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Faculty-Led Programs

Annie Hesp teaching students on program to Spain.
Photo courtesy of Annie Hesp and VT Camino program

Faculty are key to the  success of study abroad at Virginia Tech. Faculty have tremendous influence on students' learning and development. In addition to their interaction with students in the classroom where we encourage them to promote study abroad, faculty also have the opportunity to work with the Global Education Office to plan, create, and teach on a study abroad program.

The GEO provides administrative and logistical support for faculty-led study abroad programs, which offer educational opportunities to nearly a thousand students each year. VT Faculty-Led programs are designed to encourage a diverse variety of students to study abroad, and these opportunities would not be possible without the dedication and effort of the faculty who lead these programs.

The information provided in this section of our website is intended for faculty who, with the support of their department and college/school, would seek the assistance of the GEO in the development and administration of a Faculty-Led study abroad program.

Faculty-led study abroad programs are initiated and directed by members of Virginia Tech's faculty with support from the Global Education Office. These programs offer VT credits and VT faculty serve as the instructor of record for the courses taught in addition to accompanying students abroad; therefore, students are enrolled at the institution and paying tuition and fees to Virginia Tech.  Programs may range in length from a week-long to a semester-long experience. 

 In line with VT guidelines, a faculty-led study abroad program is one that:

  • Is taught outside the United States;
  • Involves a VT faculty member (including adjunct) either as instructor or on-site coordinator;
  • Involves a group of students going to the same location for the same time period;
  • Involves students earning VT credit that is taken for a grade, listed on their transcript, and included in their GPA, similar to on-campus courses;
  • Is sponsored by an academic unit and supported by the GEO.

Policy requires that for-credit, faculty-led study abroad programs be administered through the GEO

If you are interested in leading non-credit or co-curricular programs, see the VT Engage website.

Study abroad benefits faculty and students in numerous ways.  Below are just a few benefits that faculty receive by leading a program and that students receive by participating:

For faculty:

  • Significantly enhances one’s teaching, research, and service
  • Provides global competence which can then be passed on to students
  • Affords an opportunity to connect with students in a more meaningful way as opposed to large lecture-style courses and classroom-only contact
  • Adds experiential and global learning objectives to your courses
  • Provides a fully-supported method for one to travel and conduct academic work abroad

For students:

  • Classes are taught by Virginia Tech faculty
  • Students earn credit towards their major, minor and/or degree program
  • Programs are pre-planned and structured
  • Students have the opportunity to build strong connections with VT faculty members, and in many cases, with students from outside their own disciplines
  • Unique academic, career, and personal development benefits

While it can be very rewarding leading your own study abroad program, faculty leaders do take on a host of responsibilities.  These include:

  • Completing and submitting a proposal to the Global Education Approval Committee that’s been approved by the department and college
  • Assisting with budget development in partnership with the Global Education Office
  • Coordinating program logistics (housing, meals, transportation) and contracts with program providers with the support of GEO
  • Arranging and managing program academics (syllabus, textbooks, international partners, guest lecturers, etc.)
  • Actively promoting program to obtain target enrollment
  • Reviewing applications and selecting participants via GEO’s enrollment management software (Terra Dotta)
  • Coordinating with department/college fiscal staff to bill student accounts and manage the program’s payments and finances
  • Attending GEO Program Leader Training every two years
  • Facilitating a site-specific pre-departure orientation
  • Completing mandatory pre-departure preparation for all program leaders and submitting the GEO Pre-Departure Checklist items at least 30 days in advance of departure
  • Submitting a travel authorization at least 30 days prior to departure
  • Providing an on-site orientation upon arrival in host country
  • Responding to student misconduct, behavioral/personal problems
  • Remaining on-call 24/7 for emergency response procedures and reporting any incidents
  • Facilitating completion of the GEO survey at the close of the program
  • Submitting travel reimbursement within 30 days of return
  • Submitting final program report

But never fear, the Global Education Office is here to help. Here are just a few of the ways in which we provide support to faculty leading programs:

  • Work with Program Leaders to create safe, geographically relevant, academically sound, and fiscally responsible programs
  • Provide guidance regarding best practices for study abroad programming
  • Support creation of a program proposal
  • Aid with logistical arrangements
  • Support program budget in conjunction with the Program Leader
  • Advise as to compliance with Virginia Tech policy and procedure
  • Support review of applications and selection of participants
  • Provide enrollment updates on program numbers and applications
  • Help with program promotion in coordination with Program Leader
  • Offer student advising and provide support for pre-departure orientations facilitated by Program Leader
  • Provide emergency and risk management support
  • Initiate and facilitate post-program evaluation

All programs must be led by at least one Virginia Tech faculty member. A volunteer can be designated at the secondary support individual. University policy requires that an additional support individual be designated for every 15 students in group size, and it is highly recommended that even for groups of less than 15 there be a second designated individual who can be called on in an emergency situation. 


Virginia Tech is deeply committed to positioning itself as a leading Global Land-Grant by seeking to build excellence, enhance access and have an impact on our community, state, nation and the world. To do that requires our faculty and staff to reflect the intellectual, gender, ethnic and cultural diversity of our nation and world so that our students learn from the broadest perspectives. When identifying faculty for study abroad programs, the colleges should consider diversity and inclusion, including gender diversity, in program leadership.

VT faculty may propose a summer, winter, semester or embedded faculty-led program.  While many of the processes are similar, here are a few distinctive elements:

  Faculty-Led Summer & Winter Session Programs Faculty-Led Semester Programs Faculty-Led Embedded Programs
Program Duration 2-9 weeks during the summer or 2-3 weeks during the winter
Program that aligns with VT’s academic calendar and takes place for the full term
7-10 day program which takes place during academic breaks or prior to the semester’s end
Course Format Coursework is taught during program and may include pre- or post-program work
Coursework is taught during program and may include pre- or post-program work
The program is attached to a semester course
Compensation Faculty may receive up to 3.75 of their annual salary per credit hour with a cap of 33 1/3% for winter session. Summer salary is negotiated with department chair and dependent upon College policy 
Faculty teach this course(s) as part of their semester teaching load and therefore do not receive additional salary
Faculty salary is negotiated with department chair and dependent upon College policy 
Budget Model Students pay per credit hour for tuition and a separate program fee
Students pay their VT tuition as normal (with specific rates for Steger programs) and a separate program fee
Full-time enrolled students do not pay additional semester tuition, but do pay a program fee
Current Program Offerings See here for examples.
See here for examples.
See here for examples.
Enrollment Typically, a minimum of 10 students (based on budget and compensation)
Typically, a minimum of 10 students (based on budget and compensation)
Typically, a minimum of 10 students (based on budget and compensation

The ideal planning time for a program is 12-18 months out from the term for which you are proposing.

Virginia Tech has a formalized proposal process for all faculty members wishing to propose a program. The review process promotes alignment of programs with curriculum and learning goals, and with SCHEV guidelines for study abroad learning and safety.

Proposals are first reviewed and supported by the home department or college and then submitted to the university-wide, Global Education Approval Committee (GEAC).

College Liaisons:

College Liaison Email
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ben Grove, Associate Director for Global Programs
College of Architecture and Urban Studies Kathryn Albright, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Pamplin College of Business Jennifer Clevenger, Director of Global Study Abroad
College of Engineering Nicole Sanderlin, Director of Global Engagement
College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Farida Jalalzai, Associate Dean for Global Initiatives and Engagement
College of Natural Resources and Environment Keith Goyne, Associate Dean
College of Science Robin Panneton, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs
Graduate School Karen DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education
Veterinary Medicine Valerie Ragan, Director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine


Steps to developing a proposal:


Ready to propose?

  • Complete the GEAC Faculty-Led Program Proposal Form and GEAC Budget Template and submit to your College’s Global Education Liaison for review and verification by the College’s deadline.
  • Await College feedback and edits. Revise as necessary.
  • Upload and submit final revised documents to the GEAC online using the maroon button below, ensuring that your final College-verified proposal has reached the GEAC by the University’s deadline.

Proposals should be submitted by the program leader. Submission will notify the appropriate college liaisons for verficiation and approval. College verification and approvals should be submitted by the appropriate College Liaisons. 

The ideal planning time for a program is 12-18 months out from the term for which you are proposing. Virginia Tech has a formalized proposal process for all faculty members wishing to propose a faculty-led study abroad program. All new and continuing proposals are first reviewed and supported by the home department/college and then submitted to the university-wide, Global Education Approval Committee.

Please see the following table for the deadlines per program term. The Global Education Office staff are ready to begin supporting your proposal as early as possible!

Program Proposal Deadlines:

Please be aware that your College’s approval deadline is prior to the GEAC’s university-wide proposal deadline (2-4 weeks in advance). 

No late proposals will be considered following the final university-wide proposal deadline.

Summer Session Fall Semester & Fall Embedded Winter Session Spring Semester & Spring Embedded
September 15 (priority) September 15 (priority) February 15 (priority) February 15 (priority) 
October 15 (final) October 15 (final) March 15 (final) March 15 (final)

See here for an overview of key information related to budgeting, fund management, billing, advanced payment, contracting with vendors, and travel authorization/reimbursement.

Recruitment Events

Program leaders with approved programs for the current academic year will be invited to promote their program at one or more events organized by the GEO. Please subscribe to the GEO Newsletter to be informed of this year’s scheduled promotional events.

For support with program recruitment, contact Faculty Support Associate, Martha Jensen ( 

At least 30 days following your program's end date, submit your Travel Reimbursement request to the Controller's Office. 

At least 60 days following your program's end date, submit your Post-Program Report to the Global Education Approval Committee ( highlighting the program's successes, challenges and areas for improvement. See here for a Post-Program Report guideline.

Keep up-to-date on Global Education News

The Faculty Newsletter is designed to bring program leaders, administrators, and supporters of study abroad programming the latest Global Education news, updates, and information.

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