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State of the Institute



Communications Coordinator
Jul 14, 2020


State of the Institute

President and CEO Dr. Scott Marshall (Faculty, Spring 2017) presents additional perspectives about the status of Semester at Sea, the importance of our mission, difficult decisions recently made by leadership, and our collective optimism about the future. 

On Wednesday, July 22, at noon Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), we will host a follow-up question and answer session with Scott on Facebook. To submit your questions, simply email by July 20, and plan to join us live next week here



  1. Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Colton
    July 14, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Excellent presentation. Much appreciation to Dr. Scott Marshall for this and to all ISE/SAS for your continuing great work. Lots of us all around the world are with you at this time and in future. Looking forward to the follow-up session next week and continuing. Keep up all the great work of ISE/Semester At Sea.

  2. Pendak Carrer
    July 14, 2020 at 11:15 am

    LAUDABLE and well-delivered presentation, at a time when alumni and prospective students wonder about the future of the Institute.
    REGRETTABLY devoting a lot of time on the past, such as the effective handling of the shortened Spring 2020 voyage, rather than on the details of the financial and operational challenges in 2021 and beyond.
    UNDERSTANDABLE approach because these details may not yet be clear.

  3. Brad Miller
    July 14, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Wonderful way to connect with the SAS world, past, present, and future. Also a delightful way to hear from the President and CEO in these uncertain times. Thank you SAS, for all you do for the world.

  4. Kristin Skarie
    July 14, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you Scott and to everyone in the SAS FAmily. Your presentation was informative and transparent – such difficult decisions handled with leadership, communication, and grace. I will always support SAS and sing the praises of this transformative and affirming life experience. With much gratitude – Kristin, SU14

  5. Krista Weih
    July 14, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Dear Scott,

    For all of us that are alumni and/or have served as staff for the Institute thank you for your leadership and transparency. I am keeping you, all the staff and crew in my thoughts and prayers during these very challenging times. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

  6. Laurielynn Jackson Barnett
    July 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Thank you for your clear presentation on what is going on… a long time alum & promoter of SAS and know everything will be OK…..Thank you for all the hard decisions you have had to make……

  7. Jaime Llambias-Wolff
    July 14, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you, Scott, for you amazing presentation. SAS is a full academic experience successfully connected to the international world. A program where exploration and education are intertwined; where interdisciplinary is the academic challenge of the future and life building opportunities, the mindset. Keep up all the great work of ISE.

  8. Hope LOONEY
    July 15, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Thank you for the dedication to the Institute! SAS must survive!

  9. Leopold Basthelm
    July 15, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Confidence and optimism are essential traits of the leader in times of adversity. The new CEO’s video talk admirably reflects those. But, both traits need to be checked by realism. In realty, the future for SAS appears less than glorious. Aside from the detrimental impact of Covid-19, I fear that the product of SAS is losing attractiveness. No longer is Spring 2021 a voyage around the globe, as SAS voyages used to be, but essentially a crossing of the Atlantic with a brief extension to two Pacific islands. And I see issues facing the Atlantic portion of the voyage. The Spring 2021 itinerary features a port in Brazil, a country that appears unsafe in view of the high number of Covid-19 infections and fatalities. The final port is located in the European Union, which is currently prohibiting entry by travelers from the USA. Might a postponement of SAS voyages to 2022 be considered, assuming that this would be financially feasible?

  10. Jane Leyva
    July 15, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Dear Dr. Marshall,
    Thank you so much for these informative, honest, and transparent words. As a student SAS alumna my heart weighs heavy for all of the FA ’20 voyagers knowing their study abroad plans have been altered or put on pause, while also knowing my life today would look and feel very different without SAS as part of my own journey. I am immensely proud of the outpour of leadership and empathy within the entire SAS community. The SAS spirit runs strong and rises even during these trying and testing times! ~Jane Leyva, SP ’13

  11. Christopher Seng
    July 16, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you ISE Team and Scott for this message. We appreciate all you are doing to push through this difficult period and at the same time look to the future. Keep up the great work.

  12. Crispin Batten
    July 18, 2020 at 5:46 am

    These are difficult times – for any business, for cruise lines in particular, and more especially for SAS/ISE. Difficult times have hit the Institute before in its 50+ year life, namely about five years ago when ownership of the ship had entailed unsustainable fixed cost and debt burden. Then, cost cutting was essential, and it is again now. Inevitably, this means the painful headcount reduction reported by the President. But, cost cutting is never a strategy. One cannot shrink an enterprise to greatness, or even survival. Revenue generation is key. Accomplishing such is problematic in an environment of acute uncertainty, drop in disposable incomes, plus several countries closing their ports to cruise ships while others requiring quarantines for returning travellers.
    I worry that all of this makes the “smooth sailing” of SAS/ISE harder than the troubles facing the Institute in prior years. I shall feel better once scheduled future voyages have materialised.

  13. Tracy Cohen (Peranteau) Roth
    July 18, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Dear Dr. Marshall,
    Thank you very much for creating this video. Your presentation clearly states the direction Semester At Sea is headed, with the current information and world situation. I really appreciate all of the time and effort ISE has put into creating the safest environment for our students and staff. While I am sad to hear of the staff downsizing, I hope our 73,000+ alumni can band together and help keep SAS moving forward and supporting “The World Is Our Campus” goal!
    All the best to you and to your family!

  14. Nancy Hartley
    July 19, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Thank you for an informative transparent presentation. SAS is a transformative experience for students, faculty and staff. We alumni support and appreciate the experiential education provided.

  15. Rick Abrams
    July 21, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    The virus has had a significant impact on SAS and numerous other organizations. I noticed in the past few years — prior to the pandemic — that SAS had eliminated many of the port visits [and some of the port visits did not permit students to disembark unless they had purchased a tour], significantly shortened the voyage, and increased the price. I wonder if this is the best model for continued success? Inflation during that time has been extremely low. It seems to me that when you eliminate many of the port visits, you are reducing the quality of the SAS program.

  16. Stepanka Korytova Magstadt
    July 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Scott! I am optimistic about the future of SAS. There will be ways to make learning and traveling on seas safe again.

    August 6, 2020 at 8:49 am

    @ Rick Abrams: I agree. SAS seems overpriced, in particular since the itinerary is no longer a voyage around the globe. Besides, with the scheduled points of departure and arrival it now imposes two overseas journeys on students.

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