Study Abroad and Exchange Programs

Information for Faculty

Developing a Study Abroad Course

Any faculty member in any discipline can propose a study abroad course. Before formulating a proposal, the faculty member is encouraged to meet with the Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs to discuss his/her plans, to learn about the policies/procedures governing study abroad courses, and to map out a very rough budget for the course.

All proposed study abroad courses must be approved by the Study Abroad Advisory Council. Before a proposal is brought to the Council, it must also be approved by the faculty member’s departmental chairperson, college or school dean, and the Director of Study Abroad.

It is never too early to submit a proposal for approval. It is recommended that proposals be submitted at least nine (9) months before the course is to be offered. Proposals may be submitted as early as eighteen (18) months in advance. Proposals submitted six (6) months in advance may not be approved by the Study Abroad Advisory Council.

The Study Abroad Council will only consider complete proposals. It is expected that the faculty member will attend the Study Abroad Advisory Council meeting at which his/her proposal is considered. A complete proposal consists of two elements:

  1. A completed Study Abroad Course Worksheet [pdf]
  2. A course syllabus containing the following information:
    • Statement of goals and objectives for the course
    • Faculty contact information
    • Trip destination and duration
    • Assigned readings
    • Required assignments and activities
    • Specific grading standard
    • Student safety statement – This can be something as simple as: “Although London is a very safe city, it carries some risk. Therefore, students are advised to sightsee with a partner or group, and to be very cautious after dark.”
    • A statement acknowledging the tentative nature of the calendar
    • All statements and information that must appear on all Missouri Western syllabi (academic honesty, disability, attendance).

It is imperative that a Study Abroad course have as much academic rigor as any traditional on-campus course. If the academic content of the proposed course does not meet acceptable criteria, or if the syllabus does not adequately meet all of the aforementioned guidelines, then the course proposal will be returned to the faculty member for revision.

Upon approval of a study abroad course, the faculty member will work with the Study Abroad and Exchange Programs staff to determine the actual costs of the course. Missouri Western regulations require the Study Abroad and Exchange Programs staff to obtain three competitive bids for all major costs associated with the course – airfare, hotel, on-site transportation, etc. When these bids have been acquired, the faculty member will meet with the Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs and the Western Institute Financial Officer to establish a final budget for the course. Part of this process will involve determining the minimum enrollment figure required for the course to “make.” Once the budget and enrollment figure are finalized, they cannot be changed.

With final budget and enrollment figures, the faculty member and the Study Abroad and Exchange Programs Office can begin to actively recruit for the course.

It is imperative that the faculty member understand that if a study abroad course does not meet the minimum enrollment figure, then the course (or at least the travel portion thereof) can be cancelled at the discretion of the Director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs.

The faculty member must also understand that there is a considerable amount of paperwork that a student must complete in order to participate in a study abroad course. Most of the required forms can be found on this website. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all required paperwork is completed and on file in the Study Abroad and Exchange Programs Office three (3) weeks before the travel portion of the course. Any student failing to meet this deadline will not be allowed to travel. The faculty member is expected to clearly communicate this information to his/her students and to encourage them to comply with all set procedures in a timely fashion.