Starting a New Program

Creating study abroad programs provides UI faculty with opportunities to highlight and share their international expertise with undergraduate and graduate students.  Such programs often grow out of a research interest, a collaborative arrangement with faculty or institutions abroad, or a desire by faculty to strike out for new intellectual territory.

Most faculty-led study abroad programs are short-term, occurring during the summer or winter breaks.  Short-term study tours may also be conducted during those periods, or during Thanksgiving or spring breaks.  Time abroad might range from a week to several months, and academic credit will vary depending on the curriculum and the amount of time overseas.

Developing a new program is a collaborative effort between faculty members and Study Abroad.  Faculty members with ideas for new programs should meet with the assistant provost of International Programs. If the proposed program seems feasible, a preliminary proposal is completed for review by the Study Abroad advisory committee. If approved, the assistant provost will appoint a professional staff member from Study Abroad to act as the program coordinator, working with the faculty director to promote the program, and to make logistical arrangements abroad.  Planning a new program usually begins 24 months prior to its first offering.

The success of a new study abroad program depends on many factors.  Some of these include:

  • Course content that is relevant and interesting to a broad range of students
  • Courses that fulfill specific UI degree requirements, e.g., a General Education Requirement, or a major, minor, or certificate program requirement
  • Situating the course in a location that reinforces the curricular content and makes the site a learning laboratory
  • An energetic, motivated faculty director who can successfully promote the program to students

The Study Abroad office operates study abroad programs on a cost-recovery basis.  Every effort is made to keep a program affordable for the broadest possible range of UI students.  In general, for a new study abroad program to break even, approximately 15 participants are required.  Faculty can expect to have their airfare and housing provided by the course fee.  Salary is usually collected from the students as part of the course fee they are assessed, although it is occasionally provided by the provost's office.

Study Abroad staff who coordinate study abroad programs routinely offer the following assistance: creation and processing of applications, oversight and finalization of the program budget, student billing, disbursal of program funds, guidance for program directors, a general pre-departure orientation for all study abroad students, and processing of grades and student program evaluations. Additional support from Study Abroad may be available if prearranged.

To begin the program proposal process, please complete the Preliminary Proposal for Program Development form for a Faculty-led Study Abroad Program.

Program proposals are accepted on a rolling basis.  It is not possible to plan a new program without at least a year lead time.  Most programs require as long as two years lead time to plan appropriately.

In most cases logistics for facutly-led programs are provided through an organization based in the location abroad.  Study Abroad regularly works with several organizations that operate in many locations around the world and can help faculty identify appropriate logistical partners.  Of note, CIEE is offering a grant for $20,000 towards program expenses for an innovative program based at one of their sites in summer 2017 that provides greater access to students going abroad.  The grant application deadline is August 31, 2016.  Read more about the CIEE Generation Study Abroad Access Grant.