Program Guidelines

FLP Program Leader Handbook

The Faculty-Led Program Handbook outlines everything a faculty member needs to know about developing and running a Faculty Led Program. Additionally, the handbook outlines all policies, procedures, and processes relating to FLP. This is a resource that provides a thorough overview to new and existing faculty looking for guidance and answers to questions relating to Faculty Led Programs offered at SJSU. 

Please note that any changes to the handbook will be made available and will be noted in the handbook, referencing the date of the change. Please contact with any questions or concerns relating to the FLP Handbook.  

Pathways to Developing a New Faculty Led Program (one of the following must be completed):

All faculty developing a New FLP are welcome to complete a site visit and apply for grant funding regardless of their experience in the proposed destination. To develop a new FLP, one of the following must be completed:

  • A site visit will be a required for anyone proposing to start a program in a location where they have little to no experience and will not be working directly with a study abroad service provider. Limited grant funding is available (further information regarding Site Visit Grants can be found in the Program Proposal for New FLP pages). 

  • The site visit requirement can be waived for faculty with little to no experience in the proposed destination as long as the faculty member(s) work with an approved study abroad service provider in developing their program. Further information about developing a new FLP can be found in the New FLP Program Proposal Packet.  

  • The site visit requirement can be waived for faculty who have previous and extensive experience in the proposed destination and have visited the location within the past 2 years. This knowledge and experience must be demonstrated and documented.  Further information about developing a new FLP can be found in the New FLP Program Proposal Packet

If needed, please contact GEI for assistance in identifying an approved Study Abroad Service Provider. You can find a list of locations where we have an established relationship with a Study Abroad Service Provider here.

Contact the Director of Global Education and Initiatives, Susie Morris (, to discuss your ideas prior to working on a proposal.

Existing Programs (one of the following must be completed):

  • Any program that has run within the past two years is considered an existing FLP and should complete the FLP Proposal for an Existing FLP.
  • If the FLP has not run and/or the program leader(s) has not visited the site in more than two years (this includes adding a totally new destination onto an existing program), the program leaders will need to submit a New FLP Program Proposal.
  • If a program was proposed in the past two years, but was cancelled or did not run, the program does qualify as an existing program and should complete and update the FLP Program Proposal - Existing Programs.

If needed, please contact GEI for assistance in identifying an approved Study Abroad Service Provider. You can find a list of locations where we have an established relationship with a Study Abroad Service Provider here.

Contact the Director of Global Education and Initiatives, Susie Morris (, to discuss your ideas prior to working on a proposal.

Faculty Eligibility

Any SJSU faculty member may propose and lead an FLP regardless of faculty status or rank, as long as they have completed one year of service with SJSU at the time the proposal is submitted. We will give greater priority to faculty who will be on-campus when developing the program (to be available for meetings, marketing the program, recruiting students, etc.) and after their return so they can share their FLP experience with students, faculty, and staff. 

Two faculty members may choose to work together to co-lead an FLP. The budget will need to be developed carefully to ensure the program is able to cover the added costs associated with having a second program leader. Often times this means the minimum student enrollment will be higher or faculty leaders will need to be able to find economical ways of keeping program costs low, as to not make the price of the program prohibitive. The FLP program leader may also choose to utilize a faculty assistant on the program. 

All program leaders or assistants are expected to travel and stay with student participants throughout the entire course of the program. Running an FLP is very different than the traditional faculty role found on campus. Faculty leaders are the primary point of contact when abroad with students and are required to wear many hats: professor, representative for SJSU, counselor, disciplinarian, confidante, on-site expert, etc. This work can be challenging, however the challenges faced in developing such a program are rewarded ten-fold through the profound pleasure you get when you are able to engage your students in a unique experiential course abroad.

Academic Guidelines

FLPs must offer academic credit per EO 1081. Typically FLPs offer around 3 or 4 units, and cannot offer more than 6 units (winter FLPs can only offer up to 3 or 4 units).

It can be challenging to identify how a credit hour should be calculated when developing a new FLP. FLPs do not always have the same elements as a course taught in a traditional classroom setting. When developing a new program faculty must be sure that they are providing instruction that is a reasonable equivalent to the standard of combined direct instruction and student work per week, per credit hour for a semester (or its equivalent).

For the purpose of credit hour computation on an FLP, instruction and student work can include the following types of activities:

  • Class meetings before, during, and after travel
  • Time spent reading/viewing assigned texts and course materials
  • Lectures (including lectures provided by SJSU faculty, guest lecturers, faculty/staff/students at partner institutions, guides, local residents, etc.)
  • Group discussions with course instructors, guest lecturers, faculty/staff/students at partner institutions, guides, local residents, etc.
  • Museum, business, clinic, government building or other on-site visits
  • Cultural excursions, performances, and/or events that incorporate the learning goals of the course and engage students
  • Student presentations
  • Service learning projects
  • Reflection/processing/synthesis time used for discussion, writing, or production of creative work which may take a variety of forms, including but not limited to journaling, writing formal papers, blogs, art projects, etc.

A 3-credit course should include the equivalent of 9 hours of combined direct instruction and student work per week for the equivalent of a 15-week semester. Considering a "course hour" is 60 minutes, this would be a baseline of 127.5 hours per 3 unit course. In order to offer the required number of contact hours for the program, oftentimes faculty choose to have some class meetings before and after the group travel abroad.

Programs should have a clear academic focus and objectives. Excursions should be relevant to the course subject, academic content of the program (FLPs are not travel tours or vacations), and the host location and culture. The FLP course(s) must currently be in the course catalog. In addition, there are special considerations for SJSU Studies courses - for more information, click here.

Choosing a Location

FLPs can take place in most countries around the world. However, in accordance with EO 1081, FLPs cannot operate in countries where there is a U.S. State Department "Travel Warning". In deciding where to develop an FLP there are several factors to consider, here are just a few:

  1. Does the proposed location support the academic goals and learning objectives of the course being taught? For example it may not make sense to offer an FLP focusing on tropical medicine based in Northern Canada.
  2. Is there already an FLP running in the location? It can be challenging to attract students to participate in an FLP. This difficulty can be compounded when there is another FLP already operating in the same city/country. Currently the bulk of SJSU FLPs are located in Europe. We are always seeking ways to expand our footprint to non-traditional and new locations, (that are usually more cost effective) such as Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
  3. Will the proposed location be cost effective? Students are very aware of the cost of study abroad and the price is often noted as the primary deterrent for a student considering a study abroad experience. Some regions in the world are more expensive than others. If the academic focus of the course can work in several countries, it may be a good idea to develop the new FLP in a more affordable location. Referring back to the tropical medicine example, one could lead an FLP to either Singapore or Thailand to focus on this topic. Thailand is much more affordable than Singapore and could be a better fit.
  4. Is this the location where the faculty member is willing to travel to each year? Developing an FLP is a big investment in terms of time and money. New FLPs are expected to run multiple times. FLPs proposing to change locations each year will not be approved.

It is becoming more and more important to identify and plan for potential risks abroad. To mitigate risks and ensure the safety of our FLPs, faculty proposing a new or existing program must meet one of the following criteria in regards to picking a location for an FLP.


Budgeting and Enrollment

FLPs are completely self-supporting. This means that the tuition, administrative fee, and program fee that comprise the total program cost is completely paid for by the students. In order for a program to be financially viable, program leaders must budget for and obtain a minimum number of students.

Capacity for programs is determined in many different ways. Sometimes hotel space or ground transportation in the host company will limit the number of participants a program can accommodate. Other times the budget dictates the minimum and maximum number of possible participants. Early in the fall term, after a program has been approved to run, budgets and capacity will be addressed in a one-on-one budget meeting with GEI staff and the program leader.

Only expenses which have been budgeted for will be reimbursed and any budget deficit that is incurred must be covered by the program leader or his/her college.

NOTE ON PROGRAM EXPENSES: Faculty are not allowed to purchase airline tickets nor make any program payments until the faculty member's Travel Authorization has been approved and all students have registered and made full payment for the program. Attrition can occur at any point prior to final payment, if the program were to be cancelled for any reason, SJSU will not make any reimbursements.

Faculty-Led Program courses may be canceled if enrollment is insufficient to provide appropriate instruction or if contracts with providers are incomplete before the start of the course registration. If a course is canceled, tuition fees will be refunded to students. However, SJSU is not responsible for refunding any personal expenses (e.g. flights, spending money, etc.) if the program is canceled for any reason. Airfare and other individual expenses are the responsibility of the faculty and the student.

Traveling with family and/or friends

Faculty-led programs are for enrolled San José State University students only; Spouses/Partners, Children, Parents, Friends, Guardians, Community Members, etc. cannot participate on, overlap with, or plan personal/family travel experiences with participants/faculty during a Faculty- Led Program. Only the faculty of record and students listed on the official roster provided by the Department of Global Education and Initiatives at SJSU are sanctioned to participate in the program. This policy applies to both faculty and students. If a person affiliated with the faculty member or participant engages with the program in any way, it will be grounds for removal (for participant) or termination of the FLP running in future cycles (faculty).

Conflict of Interest Policy

GEI is committed to being as transparent as possible with respect to financial and programmatic arrangements. Carefully review any financial transactions or other business dealings for your program.

Financial transactions or business dealings that might pose a conflict of interest must be disclosed (Political Reform Act of 1974, Government Code §§ 81000 et seq.).  A conflict of interest exists when a faculty or staff member's financial interests or other opportunities for tangible personal benefit may compromise, or reasonably appear to compromise, the independence of judgment with which the faculty or staff member performs his/her responsibilities at the University.

Disclosure is especially important in the event of a contract between SJSU and an outside company or organization in which you hold a significant financial or familial interest, even when you are not initiating or taking an active role in assessing or negotiating the contract.  

The use of outside study abroad program providers can pose a unique conflict of interest situation. Therefore, CSU has adopted internal principles to guide its relationships with outside study abroad providers (see EO-1022 and EO-1081). CSU employees are proscribed from receiving personal benefits from program providers (e.g., the payment of conference, training or registration fees, transportation or lodging costs, advertising or payment for a site visit).

Program Leaders leading an FLP may not participate in any non-FLP activities during the program, including but not limited to independent travel away from participants, family/personal vacations, receiving payment from an outside institution for coursework being taught on an FLP (when being compensated by SJSU),  conference attendance/presentation or independent research that is not explicitly part of the approved FLP proposal and occurs independently and does not involve direct participation by students, etc. Faculty Leaders Program funds cannot be used for personal friends or relatives while running an FLP, they are intended to cover the travel costs of program related staff only.  Violation of this policy may result in program cancellation of the FLP in question and future cycles of running the FLP.


Mandatory Training

All program leaders must attend the following mandatory training sessions. GEI will provide the training dates to program leaders once the sessions are scheduled.

  • CPR Training - CPR training is offered on campus through Spartan Recreation. Click on this link to see the available CPR training dates and how to sign up for the CPR training course. Program leaders will need to sign up for the training at the Sports Club front desk and pay for the CPR training out of pocket first, then submit the receipt when requesting reimbursements after the trip. After you have completed the CPR training and have received the CPR card, please send a copy to us so we can have it on file. If you are currently certified, please let us know at
  • Basic Safety and Risk Management Training (Part 1)New program leaders are required to complete the Basic Safety and Risk Management Training session. The Basic Safety and Risk Management Training session will cover:

- Non-emergencies (reporting/managing)

- Emergencies (reporting/managing)

- On-campus contacts in case of emergency situations

  • Safety and Risk Management Training (Part 2 Simulations/Case Studies) - All program leaders are required to complete the Safety and Risk Management (Simulations/Case Studies) Training each application cycle.
  • Financial Processing - The Financial Processing session will cover topics such as tracking your expenses while abroad, travel reimbursements, etc. Program leaders will need to attend this training each application cycle.


Program leaders are compensated for leading FLPs through student tuition fee-generated funds. Faculty salaries are based on the “Instructional Faculty, Special Programs” CSU Salary Schedule, Class Code 2322 (pdf). Faculty leaders’ travel, accommodations, and per diem expenses during the program are covered by student-generated program fees.