Leading a Study Abroad or Away Program: A Faculty and Staff Toolkit


Part 1: Review the Lifecycle: CSUF Procedures & Practices

Part 2: Review Leader Roles: Well, it depends...

Part 3: Learn About Resources & Support

Part 4: Your Turn!

High Impact Practice

(It's All in the HIPs)

High Impact Practices are transformational learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom that provide:

  • performance expectations at appropriately high levels
  • significant student engagement by investment of time and effort
  • meaningful and substantive learning interactions with faculty, staff, students, or external entities
  • experiences with diversity*, complexity, and change
  • frequent and meaningful feedback
  • reflective and integrated learning
  • experiential learning

*wherein students are exposed to and must contend with people and circumstance that differ from those with which students are familiar (AAC&U Publication Taking HIPs to the Next Level - George D. Kuh)

CSUF Strategic Plan 2018-2023 - Goal 1: "Provide a transformative educational experience and environment for all students."

Research, Engage, Participate, Serve, Observe
  • Top left: Students conducting research in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (Dr. Maria Soledad Ramirez)
  • Top middle: Students interacting with U.S. Customs & Border Protection Patrol agents during the Crime & Justice at the U.S. Mexico Border program (Dr. Robert Castro)
  • Top right: CSUF student and Vietnamese university student in traditional dress as part of the "Contemporary Vietnam: Culture, Commodities, and Change" program (Dr. Sarah Grant)
  • Bottom left: SPED students participating in professional development exercises, hosted by the University of Eichstaett in Germany (Dr. Melinda Pierson)
  • Bottom right: Students enrolled in ENGL 301, 'Advanced College Writing,' find unexpected school spirit in Paris, France (Dr. Lana Dalley)

Part 1: : Program Lifecycle

CSUF Procedures and Practices


It all begins (or should) at least 12-18 Months IN ADVANCE with...

Some departments and colleges start even earlier!

An Idea

(12-18 Months Out)

  • When? On-Campus Meetings, Travel Dates & Itinerary
  • Who? How Many Faculty Leaders?
  • What? Course Information
  • Why? Program, Location, Course Rationale
  • How? Provider Supported or Independently Coordinated
  • Program Agreement or No Program Agreement
  • Related Experience (Travel, Language, Content Area)


(12-18 Months Out)

  • Department Approval
  • College Approval

Approval Continued: Budget

(12-18 Months Out)

  • Minimum Numbers: Based on Enrollment AND Budget
  • Costs: Students and Program Leaders
  • Funding and Implications
  • 3-part Approval: Department, College, EIP

Budget approval is the key to moving forward! Once a budget is approved, program promotion can begin.

Ideas for Program Leader Recruitment

(6-12 Months Out)

  • Social Media
  • Peer Engagement
  • Info Sessions
  • Study Abroad Fair
  • Classroom Presentations
  • Advising (1:1 and in Groups)
  • Email/ Campus Announcements


(2-7 Months Out)

  • Travel and Insurance Requests: The typical College deadline is 85-90 Days prior to your program departure date!
  • Student and Vendor Payments
  • Passports and Visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Pre-Departure Orientations: Online & In-Person
  • Registration Tasks: Terra Dotta, Providers, Courses and course Scheduling


(The moment we've all been waiting for!)

  • Teach/Learn: Lectures abroad/away
  • Visit: Cultural and site visits
  • Experience: People, food, climate, language, sights, smells, challenges, surprises
  • Transform: Serve, Research, Intern
  • Process and Reflect: Individually and Together
  • Engage: With hosts and the local community, within the cohort


(What now?)

  • Engagement: Returnee Opportunities for Students and Faculty
  • Academic: Remaining On-Campus Class Meetings/Presentations/ Projects/ Grades
  • Closeout Procedures: Accounting & Travel Operations

Part 2: Program Leader Roles:

Well, it depends…

Program Leader roles may vary by department or college, but some hats you will likely wear include:

  • Recruiter*
  • Professor*
  • Counselor
  • Chaperone
  • Liaison*
  • University Official*
  • Manager* (Risk, classroom, financial)
  • Confidant/ Friend
  • Mediator
  • Mentor
  • Country and Cultural Expert
  • Mandated Reporter*

The Program Leader is on call 24/7 for the duration of the program.

*Essential roles

Part 3: Available Resources and Support

(You are not alone!)

Global Engagement Team in the Study Abroad Office can provide support or guidance to you and your department in these areas:

  • Program & Administrative Process Management
  • Application Management
  • Recruitment
  • Reporting
  • Risk Management (Insurance requests and claims)
  • Pre- & Post-Departure + Re-Entry
  • On-site Staffing
  • Technical Support

Academic Departments/ Dean's Office Staff

  • Document Processing (TRs/ Course Scheduling)
  • Accounting Support (Student Payments/ Vendor Payments/ Expense Claims)
  • Recruitment Support

Funding Support

  1. Financial awards may sometimes impact a student's financial aid, so we recommend that students check in with the Office of Financial Aid to verify if and how they may be affected by receiving any funding provided by the program.
  2. Whether disbursed directly to a student or paid directly to a vendor on a student’s behalf, all amounts must be reported to Financial Aid, so that office can determine if the support will cause any necessary modifications.

Please be aware, certain funding support may be restricted, depending on the funding source. Please refer to the CSUF "Fiscal Guidance" document on our website for more information.

Questions? Feel free to contact us!

Let's Get Planning!

Contact Us

Jack Hobson (Sr. Director, Global Titans Center) jhobson@fullerton.edu

Shari Merrill (Associate Director, Study Abroad) smerrill@fullerton.edu

Abigail Segura (Programs Lead, Study Abroad) absegura@fullerton.edu

Phone: 657-287-2787

Created By
Shari Merrill


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