Faculty & Staff Resources

Faculty Resources

Program Design

Phase 1: Designing a Faculty-Led Program

An outstanding faculty-led program begins with a great initial design. The following section explores the whole range of considerations involved with designing a program. Each topic listed below will walk faculty through many of the decisions involved in creating a program with the elements necessary for a successful proposal.   


A faculty-led program is a credit-bearing academic course or group of related courses taught off-campus for all or most of the duration of the program, and designed to capitalize on unique experiential learning opportunities arising from the program site(s). Below are the two format types which faculty can select to use when designing their program: 

  • Traditional Format: More than 50% of the credit-bearing course is taught off-campus during the program with the remaining instruction given on-campus or online prior to the departure of the program and/or after it's return. 
  • Field Trip Format: More than 50% of the credit-bearing course is taught on-campus or online prior to the departure of the program and/or after it's return from the off-campus location (domestic or international). 

At TAMUK, faculty-led programs are distinguished by the following features: 

  • Short-Term Faculty-Led Programs 
    • One integrated class for 3-6 credits (6 credit courses may also be offered as 2 separate three-credit courses which are mutually reinforcing)
    • Conducted over a period of 7 - 21 days 
    • Typically designed for 1 TAMUK instructor 
    • Target enrollment of 10 - 20 students 

While each faculty-led program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is unique, all are designed to address the required three key program objectives below: 

  • to enhance traditional learning with experiential and transformative experiences implemented through the high-impact practice of global learning; 
  • to develop students' knowledge and abilities aimed at interacting appropriately within a variety of cultural contexts and engagements with others; 
  • to create meaningful learning experiences that advance students' academic, professional, and personal goals and applicable within the communities and contexts in which they live, work, learn, and/or serve.    

These objectives serve as a guideline to ensure that all faculty-led programs are developed through the context of global learning while still being able to meet the specific learning goals of their academic department, promote the University's educational mission, and align to unique needs of our diverse student population. 

To design a program that meets those objectives, Faculty will need to craft an integrated syllabus that interweaves the academic components with a travel itinerary by: 

  • Considering the opportunities and challenges unique to faculty-led programs 
  • Creating an intentional plan to fulfill the faculty-led program objectives 
  • Choosing learning outcomes and marketable skills that can be well integrated with the program site
  • Selecting appropriate sites, events, activities, and academic components that fulfill the learning objectives 
  • Designing course assignments and clear evaluative expectations within the context of faculty-led programming  
  • Creating an itinerary balancing teaching, activities, and time for processing and rest   

Having a highly detailed, integrated syllabus will help faculty draw clear connections between events on the itinerary and the academic goals fo the program.

Faculty-led programs involve much more than simply teaching in an off-campus location. With our faculty-led programs, Texas A&M University-Kingsville seeks proposals that create highly integrated and experiential learning in an off-site context, drawing richly and deeply on local resources, experts, and opportunities. On-site experiences add value by validating, enhancing, and sometimes even critiquing academic content. It is important that proposals clearly integrate the academic content of the course with on-site experiences. 

Below are a few of the common academic approaches within faculty-led programming to help you facilitate an integrated syllabus: 

  • Classroom-Based: Academic instruction is based at a study center or partner university at the program's off-campus location with co-curricular activities and cultural excursions in the local area/region.   
  • Field-Based: Academic instruction is provided through co-curricular activities held outside of a classroom and in direct contact with the community of the program's off-campus location as it relates to the course content.  
  • Service-Learning: Academic instruction is organized around a community service experience/project within the program's off-campus location that meets the identified community needs and reflects on the service activity to better understand the course content.  
  • Bi-national Learning Communities: Academic instruction is received through a collaborative learning environment that includes cohorts of students from partner institution(s) and teaching faculty.  

Because the conditions for academic study vary significantly between faculty-led programs and on campus courses, faculty should carefully consider which approach would best facilitate the course assignments and evaluative measures incorporated into their program's syllabus. 

Typically, most faculty-led programs are built into existing TAMUK academic course offerings, including 'special topics' (4000 level), that are applicable to the program site and updated with an integrated syllabus. 

However, it is important to note that students are increasingly concerned about how a faculty-led program will count towards completing their degree plans since over half of our student population receive federal funding to pay their tuition & fees. Per Financial Aid regulations, federal funding can only pay for courses applicable to a student's degree plan. Designing a faculty-led program integrated with an advance academic course may potentially limit the pool of potential participants and ultimately hinder enrollment.   

All faculty-led programs must meet the THECB standards for out-of-state and out-of-country courses and rules of Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter Q. This includes but not limited to the following guidelines:  
  • Courses are on the approved main course inventory of the institution, is a part of an approved degree or certification program, and is justified in terms of academic, cultural, or other resources available at the specified location. 
  • All students enrolled will pay the appropriate Tustin and fees for their residency category.  
  • Instruction will confirm to all relevant academic policies. All classes will conform to workload and enrollment requirements, contact hour/credit ratio, and similar matters.  

THECB Standards          Texas Administrative Code 

Logistics for a faculty-led program refers to the full range of accommodations and arrangements that must be made in advance in order for a program to run smoothly. The final logistical plan for a program is always a collaborative effort between the Faculty Leader, the Office of Global Engagement, and program providers. However, the initial sketch of this plan is the responsibility of the Faculty Leader in advance of the program proposal. Below are some of the logistical aspects that should be considered when designing a faculty-led program: 

  • Safety 
  • International Airfare
  • In-Country Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Excursions
  • Other Cost Considerations

All partners and contracts must be properly vetted and authorized by the university prior to any confirmation of services. During the planning phase, Faculty should consult with the Office of Global Engagement regarding their logistical plans or for direction in how to approach logistical planning for their program. 

The development of relationships for the purpose of providing logistical services should also be done in collaboration with the Office of Global Engagement, as certain types of financial relationships will require a contract to be initiated with the Procurement Office to follow university policy. Program leaders are not authorized to broker contracts for the University. 

Program Providers

Faculty Leaders are highly encouraged to work with a provider to help manage the program logistics, assist in the event of an emergency and facilitate enhanced learning opportunities based on their local knowledge and networks. Program providers include third-party providers, local/in-country vendors and university partnerships. 

Study Abroad Providers 

Study abroad providers are professionally trained international educators who specialize in building faculty-led programs to better support faculty. From managing the logistical arrangements to providing on-site support staff, study abroad providers allow faculty to focus on cultivating a truly immersive experience with their students. Below is a list of vetted providers for our faculty to choose from:   


University Partners

Faculty interested in working with one of TAMUK's international partners in support of their faculty-led program are encouraged to visit our International Agreements webpage to review the list of active partnerships and the steps on how to initiate a partnership should one not already be in-place.