New Program Development

If you begin thinking about creating a study abroad program early enough, it has a good chance to be developed into a high-quality program that is managed responsibly from the standpoint of risk management as well as a successful and exciting experience for your learners.  Ideally, it is advisable to start two years in advance of your study abroad trip. You might have already thought about the content and the destination for your program with a vision in your mind of how they will enrich students with new learning ideas. Here are some other suggestions you might consider.


Short-term study abroad programs can vary from 7 to 28 days in length and be one- or multiple-country based.  The program can be offered as a one-, two-, or three-credit academic course in one subject or in an interdisciplinary format.  Classes are conducted in a traditional face-to-face classroom, online, and in international on-site settings.

UW Colleges faculty and staff staff have already developed and conducted a number of study abroad projects to China, Peru, Egypt, Costa Rica, and other destinations.  Contact the UW Colleges Study Abroad Coordinator for the information on the past and current programs and other useful materials.

Additionally, the UW System database provides current information on the existing study abroad programs offered through all UW System schools that will be useful to explore. Various materials on the study abroad concept are available to help you develop a successful program and they are compiled in the Resources for Faculty on the UW Colleges Study Abroad website.  


There are certain details to keep in mind when designing a study abroad program. Please refer to the Study Abroad Faculty Manual to learn about the cosiderations to keep in mind when doing the background work on your idea.

Deadline to submit a proposal for a new academic study abroad program is October 1.

(Please review Guidelines for a new study abroad program and an Application form.)

Roles of Study Abroad Faculty/Staff Leader

Faculty/Staff Leaders:

Academic role:

  • Instruction: develop curriculum, syllabus, learning plan and assessment tool; obtain an approval for conducting a study abroad program course (in collaboration with the Department Chair and Dean); design of pre-travel or post-travel course sessions offered in D2L format.
  • Overall trip planning: coordinate in-country itinerary development (in collaboration with the Study Abroad Office and in-country partners); develop country-specific orientation materials; prepare communication plan for all involved.
  • Care of Participants: oversee students’ arrival and housing; plan and conduct pre-departure and on-site orientations; tend to participants’ health and welfare while overseas (24/7 availability); facilitate learning while abroad.

Logistical role:

  • serve as a liaison between participants, parents, the Study Abroad Office and Dean;
  • communicate information about the program to the parents of participants;
  • prepare for and responding to emergencies, as outlined in the UW Colleges Emergency Procedures.
  • handle behavioral problems according to established procedures;
  • coordinate contact information each day/night of the tour (i.e. who is in what room, etc.) and disseminate that information to all;
  • maintain clear financial records, including keeping track of expenses and saving receipts;
  • list and gather gifts and tips to take to tour guides, trip coordinators, drivers, host families, etc.;
  • optional: arrange identifying t-shirt or other article of clothing for participants (to help those who join the group at mid-points and to keep everyone together in airports);
  • communicate with the UW Colleges Study Abroad Office regarding developments concerning the program and participating students  and document events and activities as well as problems;
  • submit final grades and final report.


Be prepared for anything when on a study abroad program: delayed or missed flights, lost luggage, family emergencies, illnesses, and transportation or accommodation problems. The following three steps are suggested in any risk management approach:

  1. Determine what can go wrong (such as health issues, personal conduct, crime, political violence).
  2. Determine what can be done to prevent problems (i.e., ways to avoid problems through training/education, waivers/legal protection, purchasing sufficient insurance, etc.).
  3. Determine how you will deal with problems should they arise (such as emergency response protocol, purchasing sufficient insurance coverage, or contacting insurance representatives, etc.).

Additional resources on risk and liability as well as information on the country of the program can be found on the following web sites:

The better you are equipped with assessing risk, the faster and more effectively you will be able to manage it should it arise.

More information can be found in the Faculty Manual.