Semester at Sea academic award named for Loren Crabtree

Loren Crabtree with Semester at Sea logo

Loren W. Crabtree announcing the academic partnership between Colorado State University and Semester at Sea, August 2015.

Colorado State University and Semester at Sea are honoring the distinguished career and longstanding contributions to international education of Loren W. Crabtree with a named faculty award to promote study abroad.

Loren W. Crabtree Global Teaching Scholar awards are available to four Colorado State University faculty members on each semester-long voyage. CSU became the academic partner of SAS in 2016, and in his role as president and CEO of the parent organization Institute for Shipboard Education, Crabtree was instrumental in facilitating that partnership. Under the agreement, CSU provides academic, administrative, and student recruiting support for the shipboard program, now headquartered in Fort Collins.

Crabtree retired from Semester at Sea in 2017, but his commitment to engaged learning and teaching to create greater global understanding continues to shape both institutions.

“Loren’s dedication to internationalism is deeply held and is a core value that he has helped to instill both at Semester at Sea and at Colorado State University,” said CSU President Tony Frank in announcing the partnership. “We have a great deal to build on; Loren’s work has made that possible, and we are in his debt.”

Long career, wide influence

Crabtree began his career as an assistant professor at CSU in 1967, specializing in 20th century Chinese history with particular attention to Sino-American relations. He went on to a distinguished 34-year teaching career at CSU that also included service as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He also served as chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he retired in 2008.

“As a faculty member, dean, and provost, Loren was a committed advocate for teaching and learning that involved us in efforts to better understand others, our world, and our potential to make a positive impact,” said Kelly Long, vice provost for undergraduate affairs, who worked closely with Crabtree during his career at CSU. “His desire to help students and others better understand the world and cultures in it and his boundless investment of energy to foster opportunities that expanded the horizons of learners, has had a truly profound impact on such a wide swath of our CSU community, the city, and areas far beyond.”

Several of Crabtree’s longstanding friends and colleagues explored and promoted the idea of honoring his legacy, and the named Global Scholars award was the result.

Sail away

Faculty from CSU sail on each Semester at Sea voyage, and voyages are staffed through 2019. The Fall 2018 voyage that embarks on Sept. 9 from Hamburg, Germany, and returns to San Diego on Dec. 23 by way of South Africa, India, China, Japan and Hawaii, includes a total of 28 faculty.

CSU is represented by Eli Alberts from History; Andrew Altshul, English; Brian Butki, Health and Exercise Science; Ashby Butnor and Matt MacKenzie, Philosophy and Religious Studies; Mohammed Hirchi, Languages, Literatures and Cultures; and Yolanda Sarason, Management.

In addition, Mary Vogl, chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, is serving as academic dean; Melissa Emerson, director of the Student Resolution Center, is assistant dean of student life; and Lauren Wolff, global business network advisor in the College of Business, is academic advisor/registrar. Shelley Haddock from Human Development and Family Studies is sailing as a counselor, and Karen Rattenborg, executive director of the Early Childhood Center, is Global Studies Instructor Coordinator.

Learn more at Semester at Sea.

Crabtree’s affiliation with Semester at Sea began with his teaching on the S.S. Universe in Fall 1980, and continued with three stints as executive dean. He served as senior fellow and chief executive for global education in 2008-09, and was named president and CEO in 2015.

In each of these roles Crabtree encouraged students and faculty alike to prepare for the world through study of other cultures and traditions and through study abroad experiences such as Semester at Sea.

Share with campus

“The intent of Semester at Sea is not just to bring the classroom to the world on a voyage, but when faculty return, they bring the world to the classroom,” explained Bob Kling, senior academic officer for Semester at Sea and associate professor of economics at CSU. “They bring new ideas for engaged teaching and learning back to campus – which fits Loren’s vision of international education perfectly.”

In fact, recipients of the Crabtree awards are required to give at least one campus presentation on innovative teaching strategies for globalizing CSU courses when they return, and share their experiences with other faculty as well as students. The awards will go to four faculty on each Semester at Sea voyage.

“We have had Global Teaching Scholars on each voyage since the partnership began – 16 have sailed to date – but we thought naming the award would be a way to honor Loren’s contributions to the program, and to CSU,” Kling said.

The award is unique to CSU; it provides full pay and benefits to the faculty member plus compensation to the home department for covering courses while the faculty member is away; the absence doesn’t count as leave or a sabbatical.

While on board, the Crabtree Scholars teach three undergraduate courses that include an all-day field experience in a port of call, present at least one evening seminar and a field experience open to all members of the shipboard community, and serve as a mentor and advisor to students and groups.

Faculty interested in applying for the Loren W. Crabtree Global Teaching Scholar award should look for details emailed from the Provost’s Office, or contact Kling at

The application deadline is Oct. 5 for a voyage in either Spring or Fall 2020; applications will open next fall for future voyages.