Designing a study abroad program and location from scratch will take years of effort and millions of dollars.  Calamigos Ranch has been a place of education since in the 1947 and a location of relaxation for people around the globe.  

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Design your program on our campus! We provide the world class spaces and you provide the faculty.


George Kuh has shown Higher Education the retention and active learning value of High Impact Practices(HIPs).   Kuh recommends that students experience at least 2 HIPs in their college experience.  Here is an example of how a Semester by the Sea program can be designed to accelerate the 7 different HIPs for your students in their first year!

Let’s imagine that your strategic retention goals are targeting four areas of students: Commuters, First Generation, Undeclared, and Environmental Studies.

The first step would be to design learning communities for these groups, and next to find faculty champions teaching general education courses that are looking to take their students and instruction to next level.  The fall semester would bond your students to your campus rigor and traditions.  The reward for active involvement in their learning community is that these four groups would be rewarded with a cultural travel experience to Southern California in the spring semester.

The spring semester would modify to taking one course at a time.  The four faculty champions would teach a general education class on a rotation basis to all four learning communities.   Three of the four sessions would be taught on your campus, and the faculty travel with their learning community to teach the fourth class at Semester by the Sea.  Common reads and common intellectual experiences can easily be woven into this type of rotation and program. 

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Cornell College has been teaching one class at a time since 1978. They find that professors are able to give more personal attention and mentoring in this type of environment. Here is an example of how they run their spring schedule.

While at Semester by the Sea, the students can also pick up a physical education course taught by our staff in surfing, scuba diving, Zumba, swimming fitness, or a variety of outdoor education classes.  You can also design a cultural immersion course with service learning opportunities for students to complete while here in Southern California. 

Faculty can not often take an entire semester away with commitments on campus, with their families, and in their community; but arranging for three and a half weeks away is much more manageable.  We have wonderful private accommodations that accommodate a faculty’s entire family. 

Semester by the Sea’s CEO and Dean of Students, Brian Dawson, has been designing these programs for over 10 years with a proven track record of consistently increasing retention for these groups by over 15%. He will work with your faculty in the summer and fall to help design programs that fit their expertise and work well into our learning environment at Semester by the Sea.

Students in their first year could be involved in 7 different High Impact Practices including:

  • First Year Experiences

  • Learning Communities

  • Common Intellectual Experiences

  • Writing Intensive Courses (with strong reflection elements)

  • Collaborative Projects (including designing their excursions while away from campus)

  • Cultural and Diverse Learning Experiences

  • Service Learning

At this point you may be saying a program like this sounds to good to be true or the costs of Malibu would put it out of reach for only well-off students.  The great part is that this program can be custom scaled to accommodate anywhere from 1 to 16 learning communities in a year.  Students will pay the standard room and board costs for your campus and facilities and excursions are paid for by a shared tuition split.  Some groups can even use their learning community theme to pay for additional travel experiences.  One example used at Hardin-Simmons Univeristy by Dawson (CEO) is having environmental study students run campus recycling programs and profits they generate can pay for their travel and weekend excursions to National Parks.  Our staff has plenty of experience being creative in pilot programs and scaling the timing and budget process that your campus is comfortable with.  We are here to help you and your students all along the way.