Faculty-Led Programs

  • Gannon students have the opportunity to participate in trips led by faculty members, some for course credit. Faculty-led trips vary from year to year; new trips are always in development and some past trips may be repeated in the future!

    2014-2015 Faculty-led Trips



    Faculty leaders: Dr. Greg Andraso, Dr. Mike Ganger
    The Tropical Marine Biology (BIOL 383) travel study field course occurs yearly and is a special Spring Break program offered by Gannon University in cooperation with the Gerace Research Centre of San Salvador in the Bahamas.  The course centers around daily field trips to various habitats on the island including shrub lands, mangroves, caves, tidal pools, coral reefs, turtle grass flats, and inland ponds.  In these habitats, students will learn to recognize indigenous species and their relationships to one another and the environment.  Major groups of biota including plants, algae, invertebrates, and vertebrates will be studied.  Tropical Marine Biology is offered for three academic credits and is open to students of all majors.


    Uppsala, Sweden

     Dr. Stephen Frezza, CIS396: Cross-Cultural Software Engineering

    This course focuses on experiential learning emphasizing software development with remote, multi-national teams using an open-ended group project approach. Students participating in this course will be co-developing software with two other remote teams, for a project that is primarily sourced in Uppsala, Sweden.  Students will help to identify the scope of the overall project, as well as the assignment and responsibility for a portion of that project.  Project responsibilities, software and team interfaces will all have to be defined and managed by the team members, facilitated by one or more faculty members from the participating institutions.  The heart of the experience is on project planning, scope management, and coordination amongst a culturally and linguistically diverse development team. Ultimately, the goal is to produce a prototype of a system for use by the stakeholder doctors in Sweden. Students are required to travel to Sweden to meet with the client and the development teams as part of the project launch.


    Yellowstone National Park


    This course will examine many aspects of Yellowstone National Park. Topics to be covered include grizzly bears, wolf reintroduction, impact of fires, geysers and past volcanic activity, geological history including earthquakes, and the herbivores of the park (bison, moose, antelope, and elk). One day will also be spent at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman reviewing their dinosaur exhibit and getting a behind-the-scenes tour. Professors David J. Gustafson and Steven J. Ropski will conduct the class.  The program will be joined by experts in each area who will spend time with the class. The tentative schedule includes Rick McIntyre, Yellowstone Park Ranger Naturalist (Wolf Reintroduction Program), and Maury Irvine, Resident Paleontologist, Museum of the Rockies. Limited space availability for non-credit travelers.



    Faculty leader: Dr. Lynne Oberle
    Fourth year occupational therapy students are given the opportunity to travel to Quito, Ecuador for a hands-on learning experience that will fulfill their requirement to work in a pediatric facility for one week during their spring semester. Students will provide OT services to children with physical and intellectual disabilities in an orphanage as well as in a home housing pediatric cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation. OT services will also be provided in an outpatient clinic, as well as to the poorest children in Quito attending preschool in the mountains. The facilities all focus on different aspects of occupational therapy and students will have the opportunity to work in each facility.


    Immokalee, Florida

    Faculty leader: Dr. Jimmy Menkhaus
    Catholic social teaching is an important, yet often overlooked, area of Church teaching.  With the election of Pope Francis, the social teachings of the Church have experienced a renewed interest.  However, the foundations of these teachings are clearly within the Biblical tradition and the early Church. The spring 2015 course will include 7 days in Immokalee, Florida as its service location.  Immokalee is a small town of migrant farm workers, where, as recently as 2008, cases of modern day slavery were still being prosecuted.  The injustices in this region, the low pay for the workers, the inhumane treatment by those who beat the workers and imprison them, and the implementation of immigration laws are all challenging issues to anyone visiting Immokalee.  Protests against the food industry, such as the Taco Bell boycott in 2001, and the on-going boycott against Wendy’s, challenge students to see how they contribute to worker’s rights and fair wages through their decisions, even while physically removed from Florida.  The conditions of the workers and history of their oppression create an ideal location for students to learn about the application of Catholic social teaching in the “real-world.”    




    Travel to Thailand, the Land of Smiles, with Dr. Kingston for three weeks in May to help students in the Catholic schools in Thailand learn to speak and understand English.  Gannon students develop and conduct an English camp in two schools, one in a small resort town on the beach called Hua Hin—the King’s summer home, and one in the vibrant capital city of Bangkok at St. Dominic’s school.  The Catholic schools provide our room, board, transportation, and site seeing.  There are so happy and appreciative of our work in their schools!   Site seeing includes such things as a Thai cooking lesson, visiting an elephant sanctuary where we feed, bath and ride the elephants, visiting temples, climbing waterfalls, and relaxing on the beach. Thailand is a very safe, beautiful, and interesting mix  of culture, religion, and food. This experience is open to all students from any major, and is a three week program in May after the end of the spring semester. For further information or to ask questions, feel free to contact Ms. Meagan McHugh at mchugh002@gannon.edu or (841) 871-5685.


    Paris, Provence, and Barcelona

    In May 2015, Dr. Douglas King of the English Dept. will lead a wondrous trip to Paris, Provence, and Barcelona. The tour begins in Paris, including all the wonders of the City of Lights—the Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, the Palace of Versailles, and much more. Take a TGV train to the Provence region, inspiration for centuries of artists, including Cezanne and Van Gogh. Walk across the stunning Roman bridge, the Pont du Gard. Cross into Spain and visit Carcassonne, before heading to beautiful Barcelona for two full days. Cap off the trip with an optional three day extension to Madrid. Students can receive Leadership Seminar credit for the trip. Contact Dr. King (king023@gannon.edu) for more information, or click here.   

    Family, friends, faculty, staff, and students: All are welcome.


    Past Programs

    Jordan: The Archaeological Expedition to Khirbat Iskandar and its Environs


    This trip took place between May 24 and June 29, 2013.  It was the ninth season of full-scale excavations at the site of Khirbat Iskandar, directed by Dr. Suzanne Richard of the Department of History and Archaeology.  A team of 35, including Gannon students and students from numerous universities across the country, excavated this Early Bronze Age (ca. 3500-2000 BCE) Canaanite site in the Plains of Moab--and had the adventure of their lives.  Students (some taking the field school for 3 credits) were able to hold the past in their hands (literally) as they trowelled through the various soil layers of the city, uncovering whole vessels, objects, and the debris of everyday life within the houses.  They learned to supervise, to excavate, to draw, to use the surveying equipment, all the while working very hard from 5Am – 12:30pm 6 days a week.  

    But, it was not all work.  The expedition is housed in a wonderful hotel (with swimming pool) in the small city of Madaba, about an hour south of the capital city of Amman.  Students got to know the city and its population very well, and freely explored this 5000-year old city, practiced their Arabic while ordering falafel, ice cream, and sometimes pizza, and had a blast.  Weekends were spent touring the major sites in the country like Jerash, Amman, the Desert Castles, Petra and Wadi Rum (of Lawrence of Arabia fame), and, of course, the Dead Sea, where they went for a “swim.”  At the end of the dig, this past year, our optional trip was a week-long tour of Turkey.  We will be returning in a couple of years – consider joining us!



    The ongoing Engineering and Biological Wonders of panama is a three credit course that includes weekly seminars and a travel trip over spring break in Panama. This course enables the student to explore the technical design of the world-famous Panama Canal and the diverse biological ecosystems found in Panama, including the rainforest and the waters and beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Participants stay in Panama City and travel on day trips to different locations within Panama. Faculty contact is Dr. Elisa Konieczko.