Program Development

Students abroad on a faculty-led program in Berlin.
Students abroad on a faculty-led program in Berlin.

Study Abroad & Global Engagement is committed to providing a wide range of programs which align with the academic mission of the University and increase access to international education opportunities for students of all disciplines and demographics.  Ideally, a broad offering of programs will increase the mix of students studying abroad such that it reflects the diversity of the student body on the Lawrence campus.   

Faculty-led study abroad programs offer unique opportunities to KU students and serve an important role in expanding access to education abroad.  In addition to linguistic, cultural, and comparative learning, faculty-led programs may offer:

  • Accessibility for those students facing curricular, extra-curricular, financial or personal constraints to longer duration study abroad; 
  • Unique curricular opportunities to study courses/disciplines not regularly offered at KU;
  • Industry visits and the development of professional connections;
  • Structured and highly supported international study opportunities for all students;
  • High-touch mentorship experiences with KU faculty and staff.

New program development is a highly collaborative effort between the faculty member(s), their academic department(s), and Study Abroad & Global Engagement. SAGE staff look forward to partnering with you to make new education abroad experiences available to your students.


Ready to get started?   Reach out to the KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement office to learn more about faculty-led program design and implementation, ask any questions you might have, and begin the development process. 

Study Abroad & Global Engagement provides support for faculty-led programs across three terms: Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Session.

Winter Break programs are typically 10-21 days and offer 3-6 credit hours taught by KU faculty members at international locations. Programs begin between late December and early January and conclude prior to the start of the on-campus spring term.  The application deadline for winter break programs is October 1.  Courses taught during the winter term are listed on a student’s spring academic record.  

Spring Break programs may be standalone or embedded within a spring semester on-campus course.  If standalone, programs are offered for 1-3 credit hours.  Embedded programs are typically incorporated into the spring course instructional hours for a total of three credits.  The application deadline for spring break study abroad programs is November 1 (to align with the spring enrollment cycle).  Courses taught during spring break are listed on the students spring academic record.  

Summer Session programs can range from 10 days to 8 weeks in duration.  Programs may be offered immediately following the end of the spring term (approximately mid-May) through to the weekend immediately preceding the start of the fall term (approximately mid-August).   The number of credit hours offered will vary by program, however all courses/programs must meet campus standards for the definition of a credit hour. In order for students to be eligible to receive financial aid in the summer, they must be enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit hours.   The application deadline for summer study abroad programs is February 15.

Faculty should consider each of the program elements below when designing faculty-led sudy abroad programs:


Study Abroad programs are academic courses delivered through formal and “field-based” instruction.  As such, student learning outcomes – both for the courses to be taught and the program as a whole – should be the central driver behind program design and delivery.  Following backward design principles, faculty should clearly define what it is that they want students to be able to do or to demonstrate by the time they have completed the proposed study abroad program.  With these outcomes in mind, faculty should then consider program location, duration, course elements, co-curricular activities, and program logistics and how these effectively work together to support student learning.  

In addition to student learning outcomes, faculty will determine the course numbers, titles, and credit hours to be offered on a study abroad program, bearing in mind the following: 

  • Study Abroad courses must meet campus standards for the definition of a credit hour, though the manner in which instructional hours are achieved may vary from on-campus courses.  
  • Prerequisites for courses taught on study abroad programs should match the on-campus requirements for the course. 
  • Courses may be cross-listed to increase the target audience and ensure academic alignment for students from multiple disciplines. 
  • New courses may require approval through the relevant campus curriculum committee and thus longer timeframes for program development.

Successful study abroad programs will feature:

  • Clear and thoroughly laid-out student learning outcomes that align with departmental curriculum and unit internationalization priorities under Jayhawks Rising.
  • Course content that is highly correlated to the geographic location, thus allowing students to maximize the learning achieved through local excursions, guest lecturers, and cultural immersion.
  • Courses that fulfill degree requirements such as major/minor required courses, major/minor electives, or KU Core goals. 
  • Program activities that provide opportunities for students to interact with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and abilities.


The role of the faculty director(s) on a study abroad program encompasses the traditional faculty responsibilities for course development, instruction and assessment, as well as the responsibility to serve as KU’s representative abroad in all other matters affecting the program and student participants, including student mental and physical health and well-being, student behavioral concerns and emergency management.  

All programs should have two responsible leaders for the duration of the program.   This may take the form of two KU faculty or staff members, a faculty member and a graduate student or professional staff, or a faculty member and an on-site partner (where the partner has agreed to assume leadership in the event of an emergency).  The rationale for this requirement is to ensure program continuity and quality of care for KU students in the event of an incident on-site involving either a student participant or the faculty director.  Where there are two KU faculty engaged in program leadership, roles should be clearly defined as either co-directors or primary and secondary leads.

Successful study abroad programs will feature:

  • A clear relationship to the sponsoring department. Program directors have an appointment in the sponsoring department (or an associated discipline), the program objectives fit with departmental goals/priorities, the coursework has been vetted and approved, and the department/school has approved the program proposal.
  • Program directors with strong knowledge of the host country, program location and local language or a local partner institution or organization with these skills and an established relationship to KU.
  • Program faculty/staff who maintain a consistent on-site presence with students.
  • A plan for continuity (department/faculty intend to offer this on a regular basis).

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

KU Study Abroad seeks to offer programs that are accessible to and supportive of the entire KU student body, including students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. We encourage program directors to create programs that are culturally immersive and welcoming, inclusive and supportive of all students. Faculty directors are encouraged to review KU’s resources on creating an inclusive syllabus and other resources available through KU’s DEIB Education & Resource portal plus KU Study Abroad’s Identity Abroad pages which provide insight into study abroad considerations for different student populations. 

Student Recruitment

Faculty and staff are the best recruiters for their programs given their knowledge of the course content and program location and their direct connection to students with interest in the topic area.  KU Study Abroad supports faculty/staff recruitment efforts by providing a standard set of marketing materials and services including creation of a program website, PDF and printed program brochure, promotion of the program at campus-wide study abroad events and program advising to students. Additional services such as posters or info sessions may be available upon request. Generally, study abroad programs require a minimum enrollment of 10-12 students to be viable.   

Successful study abroad programs will feature:

  • Coursework and complementary academic activities that will be attractive to a diverse KU student audience.
  • Unique and specific opportunities not currently available in the KU study abroad portfolio.
  • Programs aligned with KU’s DEIB "RISE" Strategic Framework
  • A motivated faculty director who will be available on-campus during key periods of the year for program promotion and student recruitment.

Health, Safety and Risk Management: 

The safety of KU students and faculty is of utmost importance. Working in collaboration with Study Abroad, faculty directors play an important role in managing student safety, from program development to on-site response and follow-up.  Faculty should become familiar with the health, safety and security context in their proposed destination through review of the U.S. Department of State, Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), country reports provided by SAGE staff, or other relevant resources and use this information to guide program planning and itinerary development. 

Successful study abroad programs will feature:

  • A thorough assessment of the risks associated with the country/countries to be visited and the specific program activities in consideration, as well as a plan to mitigate any known risks.
  • Faculty/staff and/or an on-site partner who are familiar with the proposed location and who display an understanding of the health, safety and security considerations related to the location, program inclusions, and today's college student.
  • A well-designed and supported on-ground itinerary, carefully planned to offer a safe and rewarding student experience, balancing academic goals, student health and well-being, and programmatic elements (cost, inclusions, etc.) 
  • Adequate insurance coverages for the program activities.
  • A thorough pre-departure orientation that informs students of academic requirements, program elements, behavioral expectations, health and safety considerations, and inclusivity abroad.  Programs should provide a minimum of 2 pre-departure orientation sessions (one led by Study Abroad; one led by faculty director) and one orientation upon arrival at the program location.

Coming soon!

A complete proposal packet consists of the following:

  • Completed proposal form.
  • Preliminary course syllabi for all program courses.
  • Tentative program calendar or itinerary including dates or number of days in all locations plus potential site visits, cultural events, guest lectures and other program activities. 

The proposal form should be signed by the department chair in advance of submission.  The signature of the department chair confirms that they have read the complete proposal and will support this study abroad program academically and financially. 

If a program involves faculty or coursework (for example, cross-listed courses) from more than one academic department, separate signature pages should be completed for each department. 

Proposals should be completed in collaboration with SAGE by the following deadlines:

  • May 15                  Winter Break/Spring Break programs
  • October 15      Summer programs

Development of successful faculty-led programs relies on collaboration between several parties, including the faculty director(s), staff from Study Abroad & Global Engagement, colleagues in the proposing department and/or college, and program partners abroad. The descriptions below provide a brief overview of each partner’s respective role. 

Study Abroad & Global Engagement 

The SAGE program coordinator and other SAGE staff members develop and manage the logistical arrangements for the program throughout the program cycle. The program coordinator is generally responsible for the distribution of the request for proposals and selection of an on-site partner, if needed; liaising with the selected on-site partners and making arrangements on behalf of the program; student advising; development of web and print materials and supporting faculty in program promotion and recruitment efforts; development of application portal and subsequent forms/materials; management of the program budget, billing, and financial transactions; pre-departure orientation programming; emergency support while students and faculty are abroad; and post-program evaluation. SAGE staff also provide guidance on risk factors, health and safety abroad, and established best practices in the field of international education. 

Faculty Director(s)

The faculty director(s) leads the academic aspects of the program and provides student support throughout the program cycle. In addition to the standard duties associated with teaching a course (syllabus development, textbook/materials selection, assessment, evaluations, etc.), the responsibilities of the faculty director(s) include completion of the program proposal; selection of academically relevant excursions, field trips, guest lecturers, etc.; active leadership in program promotion and recruitment; reviewing applications and recommending students for admission; and leading pre-departure orientations.  While abroad, in addition to teaching the course and attending all program-sponsored activities, the faculty director serves as the primary point of contact for students in need of academic, cultural, and/or personal guidance, both on a scheduled and emergency basis. 

Sponsoring Academic Department/School

The sponsoring department/school is responsible for ensuring the proposed courses meet the department’s educational goals, awarding credit for courses taught on the program, affirming that faculty/staff are qualified to lead the proposed program, setting up employment appointments and requesting salary for faculty director(s) and/or teaching assistants, scheduling courses and evaluating teaching and learning. The department is often also involved in program promotion, student recruitment, the provision of scholarships, or other related efforts in support of program operation.  

Host Institution / Program Provider

The on-site program partners may be accredited academic institutions, approved third-party study abroad providers, non-profit organizations, travel agencies, or other vendors. Depending on the structure of a particular program and the contract with the institution/organization, on-site partners may help develop the program itinerary; arrange housing, classroom space, transportation, and/or excursions; provide on-site cultural and city orientation; lead excursions and field trips; and serve as one on-site contact for non-academic student issues, including emergencies. 

Leadership of a study abroad program can benefit faculty in unique ways.  Through this experience, faculty may discover:

  • Opportunities to highlight and share their international expertise with undergraduate or graduate students; 
  • Opportunities to develop or strengthen collaborations with faculty or institutions abroad; 
  • Opportunities to teach new courses and to explore new teaching methodologies and practices;
  • Opportunities to develop deep and rich relationships with KU students;
  • Opportunities to pursue research interests abroad, or to explore new intellectual territory prior to or after the program

Salary for course instruction and/or travel expenses are also provided to program directors and staff.


Faculty salary for teaching and leadership of a study abroad program is determined by the academic department and the School in which the department resides.  Salary is requested during established budget calls for winter intersession and summer term.  Each of the KU Schools has established parameters for minimum/maximum program/course enrollment and faculty/staff compensation.  Faculty and department chairs should be in communication with their School budget officer for information on policies or procedures specific to their unit.

Additional Compensation

Most program-related expenses for faculty/staff are built into the program budget developed by SAGE.  In some instances, KU schools or academic departments may agree to provide financial support or grant funds for some or all expenses, thereby reducing fees charged to students and making programs more accessible.   In general, faculty directors and program staff will have the following expenses covered:

Airfare:  Round-trip airfare will be covered for faculty directors and program staff of study abroad programs.  Airfare will be paid at the economy rate from Kansas City to the program location for the dates of employment (generally the program dates), commensurate with the recommended itinerary provided to student participants.   Consistent with KU travel policies, all airfare must be booked through Concur/Collegiate Travel Planners (CTP). 

Faculty or program staff adding other employment-related travel paid from another funding source (research, conference, etc.) or personal travel to their flight itinerary will be responsible for any additional resulting costs due to deviations in the itinerary.  

Lodging: The program will pay for reasonable in-country accommodations for the faculty director and program staff.  Typically, this will be in the same facilities as student accommodations when booking hotels or in a furnished one-bedroom, apartment-style housing relatively close to student housing when students will be hosted in student apartments or homestays.

Faculty directors may request up to 3 nights (total) of additional housing for pre/post program work if the budget allows.  This request should be made at the time of budget development.

All housing expenses beyond the dates of the program + 3 nights will be considered personal travel and associated costs will be the responsibility of the faculty director.

Please note that all KU policies governing the use of private home rentals apply when booking accommodations for faculty directors of study abroad programs.  Specifically:

  • All rentals must include standard safety equipment, including a smoke detector, fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector.  No rental will be permitted in the absence of this verification.  
  • All rentals must include public liability insurance.  Both Airbnb & VRBO have public liability coverage in the amount of $1M as a part of the hosting agreement.  Any listing being considered through an alternate source will require evaluation by Global Operations & Security to ascertain public liability coverage amounts and limitations.  
  • KU employees must only solicit rentals of an entire home / apartment.  No rentals for an individual room in an occupied home will be permitted.  

In-country Travel Expenses

In-country travel expenses such as transportation and program-related activities (e.g. field trips and excursions) will be included in the program budget for faculty directors and program staff.

Per diem

Faculty directors and program staff will be provided a daily per diem of 50% of the posted State Department ‘Meals & Incidentals’ Per Diem for the program location(s), less meals included in the program itinerary.  Per diem is calculated at the 50% rate to ensure faculty are compensated for cost-of-living differentials resulting from travel and program leadership, while ensuring student program fees remain accessible.  

In the event of low program enrollment resulting in projected program deficits, SAGE may first look to reduce per diem expenses before cutting elements of the program that are key to student learning.  These decisions will be made in consultation with the faculty director as we explore options to maintain program viability.