FAQs About SIT Changes
Q: Is SIT closing?
No. The School for International Training, both SIT Graduate Institute and SIT Study Abroad, will continue to be based in Brattleboro, Vermont, and will continue to offer graduate degree programs at home and overseas and accredited undergraduate study abroad programs around the world. The Brattleboro campus will continue to host students in our low-residency graduate programs during their two- to three-week residencies. It will also host our CONTACT Summer Peacebuilding Program and several youth exchange programs.
Q: Are your master’s degree offerings changing?
Graduate programs will continue in our three present learning modes: face-to-face, online, and low-residency. We are transitioning from hosting our full-time programs on our Brattleboro campus to hosting them at established SIT sites abroad. Pending accreditation, our first global degree program, an MA in climate change, is expected to launch in fall 2018. Other global master’s degree programs are in development.
Q: Why has SIT chosen to explore this new educational model of global degrees?
These changes are designed to make SIT stronger and more relevant in today’s market. The new format comes at a time when students are seeking shorter, more cost-effective programs that equip them with real-world skills. By capitalizing on our expertise in international programming and by developing a global campus for our master’s degrees, we are able to offer innovative new programs that empower students in a changing job market. Students will have a meaningful opportunity to experience the world as their classroom and to develop the international perspectives and skills that are in high demand.
Q: Will SIT seek to retain its accreditation?
Yes. We are committed to maintaining our accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). SIT’s leadership and the Board of Trustees believe this is essential to the mission of SIT and World Learning. NEASC has been kept apprised of the changes we are currently undertaking.
Q: I want to recommend these global master’s programs to my students, friends, and/or colleagues. Where can I find more detailed information about these programs?
The first of these programs, our one-year MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability, is expected to launch in fall 2018 with semesters taught consecutively in Iceland and Tanzania—locations where climate change policy and innovation are prominent. During the third and final semester, students will conduct their practicums at any location in the world. Other master’s degrees in social justice fields are also in development. For more information about the MA in Climate Change, please contact our Admissions office at 800 336-1616 (toll free in the US) or 802 258-3510.
Q: How does this decision affect the operations of World Learning and its other entities, such as the Experiment and SIT Study Abroad?
These changes join the strengths of SIT’s graduate education with the strengths of its accredited undergraduate study abroad programming. The new global master’s degree programs will leverage our existing centers and infrastructure, developed through SIT Study Abroad, in more than 30 countries around the world. SIT Study Abroad will not be affected and will continue to offer its innovative study abroad programs. The Experiment in International Living and other World Learning entities will be largely unaffected.
Q: How can I help support the success of SIT’s new model for graduate education?
Stay up to date on our global degree programs by following us on Facebook or Twitter. Spread the word about our new programs among your contacts. You can also contact our Alumni Engagement office with suggestions and feedback, and make sure they have a current email address so that you can stay up to date on important information as it becomes available.
Q: How will these changes to SIT affect alumni? Do they impact the validity of our degrees?
Over its more than 50-year history, SIT has grown and adapted to the changing needs of students and a global job market. Throughout all these changes, SIT alumni have continued to be part of a supportive, global network of professionals, and the SIT name has continued to be respected and sought after by employers in many fields around the world. SIT alumni can continue to engage with a vibrant alumni community. Our focus will remain on supporting our students and alumni in their endeavors.
These changes do not affect the validity of your degree in any way. You have done the work and your degree was awarded by a fully accredited higher education institution. Any changes in the future do not affect the standing or again, the validity, of your degree.
Q: Were alumni consulted in the decision-making process?
Alumni should be assured that their voice was included in various ways throughout the process leading to the recent announcement. For some time, feedback has been collected via surveys administered by SIT and outside firms, interviews, and informal conversations. In 2015, a board task force, chaired by an SIT Graduate Institute alumna, was formed to focus on SIT’s future. During the course of their work, the task force met with faculty and staff (several of whom are alumni), students, and alumni. So, while there was not a blanket call for input regarding this specific decision at this time, the alumni voice was present and heard through the various phases that ultimately led to President Howlett’s announcement this week.
The board of trustees and SIT senior administration acknowledge the magnitude of this shift for many who know and love SIT. While we recognize that change is difficult, we also know that without it SIT would have continued to face an uncertain and unstable future. We feel confident that this move will secure SIT’s important place as a leader in global higher education for many years to come and that generations of alumni will continue to point to SIT with pride.
Q: What happens to students currently enrolled in our full-time face-to-face programs on the Brattleboro campus and Washington, DC, location?
All students will be completely supported and their programs will be delivered as planned until their scheduled completion. Special support will be provided for those needing to maintain their registration beyond that point.