BCAS Process, Criteria, and Application for Study Abroad Programs

Seven Steps to Getting an International Educational Experience (IEE) Approved:

1.       Getting Started:  Initial consultation

Before beginning the process, a faculty member who wishes to lead an approved BCAS study abroad program contacts the BCAS Study Abroad Coordinator, Dr. Sheldon Wrice at swrice1@uakron.edu, to carefully review submission process, timeline, Core Criteria that the BCAS Faculty Advisory Committee will use in evaluating proposals and the UA Office of International Programs (OIP) requirements all for UA Sponsored Programs. The faculty member should also check the list of countries that the U.S. State Department categorizes as being under a Travel Warning or Travel Alert. The list can change at any time, and it is available on the U.S. Department of State website: http://travel.state.gov/

2.      Faculty Initiation and Departmental Approval

The faculty member then completes the BCAS Study Abroad Program Proposal Application and presents the proposal to the department chair/school director and faculty who insure the proposal provides a meaningful educational experience, advances the disciplinary mission of the unit, will deepen students’ mastery of disciplinary skills, and advance students toward graduation and to determine the extent to which this program will be integrated into the curriculum of that unit.

3.      OIP and Risk Management Approval

Once departmental approval and support is secured, the faculty member meets with OIP and Risk Management to discuss the proposal and secures their support.  If you would like assistance with this step, please contact David Black in the Office of International Programs (OIP) at 972-3503 or dlb164@uakron.edu or Matt Beaven in Risk Management at 972-6268 or beaven@uakron.edu. The materials needed to prepare for this meeting: your completed application form (see below).  

4.      BCAS Study Abroad Faculty Advisory Committee Approval

Next the faculty member completes and submits the BCAS Study Abroad Program Proposal Packet, with all supporting documentation, to the BCAS Study Abroad Coordinator and BCAS Study Abroad Faculty Advisory Committee during the solicitation period. The committee will review and rank all proposals submitted on their effectiveness to meet college goals and make recommendations.

5.      Dean’s Office Approval

The BCAS Study Abroad Coordinator submits the committee’s recommendations to the Dean’s Office for review and, if approved, support.

6.      Final OIP Approval

At the point of departure, every program must provide OIP with a complete itinerary, with 24/7 contact information and receive final OIP approval.

Core Criteria for Evaluation

In an effort to support the Vision 2020 goal of assisting our students in their efforts to deepen their understanding, and appreciation, of the ways that global diversity—international, cultural, racial, religious and more—contributes to an increasingly complex, interconnected, challenging and productive world, the BCAS has committed at least $200,000 over two years to support expanding student participation in study abroad opportunities that are intellectually meaningful and advance students toward graduation, whether within a student’s discipline or in a multi-disciplinary program. This BCAS International Educational Experiences initiative (IEE) is focused on expanding student participation. Therefore the college seeks to support IEEs that:

1.         Are intellectually meaningful and clearly advance the students’ work within the discipline and/or progress toward graduation

(a) IEEs must have department approval and support and when multiple units are involved, approval and support from all units (required)

(b) Any potential transfer of credits must be approved through a written articulation agreement or through a transient-credit request form (required)

(c) The experience must be embedded in a UA credit course and/or satisfy UA degree requirements (required)

2.        Provide evidence for  student learning outcomes that the experience deepens students’ understanding and appreciation of global diversity

(a) Identification and measurement of core or disciplinary student learning outcomes (required).

(b) Are cross-disciplinary (preferred)

3.        Expand, broaden, maintain student participation in study abroad opportunities

(a) Potential to increase participation, to IEE capacity where possible ( preferred)

(b) Maintenance of participation if IEE is at full capacity (preferred)

(c) Increased diversity of opportunities, rather than duplication of existing IEEs (preferred)

(d) Demonstrated advancement of other Vision 2020 goals (preferred)

(e) Need for College support to prevent IEE decline (may be acceptable)

4.        Provide great value to students

(a) IEE costs, including fees if necessary are prudently budgeted and minimal (required)

(b) Student share of the instructional and supervisory cost must be reasonable and manageable (required)

5.        Provide opportunities for future scholarly opportunities for students

(a) Student research, scholarly publications, professional performance, and creative productions after the end of the IEE (preferred)

International Educational Experience Application Form

All proposals are required to follow the procedures outlined above and use the format provided below. All proposals must include the following four sections:  

  • Program Information Sheet
  • Program Narrative
  • Budget Statement
  • Draft In-Country Itinerary and Course Syllabi

Program Information Sheet

The one-page Program Information Sheet will demonstrate that the procedures outlined above have been completed.

INSTRUCTOR (S):                     
COURSE EMBEDDED?                                                      
UA course credits:                                                                   Other Institution’s credits:
Number of Students (Est.):                                                     Program Length:

Faculty expenses

Student costs

Travel and Lodging Expenses


Travel and Lodging Expenses




Course Fees




UA tuition




Program Fee










Faculty Initiator Signature


OIP Signature


Risk Management Signature


Academic Unit Chair/Director Signature


Academic Unit Chair/Director Signature (if more than one unit)


BCAS Study Abroad Faculty Advisory Committee Chair Signature


Program Narrative

Academic evaluation of proposals will focus on the criteria outlined above as Core Criteria for Evaluation, so all faculty are encouraged to frame their proposal around demonstrating that they satisfy these criteria. This process begins with the faculty contact’s academic unit and continues at the college level through the Faculty Advisory Committee. Program narratives should not exceed 5 typed pages and must be divided into the following sections:

  • Program Rationale
  • Assessing Program Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Integration
  • Eligibility and Recruitment of Students
  • Health and Safety

1. Program Rationale

Please be sure to address as many of the Core Criteria for Evaluation (above) as possible.  What student learning need will this program satisfy? What is the importance of this program to the department/school, college, and university? Will this program positively or negatively impact other programs at UA currently offered at home or abroad? What makes this particular location and host institution the best fit for this program? 

2. Assessing Program Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Integration
  • Define this program in terms of disciplinary learning objectives and explain how this IEE will contribute to student learning.
  • Describe the ways that student work completed as a part of this IEE will be assessed in order to demonstrate student learning.
  • Describe how the findings from ongoing assessment will be used to improve student learning.
  • Indicate how students can easily use these courses to satisfy general education and/or disciplinary requirements for graduation.
3. Eligibility and Recruitment of Students

Specify the minimum, as well as preferred, student qualifications for participation in the program (GPA, pre-requisites). What majors will be interested in the program? Will this program encourage and support more interdisciplinary research and teaching? How many students do you expect to enroll in the first year? Will enrollment grow over time? Who will recruit students and how will they do it?

4. Health and Safety

Address issues of health, safety and security of students in the immediate program environment, related to accommodations and classroom or research facilities, and in any cities and/or rural environments where the program will take students. Who will serve as the local 24/7 emergency contact for the program? Are there any special health and/or safety considerations for students in this location? Provide a description of available medical resources and facilities.

Budget Statement

Support from the University of Akron for faculty and students participating in an IEE is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of this approval process, including the provision of a realistic and detailed statement of all known and foreseeable costs to students, faculty, and to the institution. Budget statements will likely vary depending on program type (exchange partnership, third-party providers, faculty-led programs), but a detailed and itemized budget is required for all programs, so please consult with OIP before completing this portion of the Program Narrative.

Draft In-Country Itinerary and Course Syllabi

While it is recognized that the final itinerary is often not available until very close to departure and that the very best course syllabi are always works-in-progress, ready to take advantage of unexpected learning opportunities at any turn, the approval process requires the faculty contact to submit a detailed itinerary and course syllabus at the time that approval is sought. By the point of departure, however, every program must also have provided OIP with a complete itinerary, with 24/7 contact information. Please consult with OIP for copies of previous itineraries for guidance.