroad," but this option has been postponed until Fall 2016 pending further research and recommendations. Prior to that time the Core Curriculum Committee will lead numerous conversations on how "experience abroad" might best be incorporated into the Core Curriculum.