Advising on Education Abroad

JCU Cairns, Australia
SAIIE Seville, Spain
Windesheim UAS, Zwolle, Netherlands

Roles

Role of Education Abroad Student Applicant

It is primarily the responsibility of the student applicant to ensure that their International Study Course Approval Form (ISCAF) is completed. They can work with the Education Abroad Office to find the list of courses that will be available during their anticipated term abroad. But ultimately, it is up to them to locate the classes they plan to take abroad. Students are instructed by the Education Abroad Office that they need to work with their academic advisor to select the courses they take abroad and find the course equivalencies at UW-Platteville so that they are able to receive resident credit for their term abroad. When they meet with their academic advisor, they should have the following materials:

• International Study Course Approval Form (ISCAF)
• A list of courses offered at the institution abroad
• Any course information (course descriptions, syllabi, etc.) needed

Role of Education Abroad Office

The Education Abroad Office does not do any academic advising. Their responsibility is to assist students in finding programs that may work for them academically and locate the list of courses that will be offered by the international institution. They cannot assist students in determining course equivalencies at UW-Platteville nor advise students on which classes they should take. Essentially, the Education Abroad Office functions as a program catalogue, assisting students in finding the information necessary for academic approval.

The Education Abroad Office also informs students of all policies related to enrollment, financial aid, eligibility, application procedures, and other administrative matters.

Role of the Academic Advisor

The academic advisor plays a key role to the success of a student finding an education abroad program that works for them academically. Academic advisors should be assisting students in completing the following:

Selecting the courses their students should take at the international institution

Because the academic advisors know what their students’ graduation requirements are, they are the best person to advise students on what courses to take abroad. In order to receive financial aid for their study abroad experience, students must take courses that count towards their degree progression. If the advisor finds that there are not enough courses that the student could take at their desired international institution, that education abroad program will not work for the student academically. The advisor needs to communicate this to the student and redirect them to the Education Abroad Office to find a program that offers courses that could count for their degree requirements.

Determining the UW-Platteville course equivalencies of the international courses their students plan to take abroad

Determining the UW-Platteville course equivalencies for classes that would fall within the advisor’s department is also within the scope of the academic advisor’s role. The advisor should be looking at the course descriptions or syllabi (if available) when deciding what the course equivalence should be at UW-Platteville. The advisor can expect their student to provide them with that information when they meet. Advisors can also reference a list of classes that have been approved in the past. This list does not require that a specific international class always be approved to count as a specific equivalence at UW-Platteville, but is merely there as a guideline. If an advisor is unsure of how an international course that would likely fall within their academic department would transfer to UW-Platteville, they should connect with the chair of their academic department.
A student may need to take an elective or general education class that does not fall under the academic advisor’s department. If that is the case, the advisor should direct the student to the chair of the appropriate department to determine the correct course equivalency, as a single advisor cannot know the course equivalencies for every department on campus. The academic advisor still needs to provide their signature of approval for all courses the student opts to take, but they may wait to sign off on an elective or gen ed outside of their department until the student and appropriate department chair have established what the course equivalency would be.

Signing off on the International Study Course Approval Form (ISCAF)

Lastly, the academic advisor must help the student complete their ISCAF (see next section for example). The leftmost section is to be completed by the student; in this section, they list the classes they plan to take at the international institution. In the second section, the advisor and student work together to list the course equivalencies for each class the student listed on the left. Additionally, the advisor must list and sign their name on the front of the form, and initial every class their student plans to take on the second page. Signing off on each course signifies that the academic advisor approves that the student take that course AND guarantees that the international course will transfer to UW-Platteville as the corresponding course equivalency listed. It is important to understand that a signature cannot be taken back as the ISCAF is a binding document.

Role of the Department Chair

Department chairs should not be involved in the course approval process until the student has met with their academic advisor. Before students meet with a department chair, they should have met with their advisor to determine

1. what type of classes they can take at the international institution to fulfill their graduation requirements and
2. the course equivalencies for the courses in that specific advisor’s department.

The role of the chair is to provide final approval for the courses that would fall within their department. If the student’s field of study is in the chair’s department, the chair should only need to look over the course equivalencies the academic advisor approved for their department and sign off with their initials.

However, if the student’s field of study is outside of the chair’s department (the course will likely be counting as an elective or general education course), the chair will likely need to determine what the international course would count as at UW-Platteville. The chair should consult the course descriptions or syllabi (if available) when deciding what the course equivalency would be at UW-Platteville. The student will provide this information. Department chairs can also reference a list of classes that have been approved in the past. This list does not require that a specific international class always be approved to count as a specific equivalency at UW-Platteville, but serves merely as a guide. Once the appropriate course equivalencies for the chair’s department have been determined, the chair needs to sign off on all of them under the appropriate column on the student’s International Study Course Approval Form (ISCAF) (see example in next section). Signing off on each course guarantees that the international course will transfer to UW-Platteville as the corresponding course equivalency listed. It is important to understand that a signature cannot be taken back as the ISCAF is a binding document.

Role of the Assistant Dean in LAE

Dr. Kory Wein, Associate Dean of the College of LAE, is responsible for approving all general education courses. The student should have met with both their academic advisor and all appropriate department chairs prior to meeting with Dr. Wein. Students will likely need to meet with the department chair of the general education course to determine the correct course equivalency before meeting with Dr. Wein for his final approval. For example, Dr. Wein may not know the exact course equivalencies for all social science courses, so the student would need to meet with the Department Chair of the Social Sciences Department to figure out what the course will count as at UW-Platteville, and then meet with Dr. Wein for final approval on all general education courses.

How to Complete the International Study Course Approval Form (ISCAF)

Instructions

All students applying to study abroad must complete an International Study Course Approval Form (ISCAF) as a part of their application. Their application will not be considered complete until it is completely filled out. Detailed instructions on how to complete the form in its entirety can be found below.

Page 1

The front page of the ISCAF lists the basic instructions on how to complete the ISCAF. It explains who the student should communicate and in what order, contact information, an international credit conversion chart, and important financial aid policies. The student must fill out their portion at the top. All academic advisors, department chairs, and the Associate Dean of the College of LAE must also write and sign their names so that all personnel who look at the completed form know whose initials are on the back.

Page 2

Step 1: Student Completes the List of International Courses Section

The back page of the ISCAF looks like a large table. The first part of the form on the left-hand side is to be completed by the student (in ink). In this section, the student must list the international courses they plan to take abroad along with the appropriate international course number. The student should also list the amount of foreign credits each course is worth and the number of US credits that it is equivalent to. It is important to note that even if the number of credits the international course will transfer back as is greater than the number of credits the course equivalency is worth at UW-Platteville, the student should still list the correct conversion. For example, if the student is taking a class in Australia worth 10 Australian Units, the student should list 4 US credits as the appropriate conversion. The course equivalency for that Australian course may only be worth 3 US credits at UW-Platteville, but the student should still list 4 credits. The student will only receive 3 credits for that specific course, but will receive a total of 4 credits for that class. In other words, the extra credits simply apply to the number of overall credits a student earns and do not count towards any particular course.

Step 2: Academic Advisor & Department Chairs Complete Course Equivalency Section

The next portion of the ISCAF labeled “UW-Platteville Equivalency or Substitute” is to be completed by the academic advisor and/or appropriate department chair(s). The student should first meet with their academic advisor who should assist them in listing the exact UW-Platteville course equivalencies (UW-Platteville course number and course title) within their department. The advisor can use course descriptions or syllabi provided by the student. The academic advisor will also need to check what type of requirement each course is fulfilling (i.e. major, minor, general education, or elective). It is important that all courses the student plans to take abroad count towards the student’s graduation requirements, otherwise the student will not be eligible to receive financial aid.

If an advisor is unsure of how an international course that would likely fall within their academic department would transfer to UW-Platteville, they should connect with the chair of their department. A student may need to take an elective or general education class that does not fall under the academic advisor’s department. If that is the case, the student will need to meet with the chair of the appropriate department to determine the correct course equivalency. The academic advisor still needs to provide their signature of approval for all courses the students opts to take, but they may wait to sign off on an elective or gen ed outside of their department until the student and appropriate department chair have established what the course equivalency would be.

Step 3: Academic Advisor, Department Chairs, and Associate Dean of LAE Sign Off

The last section of the ISCAF is to be initialed by the student’s academic advisor, all appropriate department chairs, and the Associate Dean of the College of LAE (if necessary). Each party must sign off on the following types of classes:
• Academic Advisor – Must sign off on every class their student advisee plans to take at the international institution. Academic advisors should not approve any courses on ISCAF that will not count toward degree progression.
• Department Chair – Must sign off on all classes for which the course equivalencies fall within their academic department.
• Associate Dean of LAE – Must sign off on any classes that count as a general education requirement.

Signing off on each course signifies that the advisor and chair approve that the student take that course AND guarantees that the international course will transfer to UW-Platteville as the corresponding course equivalency listed. It is important to understand that a signature cannot be taken back as the ISCAF is a binding document.

Page 3

This page is the alternate classes page, in which alternate classes must be selected in the case that the classes originally selected are not offered or available. Then, there is the signature and date at the bottom that must be filled out upon completion of the ISCAF.

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