students studying abroad

Developing a College of Engineering Faculty-led Freestanding Course

A faculty-led freestanding program is a single course or compilation of courses related to a theme or topic, where the Penn State faculty leaders deliver all or nearly all academic content during the course of the international experience. Such programs may occur during the break between the fall and spring semesters and most typically during the summer since the length of the education abroad experience typically lasts two to eight weeks.

The faculty leader assumes a great deal of responsibility for the development, proposal, implementation, and execution of a course abroad — including the academic content, travel logistics, international site visits and activities, budgeting and payments, and health and safety of program participants. Global Programs provides a detailed list of faculty responsibilities in developing a course abroad.

Although there is much work to be done with leading a course abroad, you will have support and resources available throughout the planning and implementation. The first step is to consult with the Associate Director for Global Program Innovation in Global Engineering Engagement who will work in collaboration with the Education Abroad staff responsible for faculty-led programs. The Associate Director can assist faculty to conceptualize program abroad development to realize academic vision; guide you through the Education Abroad proposal process; enhance course subject matter by creating global learning frameworks and outcomes assessment; facilitate and support planning, such as developing a budget, and administrative logistics prior to and upon return from a course abroad.

Special COVID-19 Considerations

Penn State Global Programs has developed a set of resources to provide a framework and guidelines for program protocol during the COVID-19 crisis that includes faculty-led freestanding program leader guidelines and weekly updates.

There is a two-step online course proposal process managed by the Education Abroad unit of Global Programs. All faculty-led freestanding courses to run in the summer must be proposed by the faculty leader by June 1 of the previous year. If the proposed program is to be run at any time of year besides summer, the proposal is due approximately 12 months in advance.

The online proposal process includes a section for director of Global Engineering Engagement to log in and indicate approval and support for the program. The program proposal questionnaire, which requires detailed responses to over fifty questions, will ask you to complete information about the academic content, location, itinerary, programming, intercultural learning objectives, emergency planning, etc.

Additional resources on developing or renewing a faculty-led freestanding program are available on the Global Programs website.

Global Engineering Engagement and Global Programs may offer faculty members funding support for the development of a new education abroad program or to make a significant impact on the internationalization of curriculum, including developing a collaborative online international component as part of a course.

Global Engineering Contacts

  • Patrick Tunno
    Director of Global Engineering Engagement

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The mission of Global Engineering Engagement is to create an environment that embraces the values of international education, where access to global exposure and opportunities to develop cross-cultural competence is pervasive. We believe that it is within our reach to ensure that all engineering students can become internationally engaged.

Global Engineering Engagement

College of Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University

208 Hammond Building

University Park, PA 16802