M-8: OPERATING POLICIES FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF EDUCATION ABROAD PROGRAMS
To summarize University policies governing the development, implementation, and operation of undergraduate programs offered for Penn State academic credit at an out-of-country location.
To support the general mission of the University Office of Global Programs, education abroad programs are designed to achieve the following general goals:
- promote an international component to the University's curriculum.
- complement the University's general education program;
- supplement those professional and specialized programs where an education abroad experience is especially desirable;
- promote sensitivity to and appreciation of the world's diverse cultures;
- prepare students for citizenship in an increasingly interdependent global community.
The University is committed to providing a high quality education abroad experience to as broad a range and as large a population of Penn State students as possible.
DEA: Directorate of Education Abroad
UOGP: University Office of Global Programs
Education Abroad Program: Any course or body of courses offered fully for undergraduate Penn State credit at an out-of-country location during fall, spring or summer semesters.
Directorate of Education Abroad
The Directorate of Education Abroad is responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of all undergraduate education abroad programs offered by the University during fall, spring or summer semesters.
In addition to applicable University policies, the following specific policies govern the administrative support of the University's education abroad programs:
- The DEA in partnership with the colleges and campuses oversees the planning and development of all undergraduate education abroad programs of the University that are offered during fall, spring or summer semesters. All programs are sponsored by academic units, not DEA.
- The DEA is responsible for providing the administrative and logistical infrastructure to support the operation of the University's undergraduate education abroad programs.
- The DEA may, at its discretion, delegate authority for various administrative and logistical details to relevant units within the University when, in the DEA's judgment, that is desirable to further the overall mission of the UOGP.
In addition to applicable University policies, the following specific academic policies govern the operation of the University's education abroad programs:
- Education Abroad Programs must be approved for credit by the appropriate academic departments and be listed under regular Penn State course numbers. When an appropriate course number does not exist, courses abroad are listed under X99 numbers.
- Students remain registered at Penn State while completing courses abroad.
- Grades for courses abroad are assigned by the individuals responsible for providing the instruction on-site. In those cases where grades are based on a system other than Penn State's, the DEA, in consultation with the appropriate academic authorities at both the host institution and Penn State, is responsible for translating grades into Penn State equivalents.
- The DEA, in consultation with the appropriate academic authorities, is responsible for ensuring that participant selection procedures are consistent with Education Abroad Program objectives.
- To be eligible for participation in an education abroad program, students must be in good standing with the University; must meet the requirements of the specific program for which they are applying; must not be on disciplinary probation and must demonstrate evidence of maturity, stability, self-discipline, strong academic motivation, and cultural adaptability.
In addition to applicable University policies, the following specific fiscal/contractual policies govern the operation of the University's education abroad programs:
- The DEA is responsible for negotiating and administering all fiscal and contractual commitments on behalf of the University in the operation of undergraduate education abroad programs.
- Each faculty-led education abroad program must be self-supporting.
- Operating costs for education abroad programs are covered by income realized from students' tuition payments and program fees.
- In the case of exchange programs, affiliation with foreign institutions is based on an exchange of academic semesters rather than an exchange of monies. Should an imbalance occur of more incoming than outgoing students, the academic unit that proposed the exchange must reimburse UOGP for the tuition costs of those incoming students.
Program Development Procedure
The Vice President for Global Programs exercises final authority over the approval or disapproval of new education abroad programs. All academic departments wishing to offer a new undergraduate education abroad program must submit a proposal to the DEA with an endorsement from the undergraduate dean and department head indicating that the course content has been reviewed and approved by the Penn State academic department(s) under which the course(s) will be accredited.
Proposals for new programs may be initiated by an academic unit in consultation with the DEA. The DEA maintains guidelines for the preparation of such proposals and must be consulted in developing proposals. Proposals for new programs must adhere to the DEA guidelines, and must bear the endorsement of all relevant academic units. Academic units interested in developing proposals for new programs must consult with the DEA before initiating any commitments to contacts abroad.
In order to invest the University's resources wisely, and prevent over-extension of DEA's administrative resources, proposals for new programs are evaluated not only in terms of their inherent merits but also in relation to other existing and developing programs. Priority is given to those programs which contribute the most to fulfilling the overall mission, general goals, and strategic plan of the college or campus proposing the program and of the University and which have the greatest potential for viability on a continuing basis.
Proposals for new Education Abroad Programs must be thoroughly reviewed and approved by the pertinent Penn State academic departments. Proposals must bear the endorsement of the relevant departments and contain descriptions and/or syllabi for the courses being proposed. The following general criteria are used in deciding whether a proposed program should be established:
- the program's contribution to the overall mission, general goals, and strategic plan of the college or campus and of the University;
- the level of student and faculty interest;
- the program's inherent academic quality and distinctiveness;
- the ways in which the program complements rather than duplicates course work available at the home campus;
- the program's adherence to the administrative, academic, and fiscal/contractual policies governing the operation of education abroad programs;
- the rationale for offering the program abroad rather than at the home campus;
- the rationale for offering the program at the particular location being proposed;
- the desirability and level of need for such a program at Penn State;
- the availability of resources and support services abroad to ensure a viable program of high academic quality;
- the range of students who would benefit;
- the nature of the quality control that is built into the program;
- the extent to which the program takes advantage of the features and resources unique to education abroad (e.g., the level of cultural immersion, the degree of integration into the host institution, the length of time spent abroad, and the nature and degree of exposure to a language other than English).
Program Review Procedure
Except for fiscal exigency and other highly unusual circumstances, the DEA will consult with the appropriate academic unit and stakeholders before eliminating a program that has been approved for inclusion in the body of ongoing Education Abroad Programs at the University.
Approved: Provost Brighton (3-19-94)
Revised: ACUE (5-1-14)