Developing a Program
You may already have very specific ideas about a study abroad program and location. The academic content of the program should be the driving force in structuring any program. The program and course should relate to the country or region of the host country: the program should incorporate outside lecturers, students and other individuals from the hosting country whenever possible.
Selecting the right course for your program is critical to ensuring both student interest and success. Faculty and departments are encouraged to involve the directors of undergraduate or graduate programming within their departments as well as the academic advisors. Academic advisors in particular are key constituents in this processes due to their expertise on student needs. Faculty members should consider the following when deciding the courses they select to teach abroad:
- Appeal: Is the course you wish to teach one that has a high demand? Is the name of the course enticing?
- Graduation Requirements: Is the course required for graduation for your department's majors? Are there other majors who frequently take this course as well? Do you hope to serve students with lower-level or upper-level requirements?
- Overage Hours: If not part of the major requirements, will your course lead to delayed graduation or overage hours? Selected Topics seem an easy category to select from, but if your degree program does not require many upper-level with-in major electives it could be hurting students down the line.
- Academic Cross-over: Is there potential to have the course reviewed by colleagues in other departments for degree applicability there? While cross-listing a course can be troublesome, is it possible to have your course reviewed to apply for another degree area?
- Front-Loading Content: Is it possible to flip instructions so content can be delivered online or in person prior to departure and then contextualized and applied in-country
- Fit for Location: Does the course's content make sense for the proposed location?
All faculty-led programs are assigned a program manager in the Education Abroad Office. The program manager assists the faculty in developing their itinerary, obtaining bids for services abroad, budgeting, and liaising with outside partners and units across campus. Program Managers traditionally reach out to faculty members after proposal submission and work with them on developing their programs in the spring and summer semester ahead of launching the program in the fall semester.
While the EAO Program Manager will create the application portal and brochure pages for each program, this cannot be done without the faculty leader's content and input. While much of this is sketched out in the proposal, it is up to the faculty leader to have final say on the content presented in the brochure and what elements are needed in the program's application beyond the standard items required of all students studying abroad.
The earlier faculty leaders can outline a desired itinerary or program activities the sooner Program Managers can initiate the bidding process. Education Abroad has cultivated a list of trusted providers that meet the programmatic, logistical, and legal needs of the University and faculty are encouraged to utilize these companies to assist in organizing in-country logistics. If there is a particular contact or partner in-country that the faculty member would prefer to work with, they may work with the Education Abroad to add the partner to USF's approved vendor list.
While faculty may feel that they can plan the individual elements of the itinerary more cheaply, this is in essence the faculty member taking on that liability and donating their time to do so. This often leads to several potential issues and risks that open up both the faculty member and the University to liability. The use of providers is far preferred to having the faculty member build the program piecemeal.
Even once a bid is obtained, the University requires several inclusions to the budget including faculty costs, administrative costs, insurance, etc. Faculty are asked not to provide any pricing information to students until Education Abroad fiscal team has provided an approved program price.
Education Abroad's Student Services team has offices at each branch campus:
- Tampa Campus - Marshall Center Gateway Office (MSC 3301)
- St.Petersburg Campus - Pianoman and Global Initiative Building (PNM 102)
- Sarasota-Manatee Campus - Global Engagement Office (B-222)
These offices oversees student outreach, recruitment, and retention. Once the program is launched, these professionals can assist with resources for digital marketing campaigns, space for information sessions, as well as a host of returned students, the Global Ambassadors, who can accompany faculty to information sessions and conduct classroom visits. This team also conducted general events to promote all Education Abroad programs including recruitment fairs in the fall and spring.
Recruitment for specific programs fall to the individual faculty leaders. While Education Abroad is here to support those efforts, no one can galvanize student interest the way a faculty leader can. More information about the marketing and recruitment services are available at the start of every academic year from the Student Services teams.
The student application process has been greatly simplified in the last few years. However, there is still vital information students need to provide in order to participate. While faculty members do not need to be experts on the application process it is good to know a few key items:
- Course Selection Form: This document lists out the classes available on a program. It is the student's
responsibility to meet with their academic advisor to determine if the course meets
a graduation requirement. These forms must list out any per-requisites for program
- Application Status:
There are four main application statuses:
- Pending: This means the student has initiated but not completed an application.
- Application Review: The student has completed the first part of their application and is awaiting acceptance.
- Accepted: The student's application has been reviewed and accepted for admission by the Education Abroad Office.
- Committed: The student has decided to accept the offer of participation and has left
a deposit towards the program cost. This is the only stage at which we may consider
a student as actively participating on a program.
- Post-Decision Phase: Once a student has been accepted to a program and committed (and left a deposit) there are additional materials students must complete including but not limited to: a copy of their passport, flight information (once asked to purchase airfare by Education Abroad), pre-departure orientation, etc. Faculty may be contacted to assist in following up with non-responsive students.
Planning the in-country experience is not the only part of successful program. Faculty members are asked to develop pre-trip and post-trip programming to assist in preparing students as well as reflecting and contextualizing the experience respectively.
The Education Abroad Office provides general a pre-departure orientation via Canvas. The modules of this session are designed to help students understand general benefits of the experience, safety procedures, use of the insurance, financial aid and academic matters, as well as general tips to make the most of their time abroad. However, faculty are asked to develop a program specific orientation and deliver it prior to departure. A template for this orientation is available under "Additional Resources and Forms".
Re-Entry program is also vital to help students reflect on and assimilate the experience abroad. While Education Abroad provides general programming back on campus, the kind of program-specific re-entry that makes the most impact is directly tied to the experience they had abroad. Often, this programming can be part of a farewell dinner or event on-site during the last day the group is all together. You can find additional resources to developing re-entry program under "Additional Resources & Forms".