Tips for Prospective Faculty & Staff

Living and learning with students on Semester at Sea voyages is an exhilarating, exhausting, and challenging endeavor. It is unlike any living/learning experience that you’ve had, either on a traditional land campus or leading a study-abroad course. The experience has a number of distinctive elements that you should be aware of before you apply for a faculty or staff position with Semester at Sea.

Faculty-specific Tips

  • All courses taught are CSU courses, 80% of which are taken from our Frequently Offered Courses.
  • Successful applicants must have recent (the past three years) undergraduate teaching experience
  • Ideal applicants will have received teaching awards or been recognized for their outstanding work with undergraduate students
  • Some international experience is preferred, especially in the ports included on the itineraries

General Faculty & Staff Advice


A small personal campus

You will be living and teaching/working in a floating residential college with up to 600 students, 15-20 lifelong learners, as many as 100 faculty, staff and their family members in addition to up to 200 multi-national crew members. The ship’s community includes a generational mix of ages, from young children to octogenarians. On a 25,000-ton ship, space is at a premium, and you will find you are expected to be accessible to students and staff during day and evening hours. To some, life aboard the MV World Odyssey is an intense, “fish-bowl” experience.


Like a residential college

You will engage with students as though you were a faculty or staff member in a residential college. Many faculty and staff are surprised by the behavior of some students, particularly their propensity to stay up late studying, arise late in the day, and consumption of alcohol.



The voyage has a rhythm

The rhythm of the voyage dictates your life more than a typical academic semester. Classes meet on either “A” or “B” days almost every day that the ship is at sea, including Saturday and Sunday. The ports are filled with activities, ranging from required field class to optional field trips and/or independent travel. Long ocean crossings allow for extensive class work, while shorter distances between port stays can cause challenges to instructional tempo and work processes. Gearing instruction and work to this rhythm is imperative, as is understanding that students on Semester at Sea voyages are generally active and engaged learners. They are interested in seeing and doing as much as in traditional lectures and reading.


How to flourish

To find out if you will flourish on Semester at Sea, you must understand the lives and personal development of contemporary students in their environment. You are well aware of student behaviors in the classroom, but their behavior outside the classroom is often different. To learn more about the differences we strongly recommend that you:

  • Eat in a residential dining hall on your campus at various times of the day and week
  • Talk with campus student affairs staff about student behaviors and concerns
  • Read serious studies of the millennial generation

If you can do only one thing, do this: visit the student hangouts on your home campus on weekend evenings. Know that many students do not drink nor party too much, but some do, and you will encounter them on Semester at Sea just as you do on your home campus.