Study Away Programs

Op3.12-19 Study Away Programs

What is my role as department head?

One of the most valuable experiences for students, and faculty, are Study Away programs. The university continues to invest in a diverse range of opportunities for all students to benefit from this experience in all colleges. At Missouri State, there are several types of study away programs:

  1. Short term Study Away programs that are required to be processed and approved by the Study Away Office. By definition, this study away program is a faculty-led program that (1) is shorter than either the fall or spring semesters, (2) has an international travel component, and (3) offers students the opportunity to earn academic credit in a specific department.
  2. Short term domestic programs that are not required, but may be processed and approved through the Study Away Office. (Policy allows the dean to approve domestic short term study away programs through the department budgets, without processing and approval by the Study Away Office.)
  3. Other International Programs that are approved by the Study Away office but are processed through international exchanges or vendors. Although processed and delivered by other exchanges or vendors, all study away programs must be approved by the Study Away Office in order to receive class credit and/or scholarships. The key role of the department head is to review the academic elements of the trip, while being aware of the Study Away Policies that the faculty member must comply with in leading and accounting for the trip. The department head should be familiar with the Faculty section of the Office of Study Away website, which provides student and faculty information, including policies and forms.

Prior to the trip

  1. Approve all elements of the academic portion of the study away trip proposal before it is submitted to the dean for approval, and general review of the proposed budget.
  2. Once the dean has approved the program, the proposal is forwarded to the Office of Study Away.
  3. The Office of Study Away is then responsible for primary approval of all elements of the budget and policy compliance, including but not limited to:
    • Calculating the minimum number of students for the trip;
    • Calculating the correct faculty salary;
    • Confirming all elements of the budget proposed.

After completion of the trip

The Office of Study Away manages the financial close-out and accounting of the trip:

  • Collects all receipts;
  • Reviews all expenses;
  • Prepares the expense report; and
  • Sends the expense report to the International Center Director and the Provost for their approvals.

On a practical basis – what I should be aware of?

  • Exceptions to Policy: Study Away is an area where questions regarding exceptions to policy may arise more frequently; however, the Study Away Office is charged with ensuring compliance with the university’s policies, which are in the best interest of the students, and ensure equity in compensation to faculty. For example, Study Away trips should be financially neutral – preference should not be given any student or guest. (Group expenses should be equally allocated to all students and guests.) Guests must be approved in advance.
  • Compliance with University Policy: Study Away expenditures and reporting must comply with the university’s Expense Reporting policy, and must demonstrate compliance with the university’s Fiscal Responsibility Policy. For example, expenditures such as alcohol are not allowed, and personal expenses are not allowed for the faculty member (other than business related expenses and travel).
  • Support for Budgeted Costs: In developing the Proposed Budget, the faculty member should obtain as much documentation as possible for support for costs. Separate types of costs should generally not be reported ‘in total.” For example, if a hotel will provide tours, airport travel, other site visits, these should be separately identified within the hotel’s proposed costs. The lodging should also be stated as whether this is per person, or per double occupancy, per room, etc. This approach helps to support the faculty member in documenting actual expenditures and helps to avoid any questions during any subsequent audit.
  • Non-direct Trip Expenses: Valid expenses such as future trip planning and tours, maps, museum purchases, inoculations, photo development, additional faculty in training, future trip promotions, etc. should be charged to either Office of Study Away or the department. The faculty member should resolve this in advance with the Office of Study Away and their department head.

What policies and resources are available?

University-wide Study Away Policies: Course development guidelines, faculty pay & student enrollment, and domestic short term trips

Travel Reimbursement Policy

What if I have questions?

See FAQ’s below, or contact:

Elizabeth Strong, Interim Director, Study Away Office

Frequently asked questions:

What is the Study Away office?

The Study Away office is part of the International Center at Missouri State University. The office negotiates exchange agreements with international institutions, facilitates semester and yearlong Study Away opportunities for students, and supports faculty with the development of faculty led short term study away programs that are one to eight weeks in length. The Study Away office is located downtown in Jim D. Morris Center, on the corner of Jefferson and McDaniel, easily accessible on the Gold Shuttle route.

What is a faculty led short term program?

A faculty led short term program is like a mini-university abroad. It is quite different from other study away opportunities. First of all, a knowledgeable professor takes the lead. Through teaching and mentoring, and carefully weaving subject matter into the international location and culture, students are guided through a learning experience that cannot be replicated in a classroom or achieved by traveling along. The professor is more than a teacher, but a guide, resource and, often, friend. Together, faculty and students share through a unique experience abroad. Faculty-led programs are not only beneficial to students, but also to professors. Because the value of international experience is growing, cultural competence, coupled with knowledge and expertise necessary to lead students abroad, can enhance your ability to secure an excellent faculty position, tenure and/or promotion.

How do I get started?

First, visit the Study Away Program Faculty page. This site provides policy information including step by step guidelines for developing a short-term program, policies for faculty led programs, calculating faculty pay and minimum number of students, information on holding airline seats, and a proposal template for short term faculty led programs.

Additionally, contact the director of Study Away Programs to make sure the director is aware of your intentions, so that s/he can provide advice on topics related to your specific country, length of time and proposed dates. You may be interested in attending a Study Away Faculty Workshop or Fair. Once each year, a faculty panel shares their experience with past programs. And, twice each year, the Study Away Fair brings together faculty and vendors to showcase student opportunities. The Study Away office will provide current dates for these programs.

When should I get started?

The Study Away office recommends that you begin organizing your program eight to twelve months prior to departure. This allows you the time to plan your program with a travel agent or outside vendor.

How is my Study Away program approved?

Your dean and department head must first approve the course. Their focus is on the academic portion of the program. Then, the Study Away office will approve your budget. The office confirms the minimum number of students needed for the program, your salary and all budget items. In order for students to receive credit and receive financial aid, the program must be approved by your department, dean and the Study Away office.

Who is responsible for program logistics?

The faculty member is responsible for program logistics, such as transportation, lodging and meals. The Study Away office recommends that faculty work with a travel agency or program provider because of the complexity of dealing with international providers and the federal forms mandated by the university. Bills will be paid through Study Away from funds collected from the students.

From which office am I paid?

The Study Away budget will pay for your stipend. However, your department receives production hour credit for the course.

What if the minimum number of students does not enroll for the course?

If the minimum number of students does not enroll in your course, the Study Away office may still allow the program to go. However, your salary will be prorated and some of your expenses may not be covered.

What if I need a cash advance for the program?

The Study Away office manages all finances involved with the program. You must pick up documents for the cash advance a minimum of two weeks prior to your departure.

How am I reimbursed for any out of pocket expenses?

The Study Away office reconciles all short term programs. Expenses will be reimbursed if those expenses are directly related to the learning objectives of the programs. Personal expenses, such as vaccinations, or department expenses, such as materials for course projects, will not be reimbursed on the Study Away budget for the program. Reconciliation must occur within 45 days of your return to the States.

When will I be paid?

A Personal Action Form (PAF) is submitted to payroll after you have submitted your travel report and all receipts for the program.

What if I go on a domestic program?

Unless your dean takes responsibility for managing the finances of your program, the Study Away office will manage your program in the same manner as an international program.

Where can I find examples of successful proposals?

Please see examples of successful Missouri State University proposals.

Who is responsible for marketing my program to students?

The Study Away office develops a brochure for the program. The Study Away office will include each program in the Study Away Fair, on the Study Away web site and in GEP 101 presentations; however, the primary marketing responsibility rests with the faculty leader.

What if a student withdraws from the program after the student’s deposit is paid?

If a student withdraws from the program after the application deadline, s/he will not receive a refund unless another student takes the place of that student. Student application deadlines vary with each program, but are generally three months before departure.

Do you have a basic checklist for faculty to follow when developing a short term study away program?

  • Decide on the course you wish to teach
  • Decide on the country that best suits the academic objectives
  • Decide on the student audience to whom you will market the course
  • Review Study Away policies and proposal template
  • Contact your department head to discuss work load issues, i.e., is the course an overload, is it a summer course, or is it part of your regular work contract?
  • Contact study away director for advice on your specific program and location
  • Review travel agency and program provider options to assist with logistics (see Study Away website)
  • Create program budget in collaboration with travel agency or program provider
  • Develop proposal
  • Send proposal to department head and dean for approval
  • Send approval emails to Study Away director for budget approval
  • Make necessary budget adjustments if necessary
  • Work with Study Away to provide information for your program brochure. If you choose to develop your own brochure, approval from the Study Away office is required.
  • Recruit at least the minimum number of students to your program
  • Decide on whether you will collect deposit funds and bring it to Study Away or ask students to deliver deposits directly to Study Away
  • Attend the faculty pre-departure orientation
  • Register your students with the U.S. Consulate in your destination country
  • Provide copies of each student passport to the Study Away office
  • Provide a contingency/emergency plan, including U.S. Consulate/Embassy information and local hospital information to Study Away office
  • Plan date of program student pre-departure orientation
  • Enjoy your program with the students
  • Evaluate program with student Study Away office evaluation form
  • Submit program summary to Study Away director
  • Bring travel expense report and receipts for program reconciliation to Study Away office within 45 days of return