Leading a Program

UW-Platteville Education Abroad Short-Term Faculty-Led Program in Ghana

The UW-Platteville Education Abroad staff looks forward to assisting faculty and staff in what will be a richly rewarding opportunity for not only the professional development of faculty and staff but also the academic development of UW-Platteville students.  Although much work goes into developing and leading a successful short-term faculty-led (STFL) program, faculty and staff are not alone in this endeavor. The UW-Platteville Education Abroad staff is happy to assist and guide faculty and staff with program development and coordination.

Faculty and academic staff interested in leading a credit-bearing STFL program must submit a detailed proposal for review by May 1 for any program they plan to offer during Winterim, Spring Break or Summer of the following academic year.

Tell us about the program you are planning or checking out what others are planning for future STFL programs here!

General Overview

During the past decade interest in the internationalization of higher education has intensified and campuses are striving to provide international experiences to diverse student populations.  By teaching a short-term faculty-led (STFL) study abroad program, UW-Platteville faculty and staff not only contribute to the internationalization of the UW-Platteville campus, but also provide our students with a broad range of affordable study abroad options.  Study abroad for students is a rewarding experience which leads to academic and personal growth and also aids UW-Platteville in meeting student learning objectives such as; promoting tolerance of ambiguity, relating knowledge to daily life, self-awareness and identity development, social responsibility, recognizing and valuing cultural and human difference, and global consciousness and perspective. 

STFL programs, many of which are faculty-led, comprise 50% of all U.S. study abroad programs.  They offer students the opportunity to participate in a program sponsored by their own university, travel and study with friends and faculty they know and trust, and earn credit that will be applied toward their degree requirements.  Often these programs serve as gateways to greater global engagement and future international activities.  STFL programs are appealing to nontraditional students, students with tight degree plans, students who cannot afford a loss of income, and students not willing to take the leap to studying abroad for a semester or academic year.  STFL programs are:

•    faculty-directed education abroad programs.
•    sponsored by UW-Platteville.
•    credit-bearing
•    one to eight weeks in duration.
•    offered over the winter, spring, or summer breaks.
•    financed on a cost recovery basis as students are assessed a fee to cover costs and are exempt from paying UW-Platteville tuition and fees (see UW System Policy F45)

The UW System is a proponent of international education and has developed specific guidelines governing the Conduct of International Programs in the University of Wisconsin System.  

Propose a Program

All faculty planning on leading a short-term faculty lead (STFL) program must complete the a program proposal, including the Planning Tool for Faculty/Academic Staff Led Programs Abroad, and submit a tentative budget, itinerary, and syllabus through via UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad: Propose a UW-Platteville Short-Term Faculty-Led Program.

All faculty and academic staff interested in leading a STFL program must also attend UW-Platteville Education Abroad's Faculty-Led Workshop. Please contact the UW-Platteville Education Abroad office for further details.

Logistical Factors

Program Development
When developing a short-term faculty lead (STFL) program, faculty and staff have the option to design, plan, and budget on their own or to work with a program provider or UW-Platteville partner.  If the program will be located in a city or region which faculty and staff have a lot of experience and have traveled to recently, or if they already have an on-site contact, then personally arranging  logistics is feasible. 

If faculty or staff are choosing a location which they have limited familiarity or have not visited for many years and do not plan on visiting before bringing students, then a program provider or partner is advisable. 

Program providers are private organizations or companies which provide services ranging from the full design and coordination of the program to arranging logistics and travel.  Please note that:
•    Providers allow faculty to focus on the academic components of the program while they organize travel, housing, classroom space, and excursions or activities upon request.
•    Working with program providers simplifies the program development process but will also increase the per student cost and often requires larger group sizes and advanced booking.
•    The UW-Platteville Education Abroad Office can provide literature from various providers.  Faculty can request quotes from providers without committing to a contract.

UW-Platteville has many existing partnerships with non-U.S. based institutions.  The UW-Platteville Education Abroad office is happy to connect UW-Platteville faculty and staff with partners abroad.  Partner institutions may be willing to collaborate on programs or provide facilities or logistical support for a lesser cost than using a study abroad program provider. 

Flight policies
Per UW System all airfare must be purchased through a “brick and mortar” travel agency or through Fox World Travel, the UW-System approved on-line search engine.  In addition, UW System Financial Guidelines for purchasing airline tickets include:
•    Groups of 7 or less and cost is under $5,000 use best judgment
•    Groups of 8 or more: Cost < $5,000 use best judgment
•    Groups of 8 or more: Cost > $5,000 but < $ 25,000 must get 3 quotes (can be verbal but must receive written confirmation from selected vendor)
•    Groups of 8 or more:  Cost > $25,000 will need to generate sealed bid sent from Purchasing

There are multiple options for booking flights.  Benefits of group airfare may be that the deposits are waived, the airline may guarantee a base fare, name changes can be made in case of student additions or cancelations, and other discounts may apply.  If students are required to make their own flight arrangements approximate cost must be clearly stated in all program publicity. 

Accommodation varies widely among faculty-led programs.  Typically hostels and hotels are most convenient but faculty can also take advantage of host family situations, camping, and university dormitories in the host country if available.  The UW-Platteville Education Abroad office can provide resources for provider organizations and international partners which may be able to arrange housing.  

•    Programs are not required to provide meals and often it is less expensive for students if they are allowed to pay out-of-pocket for meals based on their own spending budgets.  Group meals can be included if circumstances warrant it.  Student meals should not be budgeted using per diem rates but instead based on actual costs.
•    Breakfast is included in the cost of many hostels and hotels outside of the U.S.  Making use of lodging which includes some meals can help reduce the overall cost of the program to students.
•    If meals are not included then an accurate cost estimate should be provided to students in the publicity to help students plan.
•    Faculty meals, per UW System policy, which are claimed, should represent actual, reasonable, and necessary expenses and meal allowances will be based on the daily maximums as listed on the General Services Administration webpage.  
•    Faculty and staff leaders may voluntarily reduce the budgeted amount for meals, but may not increase this amount.  Reimbursement will be given for expenses incurred only.

•    Excursions, site visits, and field trips are an integral part of STFL programs and descriptions of each should be included in the program itinerary.
•    Costs for excursions for students and instructors should be budgeted into the program.  
•    Excursions should be relevant to the learning objectives of the program, take advantage of local resources, and be realistic in terms of time, distance, and cost.  

•    Students who do not already have passports should apply early.  Processing an application takes four to six weeks and may take longer during the peak travel season.  Students may apply in person at selected post offices, federal or state courts of records, or at one of the passport agencies of the U.S. Department of State.  The closest passport agent is the Platteville Post Office.
•    Students can also receive current information and download a passport application on the U.S. Department of State website.
•    Students who have passports should be advised to check the date of issue to be sure it will be valid for at least 6 months beyond the program end date as it is required by many countries in order to enter the country or issue a visa.
•    Passport fees are not built into the program budget.  Fees associated with obtaining or renewing a passport are considered out-of-pocket expenses.

Permits and Visas
•    Any entry or exit requirements related to the host country should be investigated during the initial planning for the program.  Any visa or permit costs should be built into the program budget.  Information about visas can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
•    Be aware that guidelines and requirements may differ for U.S. nationals and nationals from other countries as well as from (Consulate) jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Course Design and Best Practices

Technical Considerations
•    Programs must be academically rigorous and meet all UW-Platteville curriculum standards.
•    Programs may be existing courses adapted to an international environment or a new course.
•    Common practice defines contact hours as any activity in which students are engaged with the learning objectives of the course (lectures, site visits, excursions, discussions, student presentations).
•    Unstructured time should be carefully considered, too much means questionable academic integrity, too little can lead to student exhaustion and information overload.
•    Carefully consider your curriculum.  Students are looking to fulfill general/major/minor education requirements in order to justify the additional expense of study abroad.
•    Non-traditional sites should be considered and are encouraged.
•    Traveling to countries on the State Department Travel Warning List is not allowed under UW-Platteville policy.

The Learning Environment
•    Often study abroad programs focus too much on what students will be seeing and doing and not enough on what students will be learning.  It is important to consider what your learning outcomes are for students and how the learning environment can enhance those outcomes.
•    The course should integrate discipline specific learning with cross-cultural experiences and be designed to make use of the physical, human, and cultural resources of the host environment.  Site visits and other cultural activities integrated into the course material should provide an in-depth view of the host country in order to enhance the course learning objectives.

Teaching Techniques
•    Teaching techniques that integrate cross-cultural learning should be incorporated and can include interviewing, academic journaling, drawing, photos, cultural artifacts, and student presentations.  Frequent prepping and processing opportunities should be reflected in the itinerary.
•    Non-traditional teaching methods should be utilized and service learning and volunteer opportunities can be included.  
•    UW-Platteville PAACE funding is available for STFL programs that incorporate a community engagement component.
•    Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors (URCE) can be incorporated into any program - consult with the URCE office for ideas.

•    Assessment of student learning and performance should be comparable to the assessment of a similar course offered on the UW-Platteville campus.

Facilitating Culture Learning

Culture learning (defined as knowledge, skills, and attitudes which lead to effective intercultural communication) is an important component of study abroad.  For culture learning to take place on short-term programs students must engage with the new culture in very intentional ways.  Processing and reflection time should be incorporated throughout the program.  Meals and travel times are ideal moments to stress formal and informal observation, discussion, and reflection.

It is important for students to examine both similarities and differences that they encounter while abroad.  Important traits which should be encouraged in students to promote culture learning are respect of cultural difference, tolerance for ambiguity, and empathy.

Education abroad provides an excellent opportunity to explore concrete culture (the visible manifestations of culture – art, food, language, festivals, etc), but for students who are developing skills and perspectives related to intercultural competence it is important to explore abstract components of culture – concepts, values, and assumptions that guide behavior and are shared by people.

Iceberg Model Analogy
A helpful model for exploring different aspects of culture is the Iceberg Model Analogy.  This analogy depicts culture as an iceberg to encourage us to consider what lies beneath the surface when interpreting interactions we have with people from different cultures.  It is important to keep in mind that the concrete culture which is visible to us has deeper meaning and often represents a much more fundamental cultural value.  The Iceberg Model also reminds us that what we see is not always what is going on.  We almost always interpret visible culture based on our own experiences and our own cultural values, but which may have a very different meaning in the host culture.

5 Concepts for Culture Learning
Another model which can help facilitate students’ culture learning is Michael Paige’s Dimensions of Culture Learning Model (2005) from Maximizing Study Abroad: An Instructional Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use (2009).  This model organizes the larger concept of culture into five categories.  Using these categories to guide formal and informal discussions about culture can assist students in processing their interactions with people in the host culture.  The 5 Concepts for Culture Learning include:  

1.    Learning about the Self as a Cultural Being: Understanding that every person is influenced by culture and has a culture.
2.    Learning about the Elements of Culture: Investigating values, beliefs, attitudes, and customs of culture and considering that different cultures promote different learning styles and communication styles.
3.    Culture-Specific learning: Understanding the cultural elements of a particular culture.
4.    Culture-General learning: Learning about culture shock, cultural adjustment and adaptation; learning that people in different cultures interpret the same events differently.
5.    Learning about Learning: Learning from cultural informants, developing skills of cultural observation and hypothesis testing, and investigating culture through books, newspapers, and websites.

Models for Debriefing
It is critical to discuss and debrief experienced-based learning in order for it to be educational.  Debriefing is when the learning experience is discussed, conceptualized, clarified, and summarized.  Below are two suggested models for debriefing.  These come from Maximizing Study Abroad: An Instructional Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use (2009). 

Description – Interpretation – Evaluation Model (D.I.E.) (pg. 122-123): This model emphasizes that as learners we often evaluate situations before we interpret, which can lead to stereotypes and misunderstandings.

Step 1: Description
•    Describe the object/situation/content in concrete terms
•    What happened in the interaction/experience/situation?
•    What was said? What did you see? What did you feel?
Step 2: Interpretation
•    Think of possible explanations for what you observed or experienced
•    What do the spoken words and actions mean to you?
•    What adjectives would you use to explain the experience or situation?
•    Try to find at least 3 interpretations of the interaction or occurrence
Step 3: Evaluation
•    Evaluate what you observed or experienced
•    What positive or negative feelings do you have about the experience or situation?
•    How might you feel if you were a member of the host culture and held the dominant cultural values and beliefs?

Note that in this model the goal is not to remove emotions from the student’s reactions but to help them be aware that their emotions are connected to their own interpretations and value structures.

Hypothesis-testing Model (pg. 124-125)
This model is a step-by-step process for examining cross-cultural comparison
•    Select something about the host culture that students are trying to understand and explain such as a particular behavior or practice
•    Students should first examine their own culture’s way of doing this (i.e. dating practices).  Students should ask when it occurs, why, and under what circumstances.  The key is to identity the pattern and state the cultural generalization.
•    Have students form a hypothesis for the host culture.  Have students examine the host culture’s behavior and hypothesize when the behavior occurs, why, and under what circumstances.
•    Students should research information on behavior or practice from various resources
•    Identify information that refines or changes the original hypothesis
•    Develop a new hypothesis
•    Compare and contrast the home culture with the host culture

Other training methods include critical incidents and role playing and simulation exercises.  The International Programs office can provide additional resources and activity ideas to assist you with facilitating and debriefing.

Program Leader Responsibilities

Administrative steps necessary for programs may include, but are not limited to, the following:
•    Establish course syllabus, itinerary, budget, and special course fees
•    Logistical arrangements (through provider, partner, or independently)
•    Propose the program through UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad
•    Marketing and promotion
•    Provide prospective students with accurate and complete information on the nature and scope of the program
•    Review student applications and accept applicants in UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad
•    Assure students register for the course
•    Schedule and conduct pre-departure orientation(s)
•    Establish emergency response plan
•    Manage on-site finances and receipts according to UW-Platteville accounting policies
•    Administer course evaluation

Education Abroad Responsibilities

The UW-Platteville Education Abroad office will provide consultation and assist with managing the following program specifics:
•    Provide faculty STFL workshop/handbook
•    Proposal/budget consultation
•    Assist with provider/partner connections
•    Financial management
•    Marketing/promotion assistance
•    Studio Abroad software set-up/management
•    CISI policy enrollment
•    Scholarship/grant information
•    Pre-departure orientation (general information)
•    Reentry orientation
•    Additional resources as necessary

Approval Process

A complete short-term faculty-led (STFL) program application consists of a number of items that must be submitted to UW-Platteville Education Abroad via UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad. To initiate a STFL program application:
•    Attend the UW-Platteville Education Abroad Faculty-Led workshop which is held once in the fall and once in the spring.  Faculty and staff only need to attend the workshop once.
•    Begin planning at least 6 months prior to proposal application deadline.  Early program development ensures sufficient time for you and the UW-Platteville Education Abroad office to effectively budget, plan, and market the program.
•    Initiate an on-line program proposal using UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad.

Required Proposal Materials
A complete proposal consists of the following items and must be uploaded into the program proposal in UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad.
•    Tentative Budget
•    Tentative Itinerary: The itinerary should include enough detail so that reviewers clearly understand what students will be doing each day.  Reviewers expect to see a strong academic component which reflects the learning outcomes stated on the syllabus and that the location is being used appropriately.    
•    Syllabus
•    Faculty-Led Questionnaire (located in the online application system)

Proposal Review and Approval
A STFL program is not only a collaborative effort between the program leader(s) and the UW-Platteville Education Abroad office, but also between the leaders(s) and their academic department. STFL programs should be seen as offerings of both the academic departments and the individual faculty members. It is important that faculty and staff consult with their department chair and college dean to discuss and outline the concept and program early in the process, and it is also important that the program is supported by the department and that other department faculty are willing to promote it as part of the department offerings.

Once completeded, the Education Abroad Program Coordinator will first look over your proposal to ensure that it is ready to be sent out for review. All program proposals must then go through a minimum of 4 levels of approval. Once your proposal has been approved at all levels, the Program Coordinator will open the application so that students may begin applying for your program. After the Program Coordinator, the 4 levels of approval are as follows:

1. Risk Management
2. Director of International Programs
3. Department, School, or Program Chair
4. College Curriculum Committee

However, if the STFL program is fulfilling a general education credit beyond the International Education requirement, the proposal will also need to be approved by the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UUCC).

There will be one reading at each level of approval.

The Program Coordinator will facilitate review with Risk Management (1) and the Director of International Programs (2). Once approval has been given by both Risk Managment and the Director of International Programs, faculty leader(s) must take their proposal to the appropriate department, school, or program Chair (3) and curriculum committee (4).

Development Timeline

Keep in mind that when planning a short-term faculty-led (STFL) program, the goal is to plan as far ahead as possible.  The following is an estimated timeline for program development (adapted from The Guide to Successful Short-Term Programs Abroad, Second Edition).

Campus Support and Program Development I (14-12 months pre-departure)
Determine program feasibility, make site visit, determine academic content/credit issues, detail budget and logistics, confirm program support on campus, secure program providers, draft marketing plan, and propose program using UW-Platteville Education Abroad's online application system Studio Abroad.

Campus Support and Program Development II (12-10 months pre-departure)
Establish program deadlines, begin publicity and recruitment, finalize itineraries, and confirm logistical arrangements.

Recruiting and Enrollment (8-3 months pre-departure)
Students are recruited, advised, and selected, deposits are collected.  Coordinate with program providers, travel agencies, etc. to reserve housing, group flights, and etc.

Payment Period I (90-60 days pre-departure)
Collect final payments and begin to pay program providers, airlines, and on-site organizations.  Cancel any unused reserved components or penalties will apply.
Payment Period II (60-30 days pre-departure)
Confirm visas are secured (if required).  Orientation, communication from faculty directors, lecturers, and registration takes place, contingency funds finalized, and airline tickets issued.  

Departure (3 hours before flight)
Have airport assistance for group to address last-minute problems such as forgotten passports or airport closures due to weather.

Submit financial paperwork and final reports.  Review student evaluations and hold debriefings with faculty directors, students, and UW-Platteville Education Abroad office.

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