How to Develop a Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program

Faculty-led study abroad programs are academic experiences that are initiated, organized, and carried out by WSU faculty members with assistance from the Office of International Programs.

Take a look at some of the outstanding Faculty-Led WSU programs in this education abroad list. Imagine a program that would fit your students’ needs—and be sure to contact the International Programs office to see how we can help create the program you have envisioned.

International Programs is here to help

Global Learning—a department in International Programs—is responsible for coordinating all WSU faculty-led study abroad programs. Faculty members thinking about developing a faculty-led program are encouraged to contact Global Learning as early as possible in the design/planning process. We suggest starting 18 to 24 months in advance.

Use the resources we have provided here to familiarize yourself with the process. And if you have any questions, please contact us.

Create your proposal online

Once you have an idea for your faculty-led program—where and when you want to go, your deadlines, how the process works, etc.—you can begin creating your proposal online. Just log in, click “apply now” and follow the instructions at the MyStudyAbroad proposal site.

Important:  Please note, only the person who initiates the proposal will have access to it.

Deadlines for program proposals

Proposals for faculty-led programs must be submitted to the Global Learning department by the deadlines listed below:

  • Fall programs: October 15
  • Spring/spring break programs: June 1
  • Summer programs: July 1

Experience has proven that programs that are approved and marketed at least 2 full semesters prior to the term of departure have better recruitment and are more successful at maintaining applicants needed to run the program.

Faculty members contemplating a faculty-led program are encouraged to contact the Global Learning department as early in the process as possible.

Suggested planning timeline

Proposal planning, approval, and submission

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 15-35.

The faculty director assesses the need for a program and the potential for sufficient enrollments.

Faculty director informs the Global Learning department of interest in faculty-led programming and receives a copy of the How to Design a Faculty-Led Program manual.

Faculty director drafts a program proposal and preliminary budget with assistance from Global Learning.

Global Learning department convenes an implementation team meeting to review program proposal and budget and to discuss commitment of staff and finances.

  • Team consists of college members (dean or dean’s representative, chair, faculty member(s), and finance officer) and International Programs members (Global Learning faculty-led program specialist, IP finance officer, and others as appropriate).

Dean and chair give written approval for program implementation.

Preparation for a Global Learning experience

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 37-80.

Faculty Director submits approved program proposal form and preliminary budget to Global Learning.

Global Learning and faculty director meet with WSU Risk Management Coordinator and Legal Counsel to review risk management and legal responsibilities and requirements.

Global Learning and faculty director determine if third-party provider (TPP) will be used and solicit bids. If so, bids will be collected and reviewed; TPP selected.

Finalize budget; budget certified by academic department and the Office of International Programs finance officers.

Global Learning develops contract with TPP.

  • Contract approved and signed by implementation team and WSU signature authority
  • Global Learning sends signed contract to TPP

Global Learning and faculty director develop marketing plan and determine if program will be marketed to non-WSU students.

Faculty director attends workshops on emergency preparedness, health and safety, financial procedures, and assessment of cross-cultural learning outcomes.

Recruit student participants

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 83-90 and p. 128-129.

Global Learning prepares program flyer, program poster, and student application.

Global Learning assists faculty director with program promotion through class visits and information sessions, flyers and posters, department notices and website, Global Learning Fair, and so on.

Students submit applications to Global Learning.

If eligible, non-WSU students who wish to participate in the program apply to WSU as non-degree students and obtain a WSU ID number.

All students obtain passports.

Final details and communication with students

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 59-81 and p. 91-107.

Applications close.

  • Global Learning and faculty director finalize program cost based on participant number and determine if program can go as proposed
  • Faculty director determines need for additional program staff (logistics coordinator)
  • Global Learning notifies implementation team of program status and final budget
  • Faculty director selects students (at department’s request, Global Learning can assist with student interviews)

Global Learning bills nonrefundable deposit and other program fees (not tuition) to student accounts according to schedule.

  • Student payments deposited in Global Learning account
  • Global Learning monitors student payments and notifies faculty director of outstanding balances

Third-party provider (TPP) invoices Global Learning for program costs; Global Learning uses program fees to make payments through WSU Travel Office.

Global Learning submits Program Expense Forms to Financial Aid.

Global Learning submits Student Conduct Forms to Student Conduct.

Faculty director instructs students to make travel arrangements independently or, if group travel is arranged, to purchase tickets on schedule with group travel agent.

Global Learning advises students on passports and visa acquisition, course approvals, and other preparations.

WSU International Travel Clinic advises students on health concerns and immunizations.

Global Learning completes Course Notification Forms to place program courses on the DDP campus; faculty director secures appropriate departmental signatures.

Global Learning submits form to Center for Distance and Professional Education. (In rare cases, department may decide to run the program through Summer Session. If so, departments are responsible for completing all Summer Session paperwork in a timely fashion.)

Students enroll in program classes on the DDP or Summer Session campus, as appropriate.

Faculty director holds program pre-departure orientation(s) with Global Learning assistance as desired.

Purchase airfare, secure travel advance, receive faculty notebook

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 109-117.

If faculty airfare and expenses are to be covered by tuition, department purchases faculty airfare and completes Travel Authority (TA) so that faculty director can obtain travel advance.

If faculty airfare and expenses are to be covered by student fees, Global Learning purchases faculty airfare and completes Travel Authority (TA) so that faculty director can obtain travel advance.

Global Learning holds orientation for faculty director(s) and distributes Faculty Notebook.

Students complete first part of Assessment of Global Learning Outcomes.

Receive travel advance, pick up cell phone, have a safe journey

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 119-121.

Global Learning will remain in contact with faculty director to assist with problems or crisis management.

Turn in receipts

Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 44-46.

Faculty director(s) and/or logistics coordinator submit receipts and Travel Expense Voucher to the person who completed the pre-departure Travel Authority.


Review the Faculty-Led Programs Manual, p. 110 and p. 143-149.

Students complete program evaluation and final part of Global Learning learning outcomes assessment.

Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology guides faculty director and Global Learning through rating session of Learning Outcomes.

Global Learning and faculty director evaluate program design, implementation, costs, and outcomes and prepare written recommendations for future programs.

Faculty director and Global Learning discuss program evaluation with implementation team.

Global Learning holds reentry programs for students.

Global Learning provides students opportunities to work with Global Learning office as peer advisors.

Faculty director may ask students to help with recruitment process for next program; Global Learning will train students to develop and deliver high quality and accurate presentations.


Got questions? We have answers. Below, you will see responses to a few frequently asked questions from faculty interested in developing a faculty-led study abroad program.

As always, you are welcome to contact Global Learning with questions.

It depends on the length of your contract at WSU, how your department determines summer salary for 9-month positions, and if this is a summer program.

If you are on a 12-month contract, you will not receive additional salary while leading a study abroad program.

If you are on a 9-month contract, you will receive a salary based on your unit’s summer session compensation model.

If you lead a program over an academic break (spring break, winter break, Thanksgiving), you will not receive additional compensation.

Faculty director expenses are considered part of the instructional expenses and are paid through tuition income or participation fees.

Faculty directors do not pay air fare or living expenses out of pocket.

Faculty directors are limited to per diem rates unless there are special circumstances that warrant pre-approved additional expenses.

As the program proceeds to the proposal phase, you will be working with your area finance officer, department chair, and dean’s office. You will be required to receive approval from your chair and dean prior to marketing your program and recruiting students. See “Education Abroad: How to Design a Faculty Led Program.”

The benefits of study abroad are almost innumerable. A few benefits include:

  • Students become much more marketable
  • Students gain cultural understanding, global perspective, and confidence
  • Students learn how to interact with other cultures
  • Students strengthen their foreign language proficiency
  • Students builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Students develop flexibility, creativity, and team-working skills

Find additional information at:

Contact us

For questions regarding faculty-led programs, please contact a Global Learning staff specialist.
Fax: 509-335-2677
Bryan Hall 105

Washington State University
International Programs
Global Learning Department
P.O. Box 645110
Pullman, WA 99164-5110