Leading a Faculty-Led International Program

Are you interested in leading a study abroad program? Education Abroad will guide you through the process of developing a Faculty-Led International Program (FLIP) and provide you with logistical support through each step.

Program proposals must be submitted a minimum of 10 months prior to the program start date.

Leading an education abroad program is a demanding yet rewarding opportunity. Ideally, those considering leading a faculty led international program should be flexible, adaptable, organized, enthusiastic, experienced working with students outside of the classroom, ready to handle the physical and emotional demands of leading a program, and eager to provide an educational experience that cannot be achieved on campus. The following is required of Faculty Led International Program Leaders for most programs:

  • Academic expertise in the content areas covered by the courses for which credit will be awarded.
  • First-hand, specifically relevant experience in the country/ies hosting the program is strongly preferred. Program Leaders should understand the culture in which the program is conducted, and design an academically focused program that incorporates essential elements of the local culture and environment into the academic content of the program.
  • The ability to handle the physical and emotional demands of the program abroad. Most programs involve daily tours of sites as well as frequent field study travel by bus where you and your students are on the move which can be rigorous.
  • Plan ahead for potential risks and communicate risks and plans to students.
  • Agreement to serve as 24/7 contact person in the event of an emergency or urgent situation that may arise abroad and to take charge in any situation where students need to be directed. Program Leaders are often called upon to deal directly with student conflicts, both minor and grave medical and emotional health issues, and other issues.
  • Organizing and planning skills, and the ability to keep track of a number of details simultaneously.
  • Recruitment techniques and enthusiasm—you must be willing to spend time speaking with students (both in groups and individually) to promote the program.
  • Appreciation for the increased contact with students that is inevitable in a field-based setting and commitment to collaborate and communicate with Education Abroad especially in regard to the safety and well-being of students.

Steps and an approximate timeline for developing and implementing a FLIP:

Proposal Concept and Design – 10 months prior to travel

  • Pre-Proposal Planning Meeting – Email educationabroad@nmsu.edu, and include ideas for your course location, course subject, and preferred month(s) when the course would run. During this meeting, Education Abroad will assist faculty to develop a course proposal packet. Follow-up meetings can be scheduled as needed.
  • Complete the Online FLIP Proposal – Faculty interested in leading a FLIP must complete the online FLIP proposal.

To start a FLIP proposal, follow these instructions:

  1. Term: Select the FLIP Fall Embedded if you plan to teach a fall, fall mini-semester 1, or fall mini-semester 2 course. Select FLIP Spring Embedded if you plan to teach a spring, spring mini-semester 1, or spring mini-semester 2 course.
  2. Itinerary: Enter your tentative program itinerary. This can be edited later once the program itinerary is confirmed.

If you need help navigating the system follow the Faculty Led International Program Proposal Instructions for step by step instructions and screenshots. The proposal does not have to be completed all at once. You may save your work, and return to complete it later.

There are two parts to the FLIP Program Proposal:

Phase 1: Pending Proposals

  • FLIP College & Department Approval Form: When submitting your form to your Department Head and College Dean or Associate Dean for review and approval, keep in mind that it usually takes a few weeks to get their approval and corresponding letters of support.
  • Acknowledge the Program Leader Rules and Responsibilities
  • Provide Faculty & Emergency Contact Information
  • Complete the Program Proposal questionnaire which collects the following information:
    • Budget: List of estimated per students costs for the program.
    • Syllabus: Draft syllabus for each course that is to be taught on the program.
    • Itinerary: Tentative on-site daily schedule and site visit itinerary.

Your FLIP cannot be advertised until Education Abroad has received all of the required proposal components. Once your program is approved, you will have access to the next set of materials.

Phase 2: Approved Programs

  • International Health Insurance Information
  • Enroll in the Smart Travel Enrollment Program
  • Complete an Emergency Action Plan
  • Attend Faculty Led International Program Leader Emergency Preparedness Workshop (offered online via NMSU Training Central in 2022)
  • Provide other pre-departure information such as passport and flight information

Program Proposal Submission Deadlines

To ensure that students have time to consider and apply for your program, proposal are due on July 15 of the prior year. If you're unable to submit your proposal before the established, don't worry! We're still happy to work with your program. We only want you to be aware that late proposals may take more time to proof and publish than those that are submitted on time. In addition, a late submission may affect adversely the marketability and long-term success of the program. If you have any concerns about the timing of the process, let us know, and we'd be happy to work with you on a case-by-case basis.

Program/Course Development9+ months prior to travel

  • In-Country Logistics – Education Abroad will research and contact in-country service providers to obtain a program budget that provides the highest quality to the course and logistics. Provider services will be contracted and paid for by Education Abroad. Therefore, starting this part of the process requires lead time.
  • Marketing – A program requires a clear and concise marketing plan to reach students early, giving them plenty of time to prepare for their participation in the program. Education Abroad will work with you to develop a marketing plan for your course. For example: If you’re planning a course for Spring Break, start marketing the first day of fall semester – with plenty of lead time and fresh minds back on campus.
  • Assisting Research for Funding - In collaboration with Education Abroad, faculty should contact any potential funding sources (grants, community donors and university administration) for student scholarships and/or faculty support.

Student Application Process4 months prior to travel

  • Education Abroad Application – All participants must  create an Education Abroad account and submit required documents and materials by the provided deadline.
  • Orientation(s) scheduled – In coordination with the provider and Education Abroad, the faculty leader will schedule a pre-departure orientation. Attendance to this orientation is mandatory.
  • Course registration – Students will register for the course through Banner with an approval/add-slip signed by faculty leader or Education Abroad will register students for the course.
  • Billing of student’s NMSU Account – Once the program is confirmed full, participants will be billed for FLIP processing fee, program fee, international health insurance, and non-refundable course deposit via their NMSU student account.

Program fee typically includes housing, meals, ground transportation, and activities as listed on the provider’s proposal. NMSU tuition, passport fees, and international airfare are not included in the cost of the program.

  • Flight purchased – Faculty leader and students will receive a “Confirmed-Full” message once the course fills, per the student minimum established on the proposal. No flights should be purchased prior to this confirmation. Education Abroad will coordinate with the faculty leader to select a travel itinerary and provide instructions for flight purchase to all participants.

Implementation of Program –  1-3 months prior to traveling

  • Emergency Preparedness Workshop - Prior to start of the program, Program Leaders must annual complete the required Emergency Preparedness Workshop through NMSU Training Central.
  • Pre-departure class meetings – These meetings allow students to meet one another and the faculty to review the syllabus and answer questions. The faculty can set expectations, review course requirements, discuss the itinerary, cover the first few lectures and initial assignments.
  • Pre-departure orientation – Different than regular class meetings. Faculty will coordinate with the program provider and Education Abroad to provide an in-depth pre-departure orientation covering travel logistics, health and safety recommendations. This is mandatory for all participants.
  • Faculty and students depart to international destination – Faculty and students travel abroad and are met at the airport by the provider’s in country staff, where the course begins and follows the prescribed itinerary.

Upon Return

  • Post Program Debrief and Evaluation: Education Abroad, the program leader(s) and student participants will meet to debrief and evaluate the program experience and make any suggestions for improvements. Often, major course assignments are due after the class returns from the travel-portion of the course, which makes a perfect time for program and course evaluations.
  • Financial Reconciliation: All receipts and documentation will be collected at the follow-up meeting. At this time we will review all outstanding balances from vendors and begin the reimbursement process, if needed.

A Faculty Led International Program requires a clear and concise marketing plan to reach students early, giving them plenty of time to prepare for their participation in the program. Promotion and recruitment is a crucial part of any study abroad program. Active involvement in the recruitment process by the Program Leader can make all the difference in a program’s success or failure. Education Abroad will work with you to develop a marketing plan for your course but it is the responsibility of the Program Leader(s) to market their programs.


Education Abroad will design marketing materials for your program. We will share these files with you so you can promote your program in whatever venues you are able. In addition to Education Abroad's marketing items, it is highly recommended that Program leaders create their own marketing materials. If doing so, please coordinate with Education Abroad. At a minimum, Education Abroad will need to approve the use of the Education Abroad logos, but we’ll also help to ensure that the content and message are correct and accurate.

Education Abroad Website

All Faculty Led International Programs will have a website on the Education Abroad Program Search. Students will use the program brochure to access information about your program and this is also where students will apply to the program. Click on “Featured Programs” to see a list of all Faculty Led International Programs for the current year.

Education Abroad Fair

Education Abroad hosts a bi-annual Education Abroad Fair in the fall and spring semesters to advertise programs for the coming semester to students. We have tables set aside for faculty members to advertise their programs, and we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity if at all possible. The Education Abroad Fair is the biggest outreach event of the year, and best opportunity to collect interested student information. Program Leaders will receive an email invitation to the Education Abroad Fair once their program is approved. Some faculty members like to bring along poster boards with information, PowerPoints, or photos to play on your own iPad or laptop at the table, or objects of interest from their program destination. Some faculty members also send graduate students in their place if they have a time conflict. Make sure you bring a sign-in sheet for your table at the Fair. Contact students interested in your program to keep them aware of the application deadlines, to set up information sessions as needed, invite interested students to your office hours, etc.

Canvas Announcements

Complete the Canvas Announcement Request Form if you would like to have an announcement for your program displayed for students in Canvas. Canvas has strict rules about flyers that will be posted. Only 5 flyers are allowed at a time, and require at minimum, 1 week notice to post. Additionally, flyers may only be posted 1 time per week per organization. In the past we have sometimes had success with faculty posting their own flyers, but generally FLIP flyers are counted as coming from Education Abroad. Unfortunately, this means that submissions will show in Canvas on a first-come, first-serve basis. Education Abroad will strive to give each program equal viewing time on Canvas, but it cannot be considered your main source of advertising. The file image must be designed for the web, have a width of no more than 768px, a height of no more than 432px, and be no larger than 6MB.

Digital Signage

Complete the Digital Signage Request Form if you would like to have an announcement for your program displayed on the digital screens on campus. Announcements may be posted for 2 weeks at a time, but the same announcement cannot run twice. If you would like to run several announcements for your program through the marketing phase, you will need to create more than 1 file image. The file images must be 1920 pixels (width) by 1080 pixels (length).

Classroom Presentations

An important part of marketing is getting in front of students, especially in the classroom. You will want to give presentations about your program in your classes, as well as any other courses you are able, such as those in your department, or in related fields. A presentation from you is best, as you know your program and its highlights and expectations best. Additionally, students will want to know who they’re travelling with. Education Abroad is also happy to accompany you to presentations to assist with questions, schedule permitting. If you schedule a presentation, but are unable to attend it, we have student presenters in our office who can step in for you.


Emails are useful for getting FLIP applications out to students attracted through mass marketing events (education abroad fair, information session etc). There are several types you will send.

Social Media

Education Abroad will market your program and information sessions on the Education Abroad Facebook page and the Education Abroad Instagram accounts. You are encouraged to post on your department and/or college Facebook and social media pages as well.

Department Website

If possible, have your program posted in the relevant sections of your department’s website. Options may include the front page, the current student section, the courses section, or the news section. Consider sharing pictures, testimonials, videos, travel plans, etc. We will link the program website in the Education Abroad Program Search to the departmental website. Make sure that your site links to ours and does not have contradictory content.

Information Sessions

Many faculty leaders host information sessions. This is an opportunity for you to meet students interested in your program but also, for your students to meet each other. Be sure to advertise the information sessions well – otherwise, attendance may be low! You could consider requiring that students attend an information session in order to be approved for your program. Be sure to let Education Abroad know the date, time, location, and any other information regarding your information session so we can also promote your event.

Student Alumni

Enlist program alumni to spread the word on their networks. Don't be shy in asking them to use word of mouth to share program information with their peers!

Student Organizations

If there any student organizations that have an academic connection to your department or the topic of your program, request to speak at a student organization meeting.

NMSU Student Hotline

Many faculty leaders advertise their programs in the NMSU Student Hotline. The Student Hotline is dedicated to sharing information amongst NMSU staff, programs and student organizations by email. Student Hotline Messages are released 2-times a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays at 3:00pm. The only exception being for summer where submissions are done every Wednesday. Submit a posting for possible inclusion in the NMSU Student Hotline by visiting the Crimson Connection Forms website. You must be logged into Crimson Connection in order to view the "Student Hotline Submission" Form.

Leading Short-Term Education Abroad Programs: Know the Standards (2017)

This guide for leaders of short-term programs (8weeks or less) explains what leaders need to know before running a program abroad. It is a framework for conversations between all those involved in the program. This is a valuable resource developed by The Forum on Education Abroad. These standards are widely recognized and agreed upon in international education.

The Forum on Education Abroad Curriculum Toolbox

The Curriculum Toolbox is an online resource center where faculty and other education abroad professionals from Forum member institutions and organizations share their unique approaches to encouraging student learning abroad. The Toolbox contains education abroad course and program profiles, including submissions from past winners of the Award for Excellence in Education Abroad Curriculum Design, as well as video and text interviews with faculty and administrators, syllabi, and more.

The Education Abroad Digital Resource Center

The Education Abroad Digital Resource Center allows faculty and education abroad professionals to share examples of how they use New York Times news, content, and archives to enhance education abroad learning before, during, and after the education abroad experience.

Mobility International USA Faculty Led Study Abroad Programs

How do you design your faculty-led study abroad program that includes students with disabilities? Start by adapting your program, understanding your legal responsibilities, learning best practices collected from other faculty leaders, and browsing sample faculty-led handbooks and site accessibility forms.

The Forum on Education Abroad Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Recommended Resources

This website provides a list of resources around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion recommended by The Forum on Education Abroad.

The Forum on Education Abroad

The Forum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. The Forum provides training and resources to education abroad professionals and its Standards of Good Practice are recognized as the definitive means by which the quality of education abroad programs may be judged. The Forum’s mission is to cultivate educators who champion high quality education abroad experiences that ignite curiosity, impact lives, and contribute to a better world.

NMSU is a member of The Forum on Education Abroad (The Forum) so NMSU faculty and staff are eligible to create accounts with The Forum to access the resources mentioned on this list.