Faculty-Led Program Guidelines

The FLP Program Leader Handbook outlines everything a faculty member needs to know about developing and running a Faculty-Led Program (FLP). Additionally, the handbook outlines all policies, procedures, and processes relating to leading an FLP. The handbook 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.

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 spartansabroad@sjsu.edu with any questions or concerns relating to the FLP Program Leader Handbook.  

Additional Guidelines

Click on the links below for more information about the various aspects of developing and leading Faculty-Led Programs.

  • Guidelines for Developing a New Faculty-Led Program
    Interested in developing a new Faculty-Led Program? Review the steps on Developing a New Faculty-Led Program to learn about the process for developing a program.
  • Guidelines for Existing Faculty-Led Programs
    Want to lead a Faculty-Led Program for another year? Review the steps on Renew an Existing Faculty-Led Program to learn about the process for proposing to renew an existing program.
  • 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 or a faculty leader and an assistant (with relevant skills or background for the program) may choose to work together to co-lead or assist in leading 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. Oftentimes 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, so as not to make the price of the program prohibitive. If the minimum enrollment required to support the program is not achievable, the program will need to run with only one faculty leader; this may be determined in the budget meeting, if not earlier.

    All program leaders or assistants are expected to travel and stay with student participants throughout the entire duration of the program, including staying in the same lodging (in a private room) whenever possible. Running an FLP is very different from the traditional faculty role 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 for 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-unit 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, faculty often choose to have some class meetings before and after the group travel.

    Programs should have a clear academic focus and objectives; FLPs are not travel tours or vacations. Excursions should be relevant to the course subject, academic content of the program 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.

  • 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," without getting additional levels of approval and conducting a thorough risk assessment to ensure safety. 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 that is 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, such as Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. These areas are usually more cost effective for developing programs, as well. 
    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 a 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.
  • 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 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 country 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 (for summer FLPs) or spring term (for winter FLPs), after a program has been approved to run, budgets and capacity will be addressed in a one-on-one budget meeting with Study Abroad and Away staff and the program leader.

    Only expenses that have been budgeted for will be reimbursed. The program leader or his/her college must cover any budget deficit that is incurred.

    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 was 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 service 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.

  • Onsite Support

    Faculty proposing programs must plan to utilize one of the following options that will provide additional onsite support during the program:

    1. Utilize a service provider / vendor with an in-country support team for 24/7 assistance.
    2. Identify a volunteer to travel and be present with the group for the entirety of the program
    3. Have a faculty co-leader

    This is to ensure sufficient support for students and program leaders when it comes to supporting the health and safety of program participants.

    Additionally, Program Leaders need to identify a back-up program leader for emergencies. This back-up person needs to be someone qualified and available to teach your course in the case of an emergency. If you have any questions or concerns about this requirement, we are happy to meet with you and discuss what this could look like for your program. Please reach out to us at spartansabroad@sjsu.edu to request a meeting before submitting your proposal.

  • Traveling with Family and/or Friends
    Faculty-Led Programs are for enrolled San Jose State University and Open 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 or faculty during a Faculty-Led Program. Only the faculty of record, any assistants properly processed through University Personnel, and students listed on the official roster provided by Study Abroad and Away 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 the participant or termination of the FLP running in future cycles for the faculty.
  • Conflict of Interest Policy

    Study Abroad and Away is committed to being as transparent as possible with respect to financial and programmatic arrangements. Please 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 education abroad program providers can pose a unique conflict of interest situation. Therefore, CSU has adopted internal principles to guide its relationships with outside education abroad providers (see EO-1022 and EO-1081). CSU employees are prohibited from receiving personal benefits from education abroad program providers (e.g., the payment of conference, training or registration fees, transportation or lodging costs, advertising or payment for a site visit).

    Faculty 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 and approved participation by students

    Faculty-Led Program funds cannot be used for personal friends or relatives while running an FLP, as 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 of future cycles of running the FLP.

  • Mandatory Training

    All program leaders must attend the following mandatory training sessions. Study Abroad and Away will provide the training dates to program leaders once the sessions are scheduled.

    1) Basic/Foundation Safety and Risk Management Training Part 1: New program leaders are required to complete the Basic Safety and Risk Management Training session. The Basic/Foundation Safety and Risk Management Training session will cover:

    • Non-emergencies (reporting/managing)
    • Emergencies (reporting/managing)
    • On-campus contacts in case of emergencies

    2) Safety and Risk Management Training Part 2: All program leaders are required to complete the Safety and Risk Management Training Part 2 (simulations/case studies, policy updates) each application cycle.

    3) Financial Processing Training: The Financial Processing training will cover topics such as tracking your expenses while abroad, travel reimbursements, etc. Program leaders will need to complete this online training each application cycle and attend any live sessions provided.

    The Study Abroad and Away office may require additional training as needs arise. Program Leaders must attend/complete all training indicated as mandatory by Study Abroad and Away.

  • Compensation
    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. Student-generated program fees cover faculty leaders’ travel, accommodations and per diem expenses during the program.
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