Faculty-led Program Proposals

Faculty-led Travel Courses are credit-bearing programs that must be reviewed and approved by the department chair and college dean for the academic department offering the program, the Office of Global Engagement, the campus Risk Manager, and the School of Extended and International Education (SEIE) when offered as a self-support program.  The deadline to submit a preliminary proposal for a faculty-led travel course is February 1st of the year prior for a winter intersession travel course and September 1st the year prior for a summer session travel course. Faculty should begin the planning stages of building and proposing a travel course at least six (6) months prior to the proposal deadline.

Faculty-led Travel Courses Policy

The SEIE Faculty-led Travel Courses Policy guides how faculty, staff and students deliver and participate in faculty-led travel courses. Sonoma State University (SSU) faculty act as “faculty leads” and instructors in courses taught outside the institution’s service region. Such courses take place within SEIE in the summer and winter intersession programs.

Faculty-led travel courses follow the guidelines and operational procedures outlined in the policy. All such programs must also comply with policies and procedures outlined in CSU Exchange Programs and Campus Activities Abroad Policy (formerly known as Executive Order 1081) and other related CSU policies. A faculty lead is identified by submitting a Travel Course Proposalavailable at the School of Extended and International Education (SEIE).

SSU faculty-led travel courses will only be offered “for-credit,” and all participants in the travel course must be enrolled in the corresponding SSU course. These participants do not necessarily need to be Sonoma State University students, as is true forany other extension course during summer session or winter intersession.

SEIE is setting this policy to guide faculty and staff through processes in line with best practices. This policy is not a statement about how a faculty member develops curriculum; the curriculum is in the hands of SSU’s faculty. The Office of Global Engagement, located within Academic Programs in Academic Affairs, will provide a handbook to guide faculty through the process of creating and running travel courses.

If, as a faculty member, you are unable to meet the conditions set forth in the SEIE Faculty-led Travel Courses Policy and CSU Policies , your class will not be supported by SEIE.


Timelines for all Self-Support Faculty-led Travel Courses

The deadline to submit a preliminary proposal for a faculty-led travel course is February 1st of the year prior for a winter intersession travel course and September 1st the year prior for a summer session travel course. Faculty should begin the planning stages of building and proposing a travel course at least six (6)months prior to the proposal deadline.

Current Timelines

2022 Summer Session
Begin planning process April 1st, 2021
Proposal Due September 1st, 2021
Program Runs Approx. June, 2022


2022 Winter Session
Begin planning process August 1st, 2021
Proposal Due February 1st, 2022
Program Runs Approx. January, 2023


SEIE's Role

SEIE will serve as the administrative host for all travel courses, issuing the course, along with facilitating administrative and legal responsibilities of the travel course on behalf of SSU, including course scheduling, student registration and course fee payment, insurance enrollment, and contract development with University Contracts.

Office of Global Engagement's Role

Office of Global Engagement facilitates the planning for the travel course and leads the liaison effort with third-party program providers.

  1. The faculty lead meets with Global Engagement coordinator to begin the process of creating a travel course and finding a provider.
  2. In approving program providers, and before entering into an agreement, factors that shall be considered include:
    a. The student services available through the program provider.
    b. The health, safety, and security preparedness undertaken by the program provider.
    c. The cost to the student.
  3. Office of Global Engagement staff serve as chief liaison to third-party program providers to maximize access to and performance of the course for students and faculty and to provide students and faculty appropriate training regarding traveling to learn courses.
    a. Global Engagement coordinator will serve as the primary point of contact for all questions about the trip from the provider, student, and faculty standpoints.
    b. Working with SEIE, Office of Global Engagement staff will ensure that SSU enters into an appropriate contractual relationship with the third-party program provider and secures mandated insurance coverage.

Responsibilities and Expectations

The Faculty Lead

  1. Completes a travel course application that includes:
    1. Travel Course Proposal, with required signatures.
    2. Tentative travel itinerary.
    3. A draft course syllabus.
  2. Demonstrates an in-depth knowledge and familiarity with the host country(ies) to provide guidance to students about its(their) cultural norms and practices.
  3. a. That familiarity with the host country(ies) should be clear in the proposal, which should make clear the educational connection between the course content and the study abroad destination, demonstrating that the study abroad experience is an integral part of student learning in the course.
  4. Attends a mandatory orientation if they have not done so previously and is required to sign a statement confirming that they have attended an orientation at SSU; such statement will be valid for five (5) years.
  5. Does not begin recruiting students until after the Travel Course Proposal Form has been signed and approved.
  6. Faculty are reminded that they are ambassadors for the campus. Any unprofessional or illegal behavior, according to U.S. and host country laws, places the university—faculty and students—in jeopardy and risks the safety and well-being of participants.
  7. In the case of a student conduct violation, faculty determine whether violations of the Standards for Student Conduct should result in the student’s removal from the program. Faculty may consult with the SSU Office of Student Conduct.


  1. Fill out a program application.
  2. Attend a mandatory pre-travel orientation. If a student misses the meeting with a valid excuse, an online orientation shall be made available to provide the student with the necessary information supplied by Study Away Programs; this information includes, but is not limited to, health and safety issues, travel considerations, culture shock, preparation recommendations, course information and details, expectations for student conduct throughout the course, etc.
  3. Confirm that their passport, other travel documents, and required program documents are in order.
  4. Provide proof of medical insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, that will be valid in the host country or countries [as required by EO-1081].
  5. Sign and submit all required forms, including the CSU liability release, travel authorization, participation agreement, etc. [as required by EO-1081].
  6. Register and pay for the SSU academic course attached to the program by the stated deadlines.
  7. Monitor group communications prior to program dates and during the program; in the event of an emergency, students should follow faculty instructions and should monitor email, group chats, text messages, social media, and other electronic communication.
  8. Students must adhere to institutional and state-wide Standards for Student Conduct. Failure to comply may result in students being removed from the program

Office of Global Engagement Staff

  1. Develop and deliver orientation programming, confirm the travel provider and syllabus agree on dates and times, and interact with students to get their emergency information and other pertinent travel course materials ready for departure.
  2. Maintain basic student information for participants, including name, contact information, program, emergency contact information, insurance information, date of birth, student ID number,and major [as required by EO-1081].
  3. Store required student documents confidentially, including those listed in section B.5.
  4. Serve as the contact with the third-party providers during the travel course.
  5. Confirm that all program participants are registered in anSSU academic course prior to travel.

Final Considerations

  1. Federal financial aid regulations require that campuses make financial aid available to otherwise eligible students who participate in study abroad programs when the program is approved for academic credit.
  2. Travel course agreements and contracts with third-party program providers must go through the Chancellor’s Office review and approval process set forth in EO 1080 and EO 1081.
  3. Faculty, vendors, and non-SEIE staff may not collect or store SSU fees, money, or checks made to SSU from students.
  4. Only the student is allowed to make a payment to SSU through an authorized cash-collection point.
  5. Students will pay third-party program providers directly for program fees, which may include housing, meals, travel, and other expenses.
  6. Students must meet third-party program provider deadlines for deposits and program balance payments.
  7. Faculty and interested students will be provided with payment amounts, a payment schedule,and instructions for each trip.
  8. SEIE provides reimbursement for emergency expenses incurred by the faculty lead up to $500. Expenses exceeding that amount must be approved by SEIE prior to spending the funds.
  9. SSU will have the final decision on whether a travel course will run. In emergency situations, this may result in last-minute cancellations.
  10. Faculty leads are not permitted to include partners or dependents inthe travel course, unless those partners or dependents are registered as students and pay tuition, program costs, and travel costs.
  11. Teaching assistants are not permitted on travel courses.
  12. Co-instructors are permitted if the course registration exceeds 24 students. If a faculty lead wishes to have a co-instructor with fewer than 24 students registered, the two faculty will split all approved travel compensation.
  13. Faculty may not accept recruitment incentives from the third-party program providers above the cost of travel for the faculty lead(s). To accept these incentives may be a violation of state law.
  14. Feedback from the faculty lead and students will be requested after program completion to adjust and improve future travelstudy course practicesas needed and provide a better experience for faculty and students in subsequent travel study courses.
  15. Emergency procedures for SSU students studying abroad are provided by the CSU (see below). When possible, instructors of travel study courses will need to have a mobile phone with an international plan (the plan is reimbursable) to facilitate and ensure necessary communication with campus officials. See CSU’s Health and Safety During Travel Website for more information.