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Study Abroad

Call for Faculty Proposals for Study Abroad

Latin America 2017

As part of a College-wide initiative to encourage students to develop a broader and more global perspective, we would like to introduce students to the rich history and cultural diversity of Latin America.  Featuring a multidisciplinary approach, the Latin American Education Program strives to provide an intensive experience for students, encouraging them to better understand the diverse cultures and natural environments of Central America.  In addition, a key element that distinguishes the Latin American Education Program is its emphasis on Community and Service Learning.

The Latin America Program spends the first three weeks at SMC before traveling to Belize and Guatemala for an additional three weeks exploring the forests of Central America, ancient Maya ruins, living among one of the most ethnically and culturally diversified regions of the world, and working together with Mayan farmers and in ecological reserves. Your learning adventure will take you to the lush river valley of central Belize, the rainforests of Belize and Guatemala, and the second largest barrier reef in the world! You will also enjoy excursions to archeological sites such as Tikal, Xunantunich, and the amazing Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave!  In addition, a key element that distinguishes the Latin American Education Program is its emphasis on Community and Service Learning and you will have the opportunity to work closely with Mayan cacao farmers, a butterfly conservation project and the elderly community as part of our public outreach efforts.

Santa Monica College is seeking proposals from faculty to co-lead with Professor Alexandra Tower and teach in our study abroad program in Latin America: Belize and Guatemala for the Summer 2017 session.  One faculty member will be selected to co-lead the program.  The program will draw upon the faculties’ expertise and offer students a rewarding experience. 


Alexandra Tower will be co-leading the program.  Please find her bio and course offering for additional information:

Dr. Tower is recognized by students and faculty for outstanding teaching, including the UCLA “Distinguished Teaching” award while she was a graduate student. She has studied photosynthetic organisms in the marine and terrestrial environments, in both the temperate and tropical latitudes. Dr. Tower has distinguished herself through numerous publications, professional presentations and long-standing research. She has extensive experience as a tropical biologist. As a graduate student, she participated in a Rapid Assessment Survey in Papua New Guinea for Conservation International, and her three-year post-doctoral fellowship research was in the lowland rainforests of Central America, based at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Additionally, she is a certified Dive Master, with a Master’s Degree in the Ecology of coastal Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Dr. Tower has taught field courses on Coastal Ecology, Marine Ecology and Plant Ecology in remote field sites in California, Mexico, Central America and Papua New Guinea.  Throughout her career, she has mentored many students through their undergraduate, graduate and professional careers, including several SMC students since her arrival at SMC. 

Botany 1: General Botany  4 Units, IGETC Area 5B (Biological Sciences + Lab), Transfer: UC, CSU

Botany 1 is an introductory course for non-science-majors that examines the world of photosynthetic organisms from an evolutionary perspective. We will discuss the origin of photosynthesis, and how it has shaped the evolution of life on Earth, and how life has, in turn, shaped the evolution of photosynthetic organisms. We will use classroom time to establish a foundation in the subject, and then emphasize many aspects of Plant Biology by visiting pristine and secondary tropical forest, herb and botanic gardens, and coastal and marine habitats. We will examine how humans make use of tropical forests in the past, present and future. This unparalleled opportunity will provide first-hand experiences for understanding plants and their Ecology, with emphasis on tropical ecosystems.


In developing proposals, keep in mind the following guidelines:


Study Abroad Programs are an important part of the college’s efforts to encourage students to become global citizens.  These programs are also important for professional development, to encourage faculty to remain current with their disciplines, and to become more aware of different cultures throughout the world.  The programs are structured around these principles: 

  • Intensity of experience - Instead of going on a bus tour that skims the surface of many places, students gain a deep understanding of the environment, the people and, the culture of one area or region.
  • Affordability - To encourage broad participation, the costs will be kept as low as possible, and programs will attract scholarships and other financial aid. 
  • Safety - Programs will be structured to keep risk to an acceptable level.
  • A unifying theme – To provide students with a sense of the program’s purpose and over-arching questions

This program will offer academic credit and meet the course outline of record for each course included in the program.  The proposed course must be general education transferrable credit courses, IGETC preferred, with appeal to a broad spectrum of students.  Faculty is encouraged to select a course that is particularly suited to being offered in a foreign setting.   


Three weeks of the summer session academic program will take place at SMC, and three weeks will take place abroad.


 The deadline is Friday, December 2,  2016 by 12 noon

All applicants will be notified of their application status by December 2016.

*Itinerary subject to change