The University of Iowa

Faculty Director Policies and Guidelines

The following policies are to be strictly enforced. Reports of violation will be thoroughly investigated and could lead to immediate termination and/or non-renewal of the Faculty Director's appointment. There may be some circumstances when policies should be modified, with prior approval from Study Abroad, to meet the best interests of students in the host environment. If circumstances warrant flexibility, any exceptions to the following policies must be authorized by Study Abroad in advance.


Some program participants may be degree-seeking students from other universities. All communication with home campus representatives and with the parents of program participants should come directly from the University of Iowa Study Abroad office. The Faculty Director shall refer all home campus and parental inquiries to the Study Abroad office. The purpose of this policy is to promote timely and accurate communication, so that in both routine and emergency situations it is clear who needs to be notified or updated by whom and when. It is the Faculty Director’s responsibility to inform Study Abroad of any situation that requires (You may request a copy of the communication tree from Study Abroad.)


The Faculty Director shall keep confidential each student's academic record as well as all other information about their disciplinary issues, health, academic progress, host family status and all other matters pertaining to their program participation.


When interacting with students, host families, and the hosting institution or agency, the Faculty Director shall at all times refrain from engaging in any act or making any statement which can be interpreted as sexual harassment; or any discriminatory act or statement reflecting prejudice based upon the categories indicated in the following Nondiscrimination Statement:

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment and in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Coordinator of Title IX, Section 504, and the ADA in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, (319) 335-0705 (voice) and (319) 335-0697 (text), 202 Jessup Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1316.

Use of personal vehicle

For liability purposes, the Faculty Director is not to use his/her private vehicle or vehicle rented for private use as a means of transportation for program participants except in emergency situations, or with prior authorization from Study Abroad.

Purchase of alcohol

Alcoholic beverages cannot be purchased with program funds. Alcohol is discouraged, but not prohibited, at program activities. If alcoholic beverages are available, participants and other attendees must be required to purchase drinks with their own funds.

Use of private residence

Because of the need to maintain a social distance between the Faculty Director and program participants, the Faculty Director is discouraged from using his/her private residence as a site of official or unofficial program activities or gatherings, without prior authorization from Study Abroad.

Sexual Harassment/Consensual Relationships

Students in study abroad programs are protected by U.S. policies which regard sexual harassment as illegal and unethical behavior in an educational context. To this end, program faculty and staff must be committed to creating an environment that is conducive to students' learning.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or status in a course, program, or activity;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for an employment or educational decision affecting an individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or educational performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for work or learning.

Sexual harassment involves an abuse of power. It often occurs when the harasser is in a more powerful position than the individual being harassed, but can also occur among peers. It can occur across genders and between people of the same gender.

Study abroad programs are guided by these principles and there will be no tolerance of sexual harassment among program faculty, staff, and students. Complaints of sexual harassment will be investigated according to the procedures established by the UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

That said, part of the study abroad experience includes observing the dynamics of the host culture -- finding some behaviors inspiring and others offensive. Women may find themselves actively noticed simply for being a woman; the more exotic (i.e., different than the general population), the more noticeable they become. During orientation, students should be advised on the unwritten rules about how to best react in response to unwanted attention. The Faculty Director should be prepared to discuss such encounters with students as the program progresses.

Sexual harassment from local populations does call for a response. Depending upon the situation, the appropriate response might range from humorous deflection, to assertion, to an appeal for help, to flight. In most areas of the world, women should not go out at night by themselves or with a date that they do not know well – especially under conditions where there is alcohol use and dancing. Also, one's dress, movement, and eye contact may draw unwanted reactions. Students should be strongly cautioned about culturally and contextually appropriate behavior and dress.

Consensual amorous relationships between faculty and students have no place in an academic program where the faculty, including those with teaching and supervisory responsibilities over students, have responsibility for evaluating student performance in the program. Such relationships are unprofessional on the part of faculty and supervisory staff. Because of the power differential between faculty and supervisory staff on one hand and students on the other and the potential for abuse of the student, voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is inherently suspect. Other students and faculty may be affected by such unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member in a position to favor or advance one student's interest at the expense of others and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors. For these reasons, faculty and supervisory staff are required to refrain from engaging in consensual relationships with students. Reports of consensual relationships between faculty and students on study abroad programs will be handled according to the procedures established by the UI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and may result in on-campus sanctions.

Study Abroad Disciplinary Policy and Guidelines

For the purposes of conducting study abroad programs, "behavioral problem" can be defined as:

  • the violation of the rules of the program and/or the laws of the country;
  • behavior which is disruptive to the program; or
  • behavior dangerous to one's self or other persons.

For such a definition to be enforceable, the study abroad advisor or Faculty Director must inform students of program rules and expectations for behavior prior to departure or during orientation abroad. This information should include explicitly stated consequences for behavioral problems, as well as a reminder that no refunds of program fees can be made once the program has begun, regardless of the reasons for leaving the program.

A first, minor infraction of program rules or disruptive behavior should result in a verbal warning to the student. The student should be reminded of his/her position as a representative of the University of Iowa, as well as informed that continued behavioral problems will result in dismissal from the program.

If problems continue, or if a more serious violation is committed, the Faculty Director should give the student a written warning which essentially places the student on probation. Behavioral expectations should be clearly set out in a document which the student should be asked to sign. The student's signature serves as acknowledgment that he or she understands the terms under which the student will be allowed to remain on the program. A third individual should be present at this meeting in the event that the student refuses to sign, to certify that the student was informed of the terms of the warning and understands the consequences of his/her behavior.

In cases of extreme behavioral problems, to include violation of the law or terms of probation, the Faculty Director has the authority to dismiss a student from the program. Once such a decision has been made, the Faculty Director should immediately contact the Director of Study Abroad, who will take responsibility for contacting the parents of the student if necessary, as well as the UI Offices of the Registrar and Student Financial Aid. The on-site Faculty Director should inform the student of the decision, and assist the student in making arrangements to leave the program. The Faculty Director is also responsible for informing the student's instructors and housing situation of his/her dismissal from the program. Since it may not be possible to require the student to return to the United States, the Faculty Director must have the student to sign a waiver releasing the host institution and its representatives, as well as the University of Iowa and its representatives and employees from any further responsibility with regard to the student. A third party should be present to attest in writing that the student was informed, should the student refuse to sign.

Once all necessary arrangements have been made, the Faculty Director should call a meeting of the program participants (excluding the student being dismissed) to briefly inform the students of the situation.

Accounting Guidelines for Study Abroad

Study Abroad will provide Faculty Directors with guidelines for handling program accounting. Please contact an advisor in the Study Abroad office for a hard copy of the most up-to-date guidelines.