Students are responsible for coordinating the logistical aspects of TATE Programs including housing, excursions, onsite transportation, etc. However, the students you work with assume that you have expertise and connections in the host country that will assist them in making these arrangements. Be prepared to serve as an advisor on all logistical aspects of the Program.
The Faculty Director is responsible for coordinating the Program logistics. This includes making arrangements for:
- Schedule and coordinate excursions and tours
- Identify and arrange for guest speakers or lecturers
- Onsite transportation reservations
- Making housing reservations (student and faculty)
- Reserving classroom space
- Onsite transportation
The University recognizes that this can be a time consuming task. As such, we strongly encourage Faculty Directors to identify a travel agent or affiliate to coordinate these details. You can also contact an existing exchange partner to see if they are interested in working with you. Many universities abroad have offices specifically designated to provide assistance with group Programs. For recommendations on existing partnerships, contact Learning Abroad. You might also consider networking with international U of U alumni to assist with limited on-site issues and even serve as guest speakers. Contact the Office of Global Engagement for assistance in identifying our international alumni.
There are several factors to consider in selecting Program dates. The average Faculty-led Program lasts 3-4 weeks; however, some groups are onsite for as long as 8 weeks. Faculty Directors have flexibility in determining the length of their Program, but be sure that your Program is long enough to satisfy the contact hours required for the courses you are offering.
Learning Abroad Programs and any travel required to participate in the program cannot conflict with the on campus class or exam schedules. When Programs overlap with on campus academic calendars, students must request permission to miss classes, reschedule or retake tests, and turn in assignments on a special timeline. Faculty on our campus are extremely reluctant to grant these requests. Students are often faced with difficult and costly choices to resolve the situation. In some cases, students have had to rebook flights, accept lower grades, or face other consequences when they are absent for on campus academic obligations. To help you determine appropriate dates for your program, consider the following questions:
- When do final exams end in the term before your program takes place? When do classes begin in the term after your program takes place?
- If you’re offering a program over fall or spring break, when does the last class end before the break begins? When do classes resume after the break is over?
- Does the start date or end date of your program require students to book flights that will conflict with on campus academic obligations?
To help you answer these questions, please refer to the Academic Calendar provided by the Registrar’s Office. Learning Abroad is happy to assist you in identifying program dates that do not conflict with on campus calendars. Additionally, Programs that take place over the summer should consider the schedule for summer sessions. Many students intend to take classes on campus during the summer in addition to learning abroad. Scheduling your summer Program so that students can still take advantage of on campus course offerings will help your recruitment efforts. Contact your Learning Abroad Coordinator if you have questions or concerns.
Legal Contracts and Agreements
As you coordinate your Program, it is likely that the University will need to sign contracts, agreements, or MOUs with the agencies assisting you onsite. Learning Abroad can assist you in obtaining permission for these agreements.
It is important to recognize that there are legal ramifications to signing an agreement on behalf of the University. To ensure that any documents meet the U’s criteria, Learning Abroad uses the procedure below.
- Obtain the agreement from the organization you are working with abroad.
- Review the document. Make sure that all dates, numbers, and terms are accurate. If the document is not written in English, please obtain an English translation.
- Send the agreement to the Director for Learning Abroad. Digital copies are fine at this stage.
- The Director for Learning Abroad will review the document for any red flags. If there are no red flags, Learning Abroad will send the document to University Counsel for review. If there are concerns about the contents of the document, the Director will reach out to the Faculty Director for clarification.
- After receiving approval from University Counsel, the Director for Learning Abroad will sign the agreement on behalf of the University. Our office will send the signed copy to our counterparts abroad and notify Faculty Directors that the agreement was signed.
Be aware that this process can be lengthy. On average, the process takes 4-6 weeks.
We strongly encourage all Faculty Directors to incorporate excursions into the academic content of the Program. These excursions are often the highlight of the Program for many students and serve to enhance student learning onsite. If you include excursions as part of the course and the Program cost, they should have academic relevance. Ensure that they are academically-focused or culturally relevant, not merely tourism. Writing these activities into your syllabus and requiring accompanying assignments will make students take these experiences more seriously and improve the quality of the classroom dialogue. For more information on creating a solid academic foundation for your Program, visit the Academic Coordination section of this guide.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of injury to travelers abroad. When arranging transportation, use licensed and insured companies. Verify that all vehicles have working seatbelts. When contracting for transportation, keep in mind possible special needs (e.g., physical needs, needs among group members, and interaction with host nationals) of students. Transportation is covered in detail in the Emergency Response & Preparedness section of this guide.
We do not recommend that Faculty Directors arrange group flights. There are several reasons for this recommendation.
- Application deadlines are often too late to ensure that you will have enough students to be eligible for a group flight.
- Most students intend to do independent traveling before or after their Program. This reduces the number of students who will actually book a group flight.
- Group flights are often more expensive than purchasing an individual flight.
- Many students use buddy passes or frequent flyer miles; which are not eligible for group flights.
- The billing and withdrawal & dismissal policies of the University are not conducive to making deposits for group flight contracts.
- The refund timelines of airlines are not consistent with Learning Abroad withdrawal & dismissal penalties. As a result, the Program budget usually ends up with a deficit when group flights are used.
These elements make group flights unnecessary and impractical for most Programs. Please note that Learning Abroad does not serve as a travel agency. If you want to coordinate a group flights, we encourage you to contact the University Travel Office for recommendations. If you choose to coordinate a group flight, DO NOT purchase tickets on behalf of students. You will be financially liable if a student withdraws from the Program or if their checks bounce.
Faculty Directors are responsible for identifying and arranging student housing. The University recognizes that this can be a challenging task. As such, we strongly encourage Faculty Directors to identify a partner university, travel agent, or affiliate to coordinate these details. Contact your Learning Abroad Coordinator for suggestions.
When selecting onsite facilities, there are several factors to consider. Consider possible accessibility issues for students with disabilities when selecting housing, classrooms, field trip destinations, etc. If you have students who intend to bring partners or dependents, please review the policy on Non-Participant Travel. Keep in mind that University policy prohibits unmarried students of the opposite sex from sharing the same sleeping quarters.
If a student requests assistance with on-site housing arrangements, before or after the Program dates, you may provide the student with contact information. However, neither you nor Learning Abroad can make specific arrangements for students prior to or after the official Program dates. Providing services outside of formal Program dates can lead to liability risks for you and for the University. Information on independent travel arrangements can be found in the Learning Abroad Handbook.
Faculty Directors should NOT share accommodations with students. This exposes you and the University to unnecessary liability. In general, Faculty Directors should not share apartments or rooms with Program Assistants either. If the Program Assistant has academic responsibility and potential influence on grades, the Program Assistant should not be housed with students.
While abroad, be aware and take note of accessibility for students with disabilities. Although you may not have a student with disabilities on your current Program, this information may prove useful in the future.
Communicating with Family Members
Like any other University Program, Learning Abroad Programs are subject to FERPA and HIPPA. As a Faculty Director, you should NOT make direct, initial contact with any student's family members without the student's written consent. Whenever possible, the student should communicate with their family members directly. When communicating with family members, we recommend the following guideline: If the information is not available to the public on the Program webpage or Learning Abroad website, or if it is password-protected by any University system, the information should not be provided to family members without the student’s written consent.
It is not uncommon for a student’s family to call Learning Abroad for information about their student. If a student is ill or injured, even if it's not an emergency, please contact the U’s Global Risk Manager so that we are informed. Remember, a parent or spouse is not necessarily the student's emergency contact. Emergency contacts are listed in the pre-decision steps of the student’s online Program Application. If a student is hurt or injured, encourage the student to inform their family members, but this disclosure is ultimately up to the student.