Faculty & Study Abroad

The Role of Faculty in Study Abroad

Faculty hold a unique position with regards to study abroad programs. As someone who has the most direct interaction with students, faculty can largely influence whether or not students decide to study abroad. Many of our faculty are not only experts within their respective fields, but many are from different countries, have studied abroad, or may have participated in post-graduate studies, work, or research overseas.  

Faculty are not expected to provide in-depth advising with regards to study abroad programs; however, they further the conversation by encouraging their students to study abroad or participate in campus activities and events that help internationalize the campus. Faculty can also familiarize themselves with basic study abroad information, or just help direct students to the Office of International Education for further advising. To help your students start the study abroad research process, take a look at some of our general talking points in the Study Abroad Planning Guide for Students.

Faculty-Led Programs

Faculty also play a key role in Faculty-Led Programs since these programs tend to driven by faculty or student interest. Faculty-led programs provide a great opportunity for students who may desire a study abroad experience but may not be able to spend a lot of time overseas, might not be able to find comparable courses, or might not be able to find content-specific options overseas; i.e., STEM, Health, or Nursing fields. 

Most study abroad programs tend to focus on opportunities for undergraduate level students, so faculty-led programs can be a great option for graduate/post graduate courses that may benefit from an international experience or component. 

Faculty Led Programs do require advance planning and preparation. Faculty experience in a certain location is not a requirement; however, it is highly preferred since the program proposal will require faculty to tailor their specific course and content to the host city or host country. In the event that faculty do not have a lot of in-country experience, they are encouraged to work with the OIE office in helping identify on-site providers who can assist with finding relevant resources in the host city or host country.

Faculty should consult with their department, the Dean of their College, the Faculty Center for Excellence to see if there are additional grants/funding opportunities to complete a site visit or familiarization visit. Site or familiarization visits can help instructors get a feel for the locale and resources available and, also, ensure that the outcomes excursions or other planned classroom activities are relevant to the course's overall objectives.  

Faculty-Led Program Proposal Timeline: 

2 Years Prior to Program Start Date: Meet with Chair of your Department or Dean of your College to discuss your course, enrollment targets, and needs of the overall department or college. Also, consult with the Office of International Education to identify resources or partners within your desired location. Start looking at opportunities/funding for site or familiarization visits if you have not been to this site before.

1.5 Prior to Program Start Date: Complete and Submit Program proposal for approval. 

1 Year Prior to Program Start Date: Start Marketing and Recruitment for approved program. Application and student commitment deadlines will be taking place during this time. 

1 Semester Prior to Program Start Date: Confirmation of students, securing of program logistics, Collection of Program Fees, and Program Preparation. 

Post-Return from Program:

30-60 days after program completion: Complete Travel Expense Reports with respective departments and/or the Office of International Education for your specific program.

60-90 days after program completion: Complete Study Abroad Program Assessment Overview.


If faculty are interested in proposing a faculty led program, here are something they can do to get the process started.  

I. Meet with the Chair of their Department and/or Dean of their College to discuss their course content and  enrollment targets for your course. 

  • Understanding demand for classes; how many students are enrolled in the degree program; and how the course may affect future course offerings will help faculty and OIE predict whether or not enrollment targets can be met for the program.
  • OIE recommends that faculty target at least 12-15 students, per class/faculty to keep programs financially feasible for students.

II. Meet with the Office of International Education to discuss and identify partners in the areas/regions you would like the program to take place. 

  • Faculty can utilize pre-existing sites (Scotland, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain)
  • Faculty can explore different locations through Study Abroad Providers 


III. Work with on-site partners or provider programs to adapt course syllabus for international aspects.

  • Excursions can be used to enhance the student experience; however, should not constitute more than 30% of the overall program experience.
  • Excursions that do not necessarily relate to course objectives may best be kept as optional activities for students
  • Usually, excursions to locations nearby that can be completed in a day may be more cost-effective that including many overnight excursions. 


IV. Complete faculty led program proposal process & submit for approval


V. If program is approved, work with OIE to determine:

  • Appropriate application criteria
  • Marketing and recruitment timeline
  • Application deadlines
  • Program Fee payment deadlines


 VI. If program fills and is confirmed to run, OIE will work with on-site vendors to secure program arrangement. Faculty will need to complete the Foreign Travel Approval process and the Travel Request process with their department. 

 Additional Forms and Information

Faculty-Led Program Proposal Process Overview

Faculty Led Program Timeline

Faculty Led Program Cover Sheet

Faculty-Led Program Detailed Narrative (New Programs)

Faculty-Led Program Detailed Narrative (On-going Programs)

Justification Memo Sample

Budget Form (OIE will assist with the budget build for faculty led programs)

For any further questions, contact

Office of International Education
University Center 226
(361) 825-3346