When planning an OSU faculty-led study abroad program, it is important to consider certain factors that will impact the success and sustainability of your program. These guidelines are intended to support students and faculty and the numerous campus units that are instrumental to a program’s success. The information below is a summary of the key requirements and policies that you need to know at the program planning stage.
A significant amount of time and effort goes into an OSU faculty-led program, especially the first year of implementation. As a result, we encourage faculty and their departments/ colleges to design a program that will have a ‘lifespan’ of at least 3-5 years and that involves 2-3 faculty program leaders who may rotate responsibilities over time. The fiscal management of faculty-led programs is the responsibility of the Sponsoring Department, and as a result, it is crucial that there is sufficient commitment toward the program in terms of resources, should the program costs exceed income generated. The business managers, academic advisors and marketing coordinators within one's College all playing an important role.
OSU GO recommends that all programs have two responsible leaders, with the Primary Leader being an OSU employee. The Secondary Leader can be OSU faculty, staff, or a graduate student with an OSU appointment. Individuals who are neither a program leader nor a student must be vetted as an Official OSU Volunteer and complete the Office of Risk Management Volunteer Service Form and a criminal background check with HR. Important considerations regarding accompanying dependents and/or visitors.
OSU Faculty-led Programs are self-sustaining and must generate enough revenue to cover the projected expenses of offering the program. If the program does not meet minimum enrollment as defined by the program budget, the program may be cancelled due to financial insolvency. The decision to cancel a program due to low enrollment will be made in consultation with the Office of Global Opportunities, the Program Leaders and the Sponsoring Department.
How It Works
OSU Faculty-led Program budgets are generally based on two income sources, that which is derived from tuition distribution (through Summer/InterSession) and a Participant Fee that is charged to each student. The Participant Fees are collected and transferred from Business Affairs to the departmental index associated with the program. All program payments, travel advances and reimbursements are the responsibility of the Sponsoring Unit. Any surplus or deficit incurred is managed by the sponsoring unit.
Appointments and Compensation
All OSU program leaders must have an active OSU appointment for the duration of the program. Faculty with a 9-month appointment who want to lead a summer or early fall program will need to work with their home department to ensure that they have an active appointment. Salaries, stipends, course load adjustments, etc. are to be negotiated between the program leader and their home department or the sponsoring department, if distinct. Currently, only the funds derived from Summer/InterSession tuition distribution may be used in part or whole to pay program leader(s) salaries or stipends. The Participant Fee may not include salary or stipends for program leaders.
Program Leader Travel Expenses
The travel costs of the program leader(s) are included in the overall program budget, and are borne/shared by the student participants, either through dividing costs by the minimum number of students expected to enroll or factored into the proposal if working with a program provider. Typical program leader travel expenses include:
Airfare - economy, round trip airfare from Portland to the program site for the approximate program dates
Housing - reasonable in-country accommodations for the duration of the program, comparable in comfort and quality to student housing. Program leadership housing should be relatively close to the student housing, or easily accessible by public transportation.
In-country Travel Expenses - in-country travel expenses and activities relating to the program (e.g. participation in organized program field trips and excursions) in the program budget.
Meals and Incidentals - calculate modest meals and incidentals estimates, not unlike the cost estimates established for students.
For example: Two co-leaders with travel expenses = $2,000 each will result in $400 being added to each students Participant Fee [based on ten (10) students].
Program Leaders are encouraged to work with an in-country program provider who can help manage logistics, assist in the event of an emergency and facilitate enhanced learning opportunities based on their local knowledge and networks. For Program Leaders who have an existing network of contacts and/or colleagues who are willing and able to assist with the planning and execution, a program provider may not be needed. Oregon State University's IE3 Global study abroad centers and network is also a valuable resource and can assist with building an itinerary and managing in-country logistics.
Payments and Billing
Programs that are contracting with a Program Provider will be able to pay for the majority of costs in one lump payment, thus simplifying the process. Other programs may plan to 'pay as they go' which will require a 'game plan' for how payments will be made while in country as acceptable methods of payment will vary. For most programs, a service contract or program agreement will be required prior to the sponsoring department sending any payments. In addition to the itinerary and deliverables and cost per participant, the contract will include terms and conditions such as the need for general commercial and foreign liability insurance, and a refund policy in the event of a cancellation. The OSU GO Faculty-led Team will liaise between the Procurement, Contracts and Materials Management (PCMM) in these instances.
Program Leaders will need to consult with their Business Center Manager several months prior to departure and familiarize themselves with OSU's policies and procedures regarding travel advances, travel reimbursement, use of procurement credit cards, and use of contingency funds, etc.
A well designed program will better attract a critical mass of students which will determine whether the program runs or not. Here are a few tips and advice that you may want to consider as you develop your program concept:
Time of Year: Programs that run between mid June and mid September are often more attractive for students and allow for greater flexibility as compared to programs running during winter and spring break.
Program Length: The majority of faculty-led programs tend to be 2-3 weeks in length; short-term programs are especially attractive to first time travelers and students with family or job commitments; however, scholarships for short-term programs tend to be limited. Note (new as of 2018): Programs that are at least 21 days in length can enable students to apply for and receive a national Gilman Scholarship, designed for underrepresented students and/or underrepresented destinations.
Credits: Students may be awarded one credit for each 10 academic contact hours they spend on the program. Academic contact hours can include visits to museums, tours, lectures from guests, etc. A basic rule of thumb is to think of contact hours as the time in which students are required to engage with the class. The intensity of these programs can mean that students are with group for upwards of 6 hours per day. In general, a two-week / 15 day program will consist of 3-4 credits and a 4-week / 30 day program will allow students to earn 6-9 credits; however, the actual allotment is determined and approved by the sponsoring academic unit. Keep in mind that programs with courses involving 3 or more credits have a greater likelihood of fulfilling a degree requirement than 1 or 2 credit courses.
Courses: Programs with courses that fulfill baccalaureate core requirements are especially attractive to a large and diverse applicant pool. In many instances, faculty-led programs involve courses that fall under "Special Topics" with a subject code followed by "299|399|499|599" as the designator. These courses do not need to go through the regular curriculum review process. It is possible to propose a dual level course for both undergraduate and graduate students, however evidence must be shown that the graduate students will complete a higher level of work while on the program to justify their registration in a higher level course.
Context: Consider ways to incorporate unique learning opportunities based on your location that go beyond just 'seeing and doing'.
For example: Site visits/ excursions; discussions/ de-briefs; students take turns preparing, introducing, thanking guest lecturer/host; field observations & reports; academic journaling (describe, interpret, evaluate/make meaning); intentional interactions with the host culture; interviews, photo/video documenting, oral presentations; unstructured time
There are many program types and approaches to designing a faculty-led program. Below are just a few examples:
Classroom-Based Programs: Programs based at a study center or university in one city with visits to surrounding areas
Field Study Programs: Programs in which students are exploring a theme via experiential activities outside of a classroom
Academic Study Tours: Comparative programs investigating a topic or theme that travel to several cities or countries
Service Learning Trips: Programs organized around intensive hands-on service projects that are coupled with focused reflection exercises
Bi-national Learning Communities: Programs that involve cohorts of students from the partner institution who spend time in both countries, often with a collaborative project.
Regardless of a program's primary academic focus, all study abroad programs offer students and faculty tremendous learning opportunities that, in addition to being intellectually stimulating, are entirely experiential (tapping the psychological, emotional, physiological and physical) and are often transformative in terms of self identities and worldviews.
University of Kentucky's Education Abroad Faculty Toolkit
Purdue University's Global Learning Faculty Development Program
Michigan State University's Global Integrate Learning Conceptual Model
AAC&U's Global Learning VALUE Rubric and Intercultural Learning VALUE Rubric
Forum on Education Abroad Curriculum Toolkit (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for login information)