Faculty Resources May Experience Furman

Proposing a course

  • On-campus courses

      For a course not involving study away the process is similar to Fall and Spring semester courses:

      1. The faculty member consults with the department chair.
      2. The faculty member completes a course proposal using the online Course Proposal System.  The system directs the proposal to a department and, if the course involves concentration credit, to a concentration oversight committee for review.  The proposal will be reviewed by the May Experience Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and – if the course counts towards a concentration – the Academic Policies Committee.  If endorsed by the Curriculum Committee and the Academic Policies Committee, if appropriate, the course will be present to the faculty for approval.

  • Study away courses

      Faculty wanting to offer Study Away courses during the May Experience term need to complete two parallel but separate processes:  one for approval of the program, and a second for approval of the course.

      For Study Away Program Approval

      1. The faculty member discusses plans with the Director of the Rinker Center for Study Away and International Education.
      2. The faculty member submits a study away program proposal to the Rinker Center for Study Away and International Education and the faculty Study Away Committee.
      3. The Study Away Committee reviews the safety and feasibility of the study away program, but does not evaluate the course content, which is the responsibility of the Curriculum committee with advice from the May Experience Committee.  The Study Away Committee will present the program to the faculty for approval.

      Please note the following:

      • Like all Study Away programs at Furman, once a May Experience study away program has been approved, it will need to receive renewed approval from the Study Away Committee for each future iteration.
      • In any given year, final approval for a May Experience program will be determined by the administration, based on resource availability and any other relevant considerations, even if it has received prior approval from the Study Away Committee and the faculty.

      For Study Away Course Approval

      1. The faculty member submits a proposal through the online Course Proposal System.  As with on-campus May Experience courses, the proposal will be reviewed by a department, and if the course counts towards a concentration, by a concentration oversight committee, then by the May Experience Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and the Academic Policies Committee, if involving concentration credit.  Then, if endorsed by the Curriculum Committee and the Academic Policies Committee, if appropriate, the course will be presented to the faculty for approval.
      2. Once a course has been approved for a given year it can be offered again in future years without going through the application process unless there are significant changes to the content of the course.  (These changes can include changes to the trip itinerary that affect the content and methodology of the course.)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the May Experience?

      The May Experience is an optional three-week term that takes place following spring commencement that encourages innovative and intensive academic experiences. Successful completion of May Experience courses earns two credits. May Experience courses cannot meet General Education Requirements, be independent studies, be courses offered during the Fall and Spring terms, or be required for the major. They can, however, carry concentration credit or be an elective in a major.

  • Who oversees the May Experience?

      The faculty May Experience Committee oversees the May Experience term.  The responsibilities of this committee are to (1) hold forums or arrange for information sessions to assist faculty in planning courses, (2) work to promote the May Experience to students, (3) organize and fund events to take place during the May Experience term, (4) provide funding resources in support of May Experience courses, and (5) generally serve as an advocate for the May Experience.  This committee also reviews May Experience course proposals before they are considered by the Curriculum Committee.

  • Who can propose and teach May Experiene courses?

      Typically May Experience courses are taught by full-time faculty, including library faculty.  Other faculty who wish to offer May Experience courses should discuss the matter with their department chairs and the Dean of the Faculty. 

  • What does the MXP course prefix mean?

      All May Experience courses receive oversight from an academic department, usually the home department of the faculty-member teaching the course.  There are some courses, however, that don’t naturally relate to a specific academic discipline.  These courses can be offered under the “MXP” prefix, or if they are interdisciplinary then they may be offered under the “IDS” prefix.

  • How many courses can a faculty member teach during a May Experience term?


  • How are faculty who teach in the May Experience compensated?

      May Faculty, in consultation with department chairs and/or the Academic Dean, may choose to receive a stipend for teaching a two-credit May Experience course, or may choose to receive two credits of teaching load credit which can be applied toward a course release in a future academic year. No more than one full course release (4 credits) may be used in a single academic year and normally these will not be applied in a sabbatical year. Exceptions under extraordinary circumstances will be considered by the Academic Dean and the Department Chair.  In addition to compensation or load credit for teaching, faculty leading May-Experience Study Away courses receive an additional stipend in recognition for the administrative responsibilities involved in developing and running a Study Away program.

  • Can faculty team-teach a May Experience course?

      Yes.  Faculty wishing to team-teach a May Experience course should discuss this matter with the Dean of Faculty.  Typically, compensation for a two-person team-taught course will be divided among the faculty, though this should be discussed with the Dean if there are compelling reasons for two faculty members to be actively involved throughout the course.  Those wishing to team-teach a study away May Experience course should also meet with the Director of Study Away and International Education.

  • How will the May Experience impact the course load for faculty?

      Typically, faculty teach a full teaching load of courses during the Fall and Spring semesters.  Teaching in the May Experience is optional, in addition to normal teaching loads.  Faculty who elect to take load credit rather than a stipend and accumulate four credits from teaching May Experience courses may, after consultation with the department chair, take a course reduction during a subsequent Fall or Spring semester.

  • Can faculty offer May Experience courses that are longer or shorter than the three weeks of the May Experience term?

      No.  All academic work must take place within the three weeks of the May Experience term.  This policy applies to all courses including Study Away.

  • Can faculty offer May Experience courses that begin before commencement?

      No.  All May Experience courses should follow the calendar as laid out by Enrollment Services.

  • Can a May Experience course have prerequisites?

      Yes, but most should not in order to encourage a wide variety of students to participate in this innovative term.

  • How often do May Experience courses meet?

      Faculty determine the amount of meeting time that is appropriate for their courses.  Study-Away May Experience programs often immerse students in the content of coursework many hours a day for the entirety of the three-week term.  The meeting times for on-campus courses vary widely, but most courses meet for at least a few hours for every week-day of the term.  May Experience courses also typically have the expectation of considerable time commitment from students between class meetings.

  • Can faculty limit enrollment in Fall or Spring term courses to those students who will take a May Experience course?

      Yes. There is a strong record of success of Study Away courses that are paired with a two-credit Spring-semester course.  Students will earn two credits for the Spring course, even if they are unable to complete the May Experience Study Away program.

  • Can a May Experience course be linked with a summer study away program?

      Yes.  Students will earn two credits for the May Experience course, even if they are unable to complete the Summer study away program.

  • How many courses can a student take during a May Experience?


  • Can May Experience courses be taken pass/no-pass?

      Yes.  May Experience courses follow our current academic policies, including pass/no pass.

  • Can graduating seniors participate in the May Experience?

      Yes.  Students meeting degree requirements in the Spring may participate in the May Experience with no additional tuition charge.  They may be immediately re-admitted as post-baccalaureate students, or they may choose to delay their graduation to include the May Experience in their undergraduate program.

  • Do May Experience courses require any special academic policies?

      No.  These courses will follow existing academic policies.

  • Are there enrollment limits for May Experience courses?

      The Dean of Faculty and University Registrar will review courses with five or fewer students and consult with the department chair and instructor about the viability of the course.  Having five or fewer students does not automatically mean a course cannot be offered.

  • Will students be charged for May Experience courses?

      No additional tuition charges will apply for full-time students participating in the May Experience.  On-campus housing is available at a discounted rate.  Students participating in study away courses will pay a fee to cover costs associated with travel.

  • Is there any financial aid designated for the May Experience?

      Yes. There are partial need-based scholarships available to students participating in Study Away programs offered during the May Experience.  Currently there is no aid available toward the costs of housing for students enrolled in on-campus May Experience courses.

  • What criteria distinguish a study away May Experience program from other May Experience courses?

      A study away May Experience program is any program receiving Furman credit that requires off-campus housing, whether domestic or international.  This does not include accommodations associated with domestic field trips of short duration.

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