Study Abroad

Faculty FAQs

Welcome fellow world travelers!

Thank you for your interest in leading a study abroad program. Leading a program like this can be a very rewarding experience for both faculty and students. The MSMC Faculty FAQ Guide provides you with helpful information on how to get started, along with important issues when taking students abroad. Our office is happy to offer support in a variety of ways.

PDF Download: MSMC Faculty FAQ Guide


In Country

Re-Entry to the U.S.

Additional MSMC Policies






How do I propose a course for an established summer study abroad program?
The call for course proposals is sent out at the end of the preceding academic year to the faculty listserv. Final proposals are due on or around August 15.

Attached to the email call there will be a “Guidelines for Proposal” document as well as a “Faculty Rights and Responsibilities” document. The guidelines are modeled after the forms used by the MSMC Curriculum Committee for campus-based course proposals and address such questions as the relevance of the course to the site for which you are proposing; what type of pre-requisites, if any, are there for the course; whether the course is approved for cross listing, etc. This form is designed to give the Study Abroad Academic Steering Committee the most information possible about your goals and aspirations for your course. While a full syllabus is not necessary at the proposal stage, the more information that you submit the better.

The “Faculty Rights and Responsibilities” form is to be read and signed by whoever will be teaching the course; in the case of a team taught course, both professors must sign individual documents. This document gives you a basic outline of what the benefits of teaching abroad may entail and also what you can expect to be responsible for prior to, during, and after the program. All of the relevant family and travel policies are contained in that document and are updated as needed. A new signature will be required by the faculty member if a revision is needed after the original submission date. These policies will be upheld and little to no deviation will be allowed except in extraordinary circumstances.

What type of course is the OIP looking for?
The OIP and the Study Abroad Academic Steering Committee are looking for all types of courses! Courses that can be cross-listed are given precedence and our most popular courses tend to be those that can fill either upper level elective or core requirements. Because study abroad is just as much about faculty development as it is about students, we want the courses to be a reflection of your passions and academic interests.

What’s the timeline?
Course proposals are due on August 15, and faculty will be informed by mid-late September if their course has been approved for the upcoming summer. Once you have been approved to teach, recruitment begins immediately. Because study abroad is enrollment based, there is always a small chance that your course will under enroll and therefore not be viable for a summer session. Should this look to be a possibility, you will be notified immediately so that further recruitment efforts can be taken. Final decisions on under-enrolled courses will be made by March 15.

How likely am I to get accepted to teach?
It depends on the number of proposals that are submitted for your site in any given year. The OIP and the Study Abroad Academic Steering Committee aim to send both one returning faculty member and one new faculty member per year. Courses that can appeal to the widest range of student are more likely to be approved than those that are major specific.

Can I propose an interdisciplinary course? How do I do that?
Prior to submitting your course proposal, please contact the head of the division with which you wish to work. All courses much receive divisional approval from both your department chair and from the one with which you have the proposed cross listing.

Whom can I speak with about their experience abroad?
For a full list of prior faculty members, please contact the OIP. We have numerous faculty who will be able to give you details about programming, planning, travel, student life, and expectations for your program.

What are the benefits of teaching this course for me professionally and personally?

  1. Faculty development
  2. Compensation
  3. Salary: All faculty members are paid the appropriate salary for their promotion and tenure level as they would be for any three credit course housed at MSMC. Contracts are drawn up and signed prior to the start of the program.
  4. Airfare: All faculty airfare and ground transportation relevant to the program is included. MSMC is happy to aid in making arrangements for family members, but all expenses will be borne by the faculty member.
  5. Housing: Appropriate housing is guaranteed to all faculty. Housing type and style will vary from site to site, and in rare cases, all faculty will be housed in individual rooms in a shared apartment. Any changes that are requested (multiple rooms for family, additional apartments, etc.) will be borne by the faculty member exclusively.
  6. Stipend: Faculty are entitled to a $300 USD reimbursement at the completion of their program based on submitted receipts. There is no additional compensation for travel including but not limited to expenses related to transportation to and from the airport or mobile phone service while abroad.

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I’ve been accepted to teach on a short term study abroad program! Now what?
Congratulations! We are excited to have you on an MSMC summer program and we are looking forward to working with you. Enrollment and adequate marketing is crucial to the success of the program and study abroad trips that enroll fewer than 8 students will not run. The best marketing is word of mouth and you, as faculty, have the greatest amount of student contact. Please speak with your classes about the opportunities available to them. Mention study abroad to your advisees, etc. The OIP will be happy to provide you with flyers for all the programs. OIP also runs monthly coffee houses during the fall and spring semesters, as well as info sessions that are program specific. There is also a weekly table set up outside of The View with study abroad and international program information. If you are interested in speaking about your course at any of these events, please contact the OIP to make arrangements. While faculty are not required to participate in these activities, it benefits your program enrollment to do so. If there are any other events or programs you believe would benefit your student recruitment efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact the OIP.

When will I know how many students are enrolled in my class?
Enrollment numbers will be confirmed 3-4 weeks prior to departure. Once students are officially enrolled and the online course component has begun (2 weeks prior to departure) neither students nor faculty may switch their courses or enrollments.

Are there pre-departure events that I must attend?
Yes. Faculty are required to attend the first site specific orientation for accepted students that occurs in the spring semester. If possible, these orientations will be scheduled to fit your classroom schedule; however, if you are unable to attend due to a course conflict then you are considered excused. The second orientation is faculty-led. At this orientation, you will be expected to make a presentation to the students introducing yourself, your course, and why it is relevant to the program site, your travel experience, and your goals for the program. Feel free to include whatever information you deem relevant at this point, including personal experience and goals.

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What are the expectations for course work?
All courses must meet the minimum number of contact hours for accreditation. This means all classes must account for 45 hours of classroom time over the month-long program. In order to reduce the number of hours spent in the classroom, an online component may be added to your course for the 2 weeks prior to departure. You are responsible for setting up the online course with the Office of Online Education. Additionally, field trips and site visits count towards the 45 hour requirement for your course.

What about assessment?
Many professors choose to maintain the same or similar methods of assessment that they would utilize in any other course that they teach. Your choice as to your assessment methods are entirely your own.

What about information on active learning?
There is the expectation that you will utilize methods of active learning while abroad. This may mean you undertake field trips, site visits, or arrange for cultural exchange that is relevant to your course. The OIP will do its best to aid in funding any active learning activities related to course work, but there is no guarantee of financial support. Any field trips that will cost the student extra money must be made optional to the course and cannot impact the student’s grade at the end of the program.

Are there volunteer opportunities?
The OIP is happy to help arrange any and all relevant volunteer and service learning experiences in country. Faculty may make this component mandatory to their course if there is viable academic reason to do so.

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Who are these people and what do they do?
Program providers are responsible for any and all logistics of the program once you are in-country. They are there to support you and the students however you need academically, socially, and culturally. They are your first contact once you have arrived in-country and can aid you with any difficulties you may encounter while abroad. The program managers to whom you will be introduced over the course of the year can also help you with logistics such as arranging field trips and transportation, as well as answer any questions you might have about your country site prior to your departure. You are welcome to contact these program managers whenever you require information, but we ask that you include the OIP in all your email correspondence.

There is a problem with my classroom space, living arrangements, class time, etc. Who can help me?
Your on-site program director will be able to help you resolve any issues you may have while on-site. If they are unable to help you themselves, they will direct you towards the appropriate person with whom you can speak.

What kinds of events are there for me and the students to attend? Who organizes them? Who pays for them?
Every site is different! Your on-site directors can provide you with the most current information for free events and activities, as well as help you arrange optional academic trips should you decide to do so. Some sites will make a list of cultural activities available to you prior to your departure whereas some may not. These lists will be available to you 5-10 days prior to your departure and are subject to change. We do not recommend planning academic activities around these events for that reason. Lists of events will be sent to you by the OIP as soon as they are available. Many of these events will be free of charge or may have a small fee associated with materials.

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What is considered an emergency?
Emergencies can include, though are not confined to, the following:

  1. Physical assault
  2. Disappearance, hostage-taking, or kidnapping of a student
  3. Robbery
  4. Sexual assault or rape
  5. Serious illness, physical or emotional
  6. Threat of, or attempted, suicide
  7. Significant accident and/or injury
  8. Hospitalization for any reason or length of time
  9. Terrorist threat or attack
  10. Local political, natural, or man-made crisis/disaster in the vicinity of student accommodations or classrooms that could affect the students' safety or well-being
  11. Arrest or questioning by the police or other security forces
  12. Any legal action (lawsuit, deposition, trial, etc.) involving a student
  13. Death of a student

Pre-departure loss of a passport or documents is not considered an emergency. OIP will assist students or leaders to the best of our ability, but response may be limited to business hours.

What do I do in a general emergency?
In an emergency, your first responsibility is to safeguard the safety and well-being of program participants. Do whatever is necessary to ensure this, whether this means obtaining prompt and appropriate medical attention, U.S. Embassy intervention, or police protection. In case of a terrorist attack, gather at the pre-arranged location to account for all students and follow the directives of the local authorities. You will be reimbursed for all expenses relating to the management of an emergency.

When you have done all that you reasonably can do to ensure the students' well-being, immediately contact the MSMC Emergency Abroad line at 845-416-2977 or campus security at 845-569-3200. The Safety and Security Desk is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will contact the appropriate OIP staff member if you have not been able to reach them directly. This step is critical so that we can assist you with decision-making and be fully informed of the crisis. During a crisis, OIP is the principal conduit of information for the MSMC upper administration and the media, so timely and accurate information from on site is critical.

Follow-up communication with program leaders will occur primarily via telephone and via email (provided that Internet access is still available on site) unless otherwise specified. Therefore, it is critical that program leaders regularly check their MSMC email accounts for updates and instructions. Please keep a written trail of all communications and decisions regarding the emergency at hand.

OIP will notify the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate about the crisis and inform you of whatever procedures they may require if there is a continuing risk to the welfare of the students (during a terrorist threat, for example).

After OIP is informed of an emergency, and after we consult with you and other appropriate individuals on site, we may, depending on the acuteness of the crisis, fax or email you a description of the course of action that you and the students will need to follow. Should a student not be able to continue with your group, leave the student with an MSMC-appointed liaison to assist with the situation. Notify OIP and tell us who is providing assistance. It is not appropriate to appoint another student as the liaison.

During a political crisis or other emergency during which foreigners in general or U.S. citizens in particular may be at risk, tell students to keep a low profile and to not travel in large groups. Tell them to avoid demonstrations, confrontations, or situations where they could be in danger; to avoid behavior that could call attention to themselves; to avoid locales where foreigners or Americans are known to congregate; and to remove signs, luggage tags, and clothing that would label them as Americans. You may wish to have a pre-arranged plan requiring that all students return to their residences during such a crisis.

Experts say that during a political emergency, it is unwise to change locations. Therefore, it is unlikely that students would need to be evacuated from a site abroad. However, leaders and students would be brought home if a situation were to deteriorate to the point where the degree of risk to students was deemed unacceptable. If this were to happen, the OIP Director, in consultation with you, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the U.S. Department of State, and appropriate MSMC personnel, would develop an evacuation plan in as much detail as possible. This plan would be transmitted to you in confidence, and OIP would continue to work closely with you throughout the process.

In the event of a significant crisis, individual students have the option of returning to the U.S. Every reasonable effort will be made to allow these students to continue their academic program on campus, and OIP will work with the students regarding housing, financial issues, etc.

What do I do in a medical emergency?
In a medical emergency, including mental health emergency, seek appropriate medical care and contact the student's insurance company. This emergency number is on the students' insurance cards and the insurance company will accept collect calls. The insurance company can assist you and help coordinate the necessary arrangements including payment of fees on behalf of the student. Once you notify the insurance company, allow them to manage all arrangements. For medical and liability reasons, it is not wise to solicit outside input or take control of coordination. In any other sort of emergency, notify the local police about the situation if you and the U.S. Embassy believe this is appropriate, then follow the procedures that the police may require of you or the student.

Contact the MSMC Emergency Abroad line at 845-416-2977 to report the incident. All hospitalizations of any length are reported to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, as well as the VPAA, and Dean of Student Affairs (though the identity of the student is not revealed). Unless the student's situation is life threatening, do not make contact with the student's parents without their permission. This chain of communication serves to diffuse potential miscommunication and misinformation to parents and the media, and provides background to the wider MSMC community in case the condition should escalate.

What about parents and family?
Students provide information about their emergency contacts as part of the application process and it's important to realize those contacts are not always parents. Program leaders should not make direct, initial contact with family members without a student's permission. The student should be the one to communicate with their parents about any critical incident.

However, in certain situations, OIP may choose to inform emergency contacts about a potential emergency abroad without the student's permission, in consultation with the program leaders or on-site representatives. These situations would include when a:

  • student is unable to speak for himself/herself;
  • student has been missing for more than 24 hours;
  • student is perceived to be a danger to him/herself or others; or
  • significant health, safety or security incident affecting the entire program has occurred.

The provisions of the Family Rights and Privacy Act (also known as FERPA or the Buckley Amendment), coupled with the age of majority at 18, often come into conflict with (1) OIP and program leader needs to have full information about the participants we serve, and (2) the desire of parents and OIP/MSMC to be fully briefed when something goes wrong. This conflict is not unique to study abroad – the issue is also faced continually on campus – but it does pose a more delicate challenge for study abroad because of the heightened sensitivities and the distance. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education produced guidelines for university faculty and staff faced with the challenge of balancing privacy and student safety. A helpful brochure (PDF) is also available.

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Re-Entry to the U.S.

Submitting grades
All grades must be submitted within two weeks of re-entry.

Final course evaluations
There are no formal MSMC course evaluations for study abroad. The OIP will distribute an overall program assessment upon re-entry but you are encouraged to utilize your own assessment methods in the absence of traditional course evaluations.

Wrap up with OIP
Upon re-entry to the United States, you will have one final wrap up meeting with the OIP. This meeting is intended to debrief the OIP on the program and to offer suggestions and aid in planning for upcoming years. It is also a time for the OIP to offer any help or support that may be needed for the upcoming year or with re-entry.

Responsibilities for next year
All returning faculty are asked to help with word of mouth advertising during the year following their program. We ask that you speak with students about your experience leading the program and about the benefits that study abroad can have on them both personally and academically. We also ask that you encourage your fellow faculty to submit proposals for study abroad and to disseminate information to them about the faculty development and personal development benefits that they may receive. Additionally, it is the policy of the OIP to send one returning faculty member every time a program runs so please consider resubmitting your course proposal for the following program cycle.

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Additional MSMC Policies

Accessibility in case of emergency
All faculty must commit to being available in case of student emergency for the entirety of the program. This means that all faculty are required to have their mobile phone with them at all times and that if they are undertaking weekend or independent travel that they understand that the needs of the students come first and that at any time they may be required to act as a representative of MSMC. Rarely, faculty have been asked to attend to student emergencies outside of the normal purview of student/professor relationships. All faculty will adhere to the most recent FERPA regulations should a situation arise in which they become necessary.

Make OIP aware of travel plans
Faculty are welcome to undertake weekend travel but they must make the OIP aware of their travel plans including the following information: destination, transportation logistics, accessibility in case of emergency, and lodging while traveling.

Travel to and from site with students
Faculty are required to travel to and from the program site with the student groups. Upon departure, there will be two scheduled group flights. Faculty members must opt for one of those two flights. No other travel arrangements will be made. In the case where no students are returning on the second group flight a faculty member may contact the booking agent directly in order to alternate their travel dates. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

Family policy
MSMC understands and supports work/life balance and wishes to extend that support to those faculty who teach abroad during summer sessions. Because of concerns with risk management and family obligation, the following policy is in effect: any faculty member wishing to travel with a minor child under the age of 18 must have another adult present for the duration of the program. This second adult must be fully able to assume responsibility for the minor should the occasion arise. In-country child care arrangements are not acceptable and all costs associated with this second individual will be borne entirely by the faculty member. Minor children under the age of 18 may participate in planned travel and activities only at the discretion of the program provider.

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Clery Reporting

All faculty who are teaching abroad and representing MSMC are considered to be mandated Clery reporters for the duration of the program. The following information on Clery reporting in study abroad settings is relevant to faculty:

Any reportable criminal activity should be forwarded to Campus Security, who will then include those statistics in their annual report to the federal government.

The information will be kept on file in that office in case of a security audit. The stats themselves will be forwarded in the annual report.

There are no specific forms. Copies of police reports or any communications with local law enforcement (request or response letter, and whatever info they provide) should also be forwarded. If the government decides not to answer, the college must at least prove it made a good faith effort.

Any faculty leader that is part of this program will most likely be considered a "Campus Security Authority." This means that if the faculty member knows about a reportable crime, they are obligated to pass the information along to the Office of International Programs. The OIP will then be responsible for passing this information along to campus security to include in their report. What the Clery Act is trying to avoid is having a student get robbed or assaulted and having anyone in authority claim that they did not know it needed to be reported. In certain situations, the OIP may serve as the sole reporter for the statistics.

The statistics required are for criminal offenses that are committed at buildings or properties that are used for international or off campus programs.

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FERPA Regulations

Study Abroad is required to cooperate with FERPA regulations as would any other campus office. Certain information is protected under a student’s FERPA rights and may not be distributed to any individual without a signed release. If you are contacted by a parent of a student, you may not give out their address or contact information while they are abroad. Should this cause a problem, please direct the family members to the OIP for further assistance.

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