As study abroad trends evolve every year, more colleges and universities are looking to expand their faculty-led programs to continue to be competitive in the globalized higher education system. Of all the students studying abroad in the 2016-2017 term, 64.6 percent participated in short-term study abroad programs less than eight weeks in length. With an increasingly diverse student body, short-term study abroad programs are more accessible to all students, and faculty-led programs offer students home university credit, familiarity with professors, and major-specific coursework.
If you want to learn more about why students are choosing short-term study abroad click here.
But how do you incentivize faculty to develop more short-term study abroad opportunities?
Make sure professors know the study abroad office is looking for new proposals for faculty-led study abroad programs. Many professors might already be interested in teaching abroad and traveling, and some might even have classes in mind that would fit well with an abroad location. In order to build awareness, send out emails to department heads, post on the study abroad office website and social media accounts, and consider having an information session for potential professors.
Evaluate majors and departments that are in need of more study abroad opportunities and contact the dean of each department to nominate professors that have shown exemplary work and student engagement.
Benefits to Professors
Define the university specific benefits a professor might receive for planning and leading a program. Some ideas include:
- Service credit
- Tenure points
- Course releases
- Extra pay
- Boosted faculty evaluations
- Potential promotions
- Serve on a committee- International Programs Advisory Committee
- Spearhead an international project within a department
What makes a Professor the right fit?
There are many steps to evaluating a potential professor lead so coming up with a protocol and interview process is key. However, as a starting point, we have identified these three character traits that are essential for a successful faculty-led program. The professor should be engaging, flexible, and organized.
Engaging– Professors should have a good rapport with students and a history of being imaginative and interactive in lectures. A good sign would be if the class roster is filled consistently each semester and if the classes are continuously improved upon. Another benefit to this kind of teaching style is a built in marketing strategy for the professor promoting the study abroad session during classes over multiple semesters with interested students.
Flexible– Even the most supported and meticulously planned faculty-led program can incur problems and unforeseen obstacles during the course of the session. It is the lead professors responsibility to respond quickly to these situations with creative problem solving and an optimistic attitude for rolling with the unexpected.
Organized– The task list for a study abroad professor can be daunting. The “Faculty Led Study Abroad Handbook” does a great job of outlining the responsibilities from proposal planning to budgeting to running a study abroad trip. The myriad of deadlines must be adhered to on top of a professor’s course load so organizational skills are critical. It can take months to plan, market and execute a short-term study abroad program so it is imperative to find a professor that can commit to the process.
Why might professors not want to participate?
It can be overwhelming to create a new proposal or develop a faculty-led program from the ground up without support. One easy way to add support is to develop a database of information for new professors or current professors to easily gain information on proposal planning, budgeting, previous trip evaluations etc.
Another full-proof strategy to add support is to partner with a third party company to help plan and execute a program. Working with a company can help lessen the burden on professors and quickly create more study abroad opportunities, therefore increasing revenue for the study abroad department.
At 4.0 Tours we take care of all the logistical planning with our extensive contacts throughout Europe, so professors can focus on what they do best- designing a course plan and making the best educational experience possible for their students.
If you’re interested in speaking with us about helping design your faculty-led programs, contact us today.
Road Map To Your Faculty-Led Program
Planning your faculty-led study abroad program and don’t know where to start? As experienced tour providers, we’ve laid out your first three, simple steps that you need to begin thinking about for your program. Download our Road Map to Your Faculty-Led Program to get started today.