Creating Short Term Programs

Short term study abroad programs have grown drastically in popularity over the past several years.  While more and more students are being drawn into the world of international travel, constraints still remain. Faculty-led programs offer students an excellent opportunity to become immersed in a culture while also being short in duration, less costly, and perhaps a little less anxiety-inducing than a full semester program.

It is important for students to have global experiences, and it is essential that these international experiences be meaningful, integrating students into their host culture while also challenging their notions of their nation, citizenship, and identity.  Faculty-led programs have the capacity to do all of these things, and also offer students a safe place to reflect on the experiences that they are having while they are having them.  Whether students study biodiversity in Costa Rica or literature in London, they are undoubtedly being challenged in what they thought they knew about the world.  

Process for Creating New Faculty-Led Programs

As a general rule, faculty should give themselves plenty of time to develop, propose, recruit for, and plan overseas academic programs.  Usually, faculty need at least one year to develop 

Step One: Read the Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program Handbook

Proposing, planning for, and leading a faculty-led program is a significant time commitment.  Reading this document will help faculty understand the makings of a successful program and also the faculty role in developing and planning.  Contact OIE for an up-to-date copy.

Step Two: Assess the Need and Interest in Your Proposed Program

Is there a need and interest for the program that you are proposing?  Perhaps your program is aimed to fulfill a major requirement or take students to a new part of the world.  Discuss your new program with current students as well as your academic department.  Be sure that there is no overlap with other programs in the SUNY system. Your study abroad program should offer students a unique opportunity to study something new in a new place.

Step Three: Meet with OIE

If you are looking to create a new short-term study abroad program, it is important that you meet with the Office of International Education (OIE) to discuss your plans for an overseas academic program.  OIE can often give insight into current trends, best practices, and next steps for your proposed program.  

Step Four: Draft a Program Proposal

Submit a program proposal to the Office of International Education by the program submission deadline.  A program proposal includes:

  • Program Proposal Form, filled out to the best of your ability
  • Draft of course syllabus, including the following: general course description, outline of goals and learning objectives, course requirements, methods of instruction, description of evaluation methods, and dates of pre-departure orientation and debriefing sessions, as well as any other course meetings
  • Draft of itinerary, including travel dates, modes of transportation, course contact hours, reflection periods, and free time
  • Draft budget

Upon receipt of documents, the Office of International Education will review the documents and seek suggestions, as needed.  

  • Winter Programs: April 1
  • Summer Programs: November 1

Step Five: Fredonia Approval Process

You and OIE will begin working on having the program approved through channels at Fredonia.  For approval, the following individuals must approve the program.  Be ready for suggestions and additional revisions as you move through this process:

  • Office of International Education, Director and Assistant Director
  • Department Chair: Even if you are not proposing an overseas program that falls within your department, you still must submit the proposal to your Department to keep them informed throughout the process.
  • College Dean
  • Associate Vice Provost for Curriculum, Assessment, and Academic Support

Once all channels have approved the course, OIE will work with the Registrar to add the course to the catalog. If a specific course number is needed, the proposal will be sent to Academic Affairs Council for its approval. The course will then be ready for registration in the semester that you intend to run the program.

Step Six: SUNY Approval Process

Following approval from channels at Fredonia, OIE will submit the program for final approval through the SUNY system.  Submitting programs to the SUNY system means that they will receive a distinguishable program code and will also allow other SUNY students to participate in the program.  If additional materials are required for your program from SUNY system, OIE will notify you right away.

Additional Resources

Building Sustainable Programs Abroad, The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Curriculum Toolbox, The Forum for Education Abroad
Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, The Forum for Education Abroad


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