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For some faculty, creating short-term faculty led programs can be daunting. Even if the faculty member is very familiar with the country, transporting a group of students there and being responsible for their well-being and education can be intimidating. In order to help faculty through this process, we’ve created a step-by-step process to help develop short-term study abroad programs and lead them successfully. We’ve also provided policies, procedures, and best practices to help your program go smoothly.
Step 1: Develop the curriculum
Step 2: Develop the Program Itinerary and Budget
Step 3: Submit the program information to the Office of Education Abroad
Step 4: Begin marketing the course
Step 5: List the course in SIS and register students
Step 6: Attend a faculty pre-departure orientation
Step 7: Depart on your program
1. Developing the Curriculum
The goal of global education is to help participants engage in their learning within the context of the culture they will be in while abroad. Programs should be developed to enhance on-campus curricular offerings, not to duplicate them. Programs should have the same rigor and viability as on-campus courses and offer content that is appealing and interesting enough to students to get them to consider participating in it. Courses should be created with specific goals and objectives that can only be met in the other country.
We do not recommend that you choose a program location to a place you are not familiar with yourself. Students will expect you to have a high level of expertise and integrity of the places you visit. Being familiar with your destination’s terrain and customs is essential in keeping your group organized and affords you the ability to offer a quality academic experience. The exception to this is when you are partnering with a local institution which will provide the expertise in the culture that the students expect.
After the program is created, it will need to be submitted to your department’s or school’s curriculum committee for approval. Since each department has a different method of approving courses, you will need to get approval procedures from your department head. We cannot advertise a course until it has been approved by the school.
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2. Developing the Program Itinerary and Budget
Once the course itself is approved, it is time to decide when to offer the course, what the itinerary will be, and what the budget will look like. Common times to offer a Short-term faculty led course are summer, winter break, or spring break. The advantage to winter break and spring break courses is that the student tuition is folded into the normal semester tuition. The advantage to summer courses is that tuition is half price and faculty-led courses can be longer than 10-14 days.
Program activities should relate to your discipline as well as to the program’s course content. Purely “fun” activities that have no connection to program and course content should be kept to a minimum. In the same spirit, participants should not spend excessive time on buses, planes and trains with the majority of their experience used up trying to get to “the next place.” Also, an abundance of in-country travel can increase program expenses.
Venture beyond the touristy activities to give your students the ability to absorb their new surroundings and relate them to what they are studying. The more you can help your students buy in to the fact that your program is not a “tour,” “vacation,” or “trip,” the better it will be for you in terms of how they may be inclined to behave.
Faculty often partner with someone in the host country to help plan and later organize activities. If you know of someone in-country who would be willing to help, use their expertise.
Once the itinerary is set, it is time to develop a budget. We’ve attached a basic budget worksheet for you to use. Determine what your minimum number of student participants is before starting the worksheet. You should budget as if only the minimum number of students are participating. If more than that number decide to participate, you have some options of adding activities, providing an additional meal, or keeping the extra money for a seed fund for your next education abroad program.
One thing to remember is that faculty are responsible for organizing activities, accommodations, and any other required part of the program. This can take up a considerable amount of time, often without direct compensation. While organizing everything yourself is definitely the most economical one for the students, it is not always the most practical option for the faculty member.
One option is to outsource the logistical planning. We’ve provided a list of partners who can help with the logistics of organizing a program. Please note that each of the partners will charge a fee which should be worked into the budget.
The following list are partners with Case Western Reserve University. Each type offers a different level of service and logistical planning. For more assistance in choosing a partner to support your planning, please contact our office.
University Partners — one option is to partner with another department or university that is planning a similar or complimentary program to the same location. You can share logistical responsibilities, student numbers (which can help lower costs), and in-country resources.
Travel Agents — often charge a per student fee. Not always experienced in planning for students, but can arrange flights and hotel stays.
Study Abroad Program Providers — charge a program fee for all services excluding tuition. This is a comprehensive solution to logistics. Providers have resources in country who can arrange all lodging, meals, attractions, and excursions. Support is provided in-country, and the faculty just has to think about curriculum. The negative about providers is that it raises the costs for the students.
If you would like to explore any of these options directly, contact our office and we will provide you with more information.
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3. Submit the program information to the Office of Education Abroad
Once you have developed your course and had your course approved through the proper university channels, it is time to submit the course to the Office of Education Abroad so that we can upload the information into the Study Abroad application system and begin assisting you with marketing the course. Simply fill out the form located here, and email it to the Office of Education Abroad at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you to confirm receipt of the form. From this point on, we’ll be working with you closely to make your course successful.
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4. Market the Course
Marketing your study abroad course is often intimidating and frustrating, but it is the single most important aspect in getting enough students to register for your program. While we will market all of the study abroad programs, only you can effectively push your course independent of other programs. The following are some marketing ideas to help you get started.
Our office does request that the following statement be on all of your marketing materials to help students learn that our office can be a first step in choosing a program.
For information about all study abroad programs offered through and approved by Case Western Reserve University, contact the Office of Education Abroad at email@example.com or 216-368-2517 or visit the Office of Education Abroad website at www.case.edu/edabroad.
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5. List the course in SIS and register students
Once your application has been created in the study abroad system, you will need to submit your course to be listed in the appropriate semester in SIS. Study abroad courses are sent to the Registrar’s Office in the same way that all other courses are submitted. The only difference is that you want to make sure that students have your permission before they register for the course. Therefore, you want the registration blocked for all students unless they get permission from you. Once the student has completed the application and has been accepted to the program, you will be able to give them permission to register.
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6. Attend a faculty pre-departure orientation
Before each term of faculty-led programs, the Office of Education Abroad will have a series of Pre-Departure Orientations for students and faculty. Every faculty member who is planning on taking a group of students abroad should plan on attending a faculty pre-departure orientation to learn about university policies and procedures and to share tips and ideas with other faculty going abroad.