2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 
    May 28, 2024  
2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 [ARCHIVED COPY]

Requirements for Education Abroad Program Leaders and International Exchanges

Policy Number: 3.54
Effective Date: February 28, 2023
Revision History: April 2021; August 1, 2018
Policy Contact: Director of Internationalization

I. Purpose and Policy Statement

This policy defines several types of study abroad, study away, and service-learning opportunities and provides requirements for academic integrity, faculty compensation, program proposal development and approval, and risk and crisis management. The policy also provides requirements for establishing international exchange agreements.

II. Scope

The policy applies to education abroad program leaders and is implemented primarily by the staff of Internationalization, school deans, the Vice President for Business and Finance, and the Associate Provost for Academic Programs.

III. Definitions

Affiliate programs: Programs organized by third-party providers with which GGC has affiliation agreements.

Contact Hours: When calculating contact hours, field experiences that have academic value and are led by faculty can be incorporated with classroom instruction. One hour of field experience counts as a half-hour of classroom instruction. It is standard practice to reduce the number of classroom contact hours required for credit when the learning is taking place abroad. The usual calculation is to reduce the normal number of contact hours by 20%. If 3 semester credit hours normally require 45 contact hours, then 45 x 80% = 36 (the number of contact hours required for a study abroad program that carries 3 semester credit hours). 

Education abroad: An umbrella term for experiential learning programs which occur in a different country and are designed to enhance participants’ academic and intercultural experience. Education abroad at GGC includes study abroad, research abroad, internships abroad, service or civic engagement abroad, and teaching abroad. Activities include, but are not limited to, classroom study, research, and excursions.

Exchange programs: Programs which enable GGC students to study for a semester or an academic year at a foreign college or university with which GGC has an exchange agreement. Classes may be taught in the host language, English, or both. Courses taken through GGC exchanges or with GGC exchange partners count as transfer credit.

Faculty exchange agreement: An international exchange agreement designed to include an exchange of faculty or researchers between institutions for a term exceeding two years.

Faculty-led study abroad programs: Programs led and taught by GGC faculty members. The programs grant GGC resident credit, and no course substitution or transient permission is necessary. Students participate in lectures, site visits, excursions, and tours as part of the program.

Good academic standing: A student is in good academic standing if their cumulative Georgia Gwinnett College grade point average is at or above the minimum cumulative Georgia Gwinnett College grade point average for the number of semester hours attempted plus transfer hours as shown in the GGC Catalog.

Good standing: A student is considered to be in good standing with the College if they are eligible to enroll in classes and are not on Academic Probation or Conduct Probation.

International exchange agreement: A written document outlining the terms and conditions providing for an exchange of students, faculty, or staff or specifying research activity between GGC and a university or other institution located outside the territorial boundaries of the United States of America.

International internships: Opportunities for students to work in an organization abroad to gain practical, real-world experience or satisfy requirements for a course or program of study.

Memorandum of understanding: An agreement which recognizes a shared interest between parties in exploring together potential projects, funding, or other arrangements that may lead to specific projects. No clear projects or plans are delineated. It is a legally binding contract subject to the same authorization and campus approval procedures as more specific agreements.

Non-provider-organized programs: Programs organized and led by the program leader, who is responsible for all or most of the logistical arrangements.

Pilot exchange agreement: An international exchange agreement which usually lasts for two years and allows both institutions to review their involvement before making a more substantial time commitment. In many cases, the agreement will be implemented prior to a long-term student or faculty exchange agreement.

Program leader: A faculty or staff member responsible for writing the proposal and establishing and leading the program.

Provider-organized programs: Programs which rely partly or entirely on third-party providers for logistical arrangements, including program deposit/fee payment, travel (international and in country), accommodations, meals, safety/security, and delivery of the instructional and cultural components.

Service learning: A form of study abroad, except that it may or may not be credit bearing. It focuses on contemporary global and transnational issues and emphasizes human connection. Service learning incorporates community work into students’ educational experiences by providing real-world learning experiences that enhance students’ academic learning while providing a tangible benefit to the community in which the activity occurs. GGC service learning may also be carried out in an appropriate setting within the United States.

Student exchange agreement: An international exchange agreement designed to include an exchange of students between institutions for a term exceeding two years.

Study abroad: A credit-bearing program of study in a foreign country. Participants earn grades for the course(s) they take, and the grades may or may not transfer to the participant’s home campus.

Study away: Credit-bearing travel based in the U.S. designed to increase the opportunity for students to participate in relevant, hands-on, academic learning in culturally and geographically diverse locations where students can strengthen their intercultural competencies. Participants earn grades for the course(s) they take, and the grades may or may not transfer to the participants’ home campus

USG programs: Programs organized by other colleges and universities within the University System of Georgia.

IV. Compliance
  1. Student Eligibility and Requirements. The following criteria describe eligibility requirements for all GGC education abroad programs:
    1. GGC students who wish to participate in education abroad programs must be in good academic standing with the College; i.e., they are eligible to enroll in classes and are not on Academic Probation, Conduct Probation, or any form of academic warnings.
    2. Certain education abroad programs may require higher GPAs or other prerequisites.
    3. Students must have achieved the required GGC GPA by the program start date.
    4. GGC students are eligible to participate in education abroad programs after completing a minimum of 24 collegiate credit hours by the program start date. Transfer students must earn at least 12 collegiate credit hours at GGC before they may study or serve abroad.
    5. International students wishing to study abroad must consult International Student Services to verify that their student visa will allow them to study or serve in the proposed host country.
  2. Program Proposal Development and Approval
    1. Any type of education abroad program requires a written proposal. Program leaders must submit a proposal for each year they plan to lead the program.
    2. The detailed proposal must be approved before the proposer begins making related travel or logistical commitments.
    3. The detailed proposal must address, among others, academics, logistics, risk management and financial feasibility.
    4. To ensure timely administrative review and budget allocation for the program, a signed copy of the detailed proposal must be submitted to the Office of Internationalization according to this schedule:
      1. May 1 for programs proposed for the following summer
      2. December 1 for programs proposed for the fall, winter, or spring of the following academic year.
    5. Note: No GGC faculty or staff member may lead or serve on more than two education abroad programs in one academic year and on no more than one program in the summer term.
    6. Program leaders must keep accurate financial records and follow guidelines on the use of student money as established by the University System of Georgia and GGC.
  3. Academic Integrity for Credit-bearing Programs
    1. The program leader must ensure the program is academically substantive and that credit awards are in line with the program curriculum, contact hours and assignments.
    2. Course plans should take advantage of the international setting and ensure academic rigor. Among the factors to consider are: number of credits, contact hours, class attendance, syllabus, evaluations, and logistics.
  4. Faculty Compensation for Study Abroad: GGC Faculty-led Programs. Compensation for education abroad programs will be determined by the institution and communicated to the faculty by the School Deans. Each Dean will determine the school’s contribution towards faculty travel.
  5. Faculty Compensation for Study Abroad: USG Goes Global Programs. The following compensation policy applies to USG Goes Global programs:
    1. Each participating faculty member receives $3,000 per course taught.
    2. Each participating faculty member must teach two courses.
  6. Risk and Crisis Management. Program leaders must organize a program-specific orientation, which should address program-specific issues, including, but not limited to, the following: emergencies, medications, immunizations and visas, culture, and academics. Following are additional safety requirements for each study abroad or service-learning program:
    1. The program leader must be thoroughly familiar with the program and service providers as well as the cultural, political, and social conditions of the site(s).
    2. The program leader must make sure that someone is always in charge. An alternate leader or in-country coordinator must be available in case the program leader is incapacitated.
    3. If a situation arises where a student may have to remain or is remaining in a foreign country and/or is unable and/or unwilling to return as and when scheduled to do so under the program, the program leader and the agent for the College (if such an agent exists) shall individually notify the GGC Office of Internationalization. The notification shall be provided as soon as the program leader/agent for the College is aware of any situation where a student may be required to remain or is remaining in a foreign country past the scheduled return under the program. The GGC Overseas Secondary Crisis Management Team shall be activated and notice simultaneously provided to the GGC Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs/Provost.
    4. If a student is hospitalized, the program leader must take all necessary measures to ensure the student is not alone.
    5. All students participating on GGC study abroad or service-learning programs must carry study abroad travel insurance which covers them from departure to return (inclusive).
    6. The program leader must be certified in first aid (CPR) administration.
    7. All students who participate in the study abroad program must sign an application form that includes a Waiver of Liability for their program.
    8. Under no circumstances may a GGC faculty or staff member purchase for students or provide students with alcoholic beverages.
    9. In case of a crisis abroad, the Program leader must contact the Office of Internationalization as soon as possible.
    10. The program leader or any employee with student oversight/authority is obligated to report any disclosures or allegations of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and/or harassment to Diversity and Equity Compliance. Reports may be submitted to titleix@ggc.edu, via a complaint form, or via telephone at 678-407-5085. 
  7. Forms and Templates. Education abroad forms and templates are available on the Education Abroad Portal.
  8. International Exchange Agreements
    1. Before developing an exchange agreement, the developer must consider the potential for exchange and institutional or program compatibility with GGC.
    2. Whenever any unit of GGC enters into an exchange relationship with a university or other institution located outside the territorial boundaries of the United States of America that involves, or might lead to, commitments of college resources of any kind, GGC must sign a written agreement with the partner institution.
    3. Exchange agreements may be negotiated unit to unit, school to school, or in a broad-based institutional capacity. A relationship that stipulates an actual exchange of students, faculty, and/or staff requires a formal exchange agreement.
    4. A relationship that reflects general collaboration without specific exchange components does not require an exchange agreement.
    5. Formal exchange agreements stipulate the details and implementation procedures for a specific program of exchange or collaboration and may in some cases involve a commitment of resources.
    6. The  academic population targeted in the exchange agreement determines whether a student exchange agreement or a faculty exchange agreement is appropriate.
    7. Specific exchange agreements that implement an actual exchange must specify the obligations and commitments of each party.
  9. Exchange Agreements 
    1. Every exchange agreement must make clear the following matters: home institution and host institution, parties, requirements for admission to GGC, housing, quotas (if applicable) and balance thereof, duration, visitation status, conduct, work plans, language ability, tuition and other costs, access to institutional resources, limitation of financial commitment, stipends/salary, travel, insurance, and review.
    2. Exchange Agreements may be initiated by a school or the Office of Internationalization. School-initiated agreements must be approved at the school level before they go to the Office of Internationalization, while the Office of Internationalization-initiated agreements are approved directly by Legal Affairs, and then the SVPASA/Provost, with the support of at least one school. All agreements must be approved by the SVPASA/Provost before they are sent to the President or his/her designee for review/approval.
  10. Role of the Office of Internationalization in Formalizing an Exchange Relationship. Internationalization provides consulting, review, and authorization services for any GGC unit seeking to formalize an exchange relationship with an international counterpart. The Office of Internationalization must be included in formalizing any such relationships. Preferred agreement forms and templates are available on the Internationalization webpage.