The RCOB’s strategy for offering international study courses is to help meet the University and College’s internationalization efforts by providing students with a variety of country/culture study options and giving interested RCOB faculty a unique international teaching opportunity. The College is offering students recurring partner-school affiliated study courses each year complimented by what is hoped to be a changing line-up of new faculty-proposed courses. The number of faculty-proposed courses selected each year will depend upon student demand and faculty interest. The partner-school affiliated courses are appropriate for any RCOB faculty member to lead and maybe a good choice for faculty who haven’t planned and led international study trips since the course syllabi and study trip itineraries are already developed and because the RCOB International Programs Office and international partner universities handle the logistical arrangements for these study trips. On the other hand, faculty who wish to propose a new course will be required to develop their course syllabi and study trip itineraries from scratch. The latter are welcome and encouraged to contact the RCOB International Programs Office with questions and for advice as they develop these new proposals.
An application for partner-affiliated courses (Mexico for Summer 2020) as well as new courses must be submitted for faculty to be considered to lead a RCOB international business study course or program. Application forms for partner-affiliated courses and for new courses can be found at www.utc.edu/cob-international and completed applications should be submitted to [email protected]. Interested faculty from all RCOB departments are encouraged to consider submitting an application for either a partner-affiliated course or a new course.
Application & Review Timeline
November 19 - Submit completed applications for the next academic year (summer 2020 for the Mexico course and fall 2020 through summer 2021 for all other courses) to the RCOB International Programs Office.
November/December - RCOB Executive Committee along with RCOB International Programs Director review faculty applications and, if needed, request additional information and/or clarifications from submitters.
By End of December - Selections made and faculty notified by or before this date.
First Week of Spring Semester - Upcoming academic year's international course offerings announced to students.
Email a copy of the course syllabus to [email protected], which includes the following:
Learning objectives & rationale for offering the course & study trip
Class Meeting Dates
Email a copy of a sample study trip itinerary to Eliza[email protected] that includes the following day-by-day format:
Cities & Countries Visited
Accommodations for each day
Planned activities (e.g. company visits, cultural tours)
UTC International Relations Office's Faculty-Led Study Trip Guidelines & Tips
Below is a faculty-led study trip information from the University's International Relations Office. Some of this information may be helpful as you develop your course proposal. Also, the RCOB's International Programs Office will be the first line of contact for UTC RCOB faculty interested in or selected to lead a study trip. As a result, the University's Office of International Relations has asked RCOB faculty to please direct all related questions to [email protected] in the RCOB International Programs Office. Once the RCOB reviews proposals, those selected proposals will be submitted to the UTC International Relations Office for the University's final approval. Then the RCOB International Programs Office will work with that office to manage all RCOB faculty-led study trips.
Security and travel arrangements
The safety and security of our students are of utmost importance. As such, we require that information is provided regarding steps that will be taken to protect students in the event of civil unrest. Speak to the safety measures that are in a place where they will reside. Travel as part of a study abroad program is not permitted to countries for which the U.S. State Department has issued Travel Warnings.
Insurance and risk management information
Faculty-led programs are required to purchase insurance coverage that includes medical and evacuation coverage while overseas through an insurance agent that works with UTC. The OIR will provide this information to you. If you would like to request an exception to the requirement of including insurance in the program, please provide an explanation for your request. If the program will take place in a country with known risk factors, explain how those risks will be managed (e.g. special orientation meetings for students and/or faculty before departure, contingency plan).
Faculty should conduct several or at minimum one pre-departure meeting for participants. This meeting should cover the expectations of the course, required readings and assessment methods, logistics of the programs, information on the country/region, visa procedures (if any), as well as discuss UTC policies and procedures that are expected for all participants of faculty-led programs.
U.S. State Department or Centers for Disease Control Travel Advisory
Any program involving groups traveling to or through any country for which a U.S. State Department or a Centers for Disease Control Travel Advisory is in effect must be reviewed and approved by the UTC International Studies Committee, comprised of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Executive Director for Center for Global Ed., the University Legal Counsel, and a faculty member appointed by the Provost. The Executive Director for the Center for Global Education may require other programs to seek approval from this committee if there appears to be a substantial potential risk to participants (e.g. programs involving potentially dangerous physical activities or programs which do not seem to have made adequate preparations to ensure the safety of participants).
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions about Designing Study Abroad International Programs: Program Development
Developing a Study Abroad program takes you to go far beyond the usual realm of course planning. As the program director, you must become part travel agent, bookkeeper, security officer, and 24-hours student advisor. Nonetheless, you remain first, and foremost, an educator.
The broad structures of STUDY ABROAD programs vary greatly. In some instances, programs may be hosted at a university abroad with very traditional, classroom-based, course meetings, coupled with some site visits around the city. On the other extreme, far outside of a classroom environment, some programs spend their entire time in remote field stations where participants conduct an archeological dig or ecological research on deforestation. During these programs, class meetings might consist of structured debriefings held at the field site, or back at the program lodgings.
More typically, programs combine many different elements providing experience, contextualization, and reflection. A day might begin with a class discussion, followed by presentations by invited guest speakers. The afternoon might include site visits and some less structured periods for students to interact with locals and free time for everyone to explore on their own and to decompress from busy academic and group schedules.
Prospective Student Participants
The prospective audience for the course is a prime consideration in designing the course. Courses that are too narrowly focused may only appeal to a small number of students on campus. If the resulting applicant pool is too small, the program may not have enough students to go; or the few students who do go may have to pay very high program fees to cover an inordinately high percentage of the total program cost. Alternately, if the course’s scope is too broad, participants may feel that the course doesn’t have sufficient focus, and it may be difficult to set high-quality academic goals and expectations. A related challenge arises when the student groups have different academic backgrounds or expectations. This is not to say that diverse student groups do not work. Rather, a clear course focus contributes to relevant admissions criteria and internally consistent academic expectations. This contributes contribute to shared focus and goals on the program.
Most programs incorporate some pre-departure class meetings, and at least one pre-departure class meeting is mandatory. At a minimum, a discussion of program logistics and host country culture is essential.
We strongly encourage you to consider additional pre-departure meetings. These are ideal times to provide students with relevant introductions to the history and culture of the host country, to discuss course projects and research, to complete course readings, and to discuss student expectations and goals as well as your expectations and goals for the program and for the students. The more background and context your students have when they arrive in your host country, the more you will all get out of the program.
When considering the day-to-day course structure and the program’s academic goals, you should work with the expectation that once the program begins everyone will be very busy with the day- to- day program activities. When students are able to receive and reflect on country information and program readings prior to departure, they are able to hit the ground running when they arrive in their host country.
Length of Time Program
The length of PROGRAM apparently determines the amount and level of material that can be included, the number and duration of site visits, guest speakers, the amount of credit awarded, and the general breadth and depth of the intercultural interaction that students will experience. At the same time, the length of time abroad is the primary driver of program costs; more days on the road = more housing costs, more transportation, more speakers, etc. The typical length of STUDY ABROAD INTERNATIONAL programs at UTC is 10 days to 3 weeks, though a small handful are shorter than 10 days, and a few are longer.
In-Country Class Activities
With the hectic schedules of guest speakers, visits and class meetings it can be difficult to find time for independent student reading and research. During the course design process, it may be helpful to consider which course activities work well and which may be easier to complete before or after the international component. Typically, students do not have much time to complete significant course readings or document research while abroad, and it is just as likely that you will not have much time for preparation or grading. In addition, library and computer resources overseas are generally not as accessible as those available on campus.
Successful programs incorporate opportunities for intercultural learning in order to capitalize on the international location. For many students, these programs are their first significant trip abroad. Students on all programs will look for and look forward to opportunities to experience the local culture; this is true even on science programs that take place in a lab or research station.
As the course progresses, students will ideally begin developing skills for understanding and navigate their host culture. The program syllabus and itinerary should incorporate time for structured intercultural exposure; independent, course-related interactions with host nationals; and free exploration and discovery.
It is commonly accepted that students from all academic disciplines will benefit from some international and intercultural awareness. Even the brief intercultural introductions in STUDY ABROAD INTERNATIONAL programs go a long way in helping students develop a more sophisticated world view that allows them to approach communication, conflict and interpersonal relations from a cultural perspective.
You undoubtedly have a rough outline of what you want to do and in what sequence. Here are some factors to consider as you start to put that schedule down on paper:
• Build in regular times for class briefings (before guest speakers or site visits) and debriefings.
• Allow ample time for travel, including time for the students to gather. Remember larger groups will take longer to get organized.
• If your program is set in a relatively remote location, you may want to consider including a day or two of orientation in the city. This can help the students acclimatize and give them a chance to get their bearings before heading off to a more isolated site.
• For multi-week programs, build in some free days to give students (and yourself) a chance to escape from the group, explore on their own, and decompress.
• Avoid travel itineraries that contain a number of long-distance buses or train trips. Try to pick program centers that have many relevant visits and activities within a reasonable distance.
• Assign course readings prior to departure. Students are unlikely to have the time or energy for significant course readings in the evenings while they are in the host country.
• Develop a short list of optional activities, so that if the group finds themselves with some extra time on their hands, you have some ready ideas of relevant visits.
During the early planning stages, you may find it helpful to take a relatively conservative approach to scheduling, leaving unscheduled blocks of time for group debriefing, providing additional time for group travel to and from site visits, and allowing free time some free time.
Most programs provide some group meals. There are likely to be a number of occasions during your program where it makes sense for everyone to eat together at the same place, and it is simpler for all concerned to have one check and to pay for the meal from program funds. Not only do the group meals make sense logistically, but they are great opportunities for checking in with the students, and having informal class discussions. You will want to consider whether or not to plan and pay for all of the program meals. Meal times can be a great time for everyone to unwind and relax. The students will likely want to break up into small groups and go try different places depending on their tastes. By the same token, you will probably enjoy some time away from the full group of students to relax. Faculty who take all of their meals with the students often report that it gets tiring and sometimes turns into a negative experience for both.
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions about Designing Study Abroad International Programs: Program Proposal and Approval Process
Developing Your Program Proposal
Before you announce your program to students or begin making any concrete preparations for the program, you must submit a formal proposal and budget. The proposal and budget templates may look intimidating, but they are intended to help you think through the academic, structure, logistics, student selection, cost and administrative needs of your program.
For the program proposal narrative, we have found that faculty will have answers to most of the narrative pieces already in mind or contained in other documents they have already written. The program budget template is simply an extension of the information in the narrative. The faculty has told us that it typically takes them 2-3 hours to complete the narrative and an hour or so to complete the budget.
Developing Your Program Budget
Many faculty members find program budgeting and financials one of the most challenging aspects of developing their program, but it really does not have to be a frustrating exercise. Our shared goal is to develop cost estimates for each of the program items. We do not need the exact cost for each item. A conservative approximation is just fine.
If you are using a service provider, whether it is a partner university or an external service agency, they will provide a detailed cost estimate and a final contract price to you. The Partner University or agency then takes responsibility for any price increases. Pricing simplicity and cost assurance, not to mention the time you save in having to book arrangements, are major advantages of using program partners.
For costs that you are researching yourself, an hour or two of thought and online research can usually provide solid estimates. When estimating prices, be conservative but realistic. Also, recognize that International Relations requires building in a 3% contingency fund in each program budget. The contingency fund can help to offset cost increases and exchange rate fluctuations that may occur.
Your budget should include an estimate of your airfare costs. For planning purposes, it is typically sufficient to get 2-3 quotes and use those to estimate the amount in your budget.
In most cases, faculty and students stay in the same accommodation during STUDY ABROAD programs. This makes for easier logistics, and group meetings and general communication. You are not required to stay in the same location as your students. In some cases, such as homestays, it simply is not feasible to stay in the same place. In other cases, you may prefer to have some space to allow yourself and your students a little more “down time.”
Meals and Incidental Expenses
During your program travel, you are also eligible to receive reimbursement for meals and incidental (M&I) expenses. The standard UTC policy says that faculty and staff are eligible to claim reimbursement for M&I expenses up to the amount set by the U.S. State Department Foreign Per Diem.
Unlike lodging expenses, the University does not require faculty and staff to submit receipts to document M&I expenses. When you submit your program receipts for reconciliation, simply include a memo requesting payment of the appropriate amount of your M&I per diem budget.
Discussing Program Cost
Program cost is a deciding factor for many students. The first two questions we get from students are “What is the program about?” Quickly followed by, “How much does it cost?” After students learn the program cost, they often make a decision relatively quickly about whether or not they want to apply for the program. Based on their understanding of the program cost, they may go ahead and ask for time off from work or set aside other academic plans for that term. You should NOT provide any cost information until the budget is approved and International Relations issues the official cost estimates.
Guests Accompanying Faculty Leaders Overseas
In general, we do not allow a spouse, partner, or significant others to accompany a faculty leader on a STUDY ABROAD program. Because of the intense nature of these programs, faculty leaders are encouraged to spend time with the students and not with a guest. If faculty leaders are doing a good job, they will not have the time or energy to spend with a guest. If you believe that your program structure would not preclude you from bringing a guest, please contact us so that we can discuss the particular situation.