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Academic Coordination

Curriculum Integration & Academic Planning

Intercultural Learning

Facilitator to Student Ratios

International Requirement

Setting Up Courses & Course Registration

Instructor of Record & Submitting Grades

Minimum Credits

Monitoring class lists

Curriculum Integration & Academic Planning

Learning Abroad Programs are credit-bearing activities.  Programs will not be approved until course offerings are identified by the faculty director and approved by the sponsoring departments. As you develop your coursework, be sure that you include the appropriate contact hours to satisfy the credits earned by students.

Curriculum Integration and Course Selection

In determining what courses you would like to offer, departments are strongly encouraged to implement a curriculum integration approach to programming. Curriculum Integration is defined as a strategic, coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate policies, programs, and initiatives to position colleges and universities as globally-oriented and internationally-connected institutions (Knight, 2015).  

The most successful programs are integrated directly into the curriculum of the sponsoring department.  Another option is to offer courses that fulfill general education requirements.  This provides an incentive for students outside of your department to consider committing to the program. 

When selecting courses, consider the advantages and opportunities of teaching and learning in the host country. Be sure to offer courses that take advantage of possible field trips, local culture, and expertise within the host country. You may wish to speak with faculty members who have led programs in the past. They can be very useful in sharing information and providing you with insights based on their experiences.

Developing a Syllabus

Teaching on a Learning Abroad Program is different than teaching on campus.  For that reason, we strongly encourage faculty to think very strategically about their syllabi. Any aspect of the program you intend to factor into the final grade should be included in the syllabus. This includes behavioral expectations, field trips, and guest speakers. Keep in mind that many students have never been on a class field trip and do not necessarily understand what is expected of them, and culture shock can affect a student’s classroom behavior as well. Putting behavioral expectations in your syllabus sends a clear message to your students that their behavior and participation will impact their grades. Sample syllabi are available to help you. Information on dealing with behavioral issues is found in the Addressing Behavioral Issues section.

Textbooks and Canvas

Order textbooks and prepare class outlines/handouts through your department, just as you do for on-campus courses. Advise students about textbooks and other materials to be purchased before departure. If you will distribute course materials on site, ensure that the cost of these materials is covered in the program fee. Faculty can also use Canvas as an online platform for electronic course materials and other course activities. If you intend to use Canvas, make sure that you and your students will have access to the internet in the host country.

Non-billable Academic Expenses

If there are costs associated with the academic portion of the program that are not included in the billable program cost, we strongly encourage you to incorporate these costs into the non-billable costs listed in the program budget. You may also write them into your syllabus. Examples of these expenses include:

  • Fees for internet access that is required for classwork but is not included in the billable program cost
  • Transportation costs that are not included in the billable program cost, but are required for field trips or assignments


Learning Abroad courses are required to integrate intercultural learning into the program curriculum.  This practice:

  • Improves the student experience
  • Supports program improvement over time
  • Aligns with scholarly research about how study abroad facilitates intercultural competence
  • Enables the University to respond to questions from accreditation agencies

University uses the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) as a basis for qualitatively and quantitatively assessing the effectiveness of intercultural learning in Learning Abroad Programs.  The IES is a highly respected and scientifically validated instrument.  It measures 6 learning outcomes that support intercultural competence and provide different measures of a student’s level of intercultural competence before and after the program.

The IES quantitatively measures intercultural competence through an online survey instrument.  The instrument is administered through Terra Dotta during pre-departure orientation and in the returnee materials after the program ends.  The cost of the survey is folded into the Program Budget.  Students receive a personalized report to help them understand their strengths and weaknesses each time they take the assessment.  The instrument helps faculty understand the strengths and weaknesses of their program and pedagogy, anticipate student needs and challenges before departure, and serves as a basis for improving student learning over time.

The IES qualitatively measures intercultural competence through the IES Learning Outcomes & Qualitative Rubric.  Qualitative measures are derived from course activities during the Program.  Academic learning outcomes have been established for each of the competency areas integrated into the IES, and a sample rubric is provided to help faculty assess intercultural learning assignments within their courses.  At the end of the program, faculty will submit artifacts to demonstrate how the Program courses supported the learning outcomes.  This process is not punitive.  It helps the University identify teaching methods and activities that best support students and improve student learning.

To prepare your course, review the established learning outcomes and determine which 3 make the most sense for your program, intended activities, and course content.  The learning outcomes are:

  • Recognize, articulate, and assess the impact of personal and cultural values on own actions, perspectives, and interactions with others
  • Consider the merit and value of cultural ideas, beliefs, and context that are different from own
  • Actively seek out opportunities to learn about different cultural concepts in order to better understand people and places impacted by a culture or cultures
  • Develop and maintain relationships with people from the host culture leading to mutual respect and an understanding of cultural values
  • Critique the validity and impact of cultural stereotypes and adopt positive attitudes toward cultural difference
  • Devise and implement appropriate behavioral responses to cultural conflict and challenging situations

A sample rubric is available to help you develop and grade assignments.  You may need to adapt the rubric based on your specific assignments and host country.  Artifacts and class activities vary by discipline and host country, but common examples include assignments, writing samples, journals, vlogs, blogs, student videos, recorded presentations, etc.

Learning Abroad provides each first-time course instructor with a complimentary IES assessment.  This enables faculty to interact with the assessment before assigning it to students.  Contact Learning Abroad to access the survey after your proposal has been approved.

Facilitator to Student Ratios

To control costs for students, the University has established a facilitator to student ratio for Faculty-led Programs.  Facilitators include, but are not limited to, Faculty Directors, Co-directors, Program Managers, Instructors, and Program Assistants.  Every program is required to have a Faculty Director.  The following facilitator to student ratios apply:

Number of Committed Students Facilitator
14-23 1 Faculty Director + 1 other Facilitator
24-35 1 Faculty Director + 2 other Facilitators
36-47 1 Faculty Director + 3 other Facilitators
48-59 1 Faculty Director + 4 other Facilitators
60-71 1 Faculty Director + 5 other Facilitators
72+ 1 Faculty Director + 6 other Facilitators

If there is a specific reason to add additional facilitators, please let Learning Abroad know. We will evaluate whether we can support additional facilitators on a case-by-case scenario.

Additional facilitators can participate in a Learning Abroad Program, but the costs for their participation cannot be included in the Billable Program Costs.  Additional facilitators are responsible for acquiring the necessary funding to cover their own costs.

As you develop your program coursework, be sure to design the Program to accommodate these parameters.  If more than one facilitator is needed for the academic component of your Program, consider combining in person and online learning structures that enable students to meet the academic requirements of the Program.

International Requirement

All students who earn a minimum of 3 credits on an approved Learning Abroad Program receive credit for the University of Utah International Course Requirement for graduation. Approved programs are listed in the Learning Abroad Program Search Search on the Learning Abroad website.

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Setting Up Courses & Course Registration

The process for setting courses and registering for classes varies based on the type of program. To learn more about setting up courses and course registration, click on the appropriate link below:

  1. Faculty led Programs
  2. Custom Programs Abroad

Courses and Registration for Faculty-led Programs

Courses for Faculty-Led Programs must be identified before the program can accept applications. This typically occurs 9-12 months before the term of the program.  To emphasize the importance of Learning Abroad coursework, our Program Search offers students the option to search for programs by courses.  The sooner you identify your program courses, the sooner students will be able to find your program based on their academic needs.

Requests to set up courses must be received well in advance. To request a course section, contact your Learning Abroad Budget Officer. Requests for course sections must be received by the following deadlines:

  • Fall Semester, Academic year, and Fall Break courses: February 1st
  • Calendar Year, Spring Semester, Winter Break, and Spring Break: June 15th
  • Summer: October 1st

Students register for Learning Abroad courses through CIS. Enrollment instructions are provided to students in the Attached Documents section of their Learning Abroad Program Application during the post-decision phase. Details on this process can also be found in the Learning Abroad Handbook..

Faculty-led Programs are eligible for a tuition discount. In order to receive the discount, courses must be set up by Learning Abroad. Only official program courses are eligible for the tuition discount. Independent studies and courses for individual students are not eligible for the discount. Courses must be taken during the same semester as the program. If a student does not attend the Program or withdraws from the Program, they are not eligible for the tuition discount and must drop the Program courses.

Courses and Registration for TATE Programs

Course set up is the responsibility of the sponsoring academic department. Be aware that the University has deadlines for setting up courses. Be sure that you and your student plan far enough in advance that you can set up the program courses for the appropriate term. Students are required to earn credit for their experience during the semester in which the program takes place. Failure to set up a course in the appropriate timeframe could result in cancelling the program and the loss of financial aid and scholarship funding.

Students register for these courses through CIS. It is the sponsoring department’s responsibility to provide students with enrollment instructions.

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Instructor of Record & Submitting Grades

All Faculty-led and TATE Programs earn University of Utah credit. As such, the faculty member coordinating the program typically serves as the instructor of record. At the end of the program, you must submit the course grades using the regular University system. A delay in grading can have severe impacts on your students! It can delay graduations and even cancel their eligibility for financial aid and scholarships. Contact our office if you have questions or concerns.

Minimum Credits

All learning abroad programs are credit-bearing. All participants are required to enroll in the courses associated with the program. Minimum credits are established on a program by program basis. Faculty should consider how credit hours impact a student’s eligibility for financial aid. In order to be eligible for financial aid, a student must earn a minimum of 12 credits during each semester of the academic year and a minimum of 6 credits in the summer

Monitoring class lists

It is very important that Faculty check their class lists to ensure that students have registered for the appropriate courses. Before departure, check the list to make sure that only students who have been accepted into your program are enrolled in your Learning Abroad courses. You may also wish to check these lists throughout the program to ensure that students maintain the correct enrollment. Notify our office if you or your students have any enrollment problems.

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Last Updated: 10/11/23