All aspects of Study Abroad programming – the programs themselves, the student participants, and the content of available course work – rely on the success of their interaction in order to provide a sustainable, positive academic and personal experience.
The Study Abroad Office maintains a portfolio of summer, semester, and academic year programs which have been vetted according to international education best practice and the needs of the University’s undergraduates. This portfolio is reviewed by the SAO staff every summer1.
A.1} All programs in the SAO portfolio must have active affiliate agreements which outline the responsibilities of both the UIC Study Abroad Office and the host institution regarding academics, transcripting, student affairs, and billing. Financial aid eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office and is distributed directly to the student, who then pays the program host directly.
A.2} Guidelines for considering a program’s inclusion in the SAO program portfolio are based on six primary sources which provide a comprehensive set of best practice and understanding of the specifics of the program environment:
||NAFSA: The Association of International Educators
NAFSA is a membership organization for those engaged in international education. The association’s major foci include: creating and disseminating best practice knowledge, and influencing US public policy on issues of international education. UIC Study Abroad is a full member.
||Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
OSAC is a Federal Advisory Committee which currently encompasses the 34-member core Council, an Executive Office, over 100 Country Councils, and more than 3,500 constituent member organizations and 372 associates. It is the focal point for the exchange of unclassified information between the U.S. Department of State and the private sector on security-related incidents and threats overseas, including the posting of DOS Travel Warnings and Public Announcements. The OSAC website https://www.osac.gov/ recently expanded to include critical incident reporting and specific traveler information. UIC Study Abroad is a constituent member.
||The Forum on Education Abroad
The Forum on Education Abroad is a membership organization which includes educational institutions, consortia, agencies, and organizations, as well as individual leaders in the field. They have established standards of good practice to improve study abroad curricula, promote data collection and outcomes assessment, and advocate for high quality education abroad programs. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have designated the Forum a Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. UIC Study Abroad is a full member.
||The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
Based in Chicago, IES is an academic consortium of more than 155 leading public and private U.S. colleges and universities with nearly 30 study abroad program centers in 16 countries. They have developed a program assessment model widely regarded as the most comprehensive in the field, providing guidelines focusing on four academic areas: the student learning environment; student learning and the development of intercultural competence; resources for academic and student support; program administration and development. UIC Study Abroad is a full member.
||Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
CIEE is an academic consortium of over 150 US public colleges and universities administering 95 study abroad programs in over 33 host countries. The Academic Consortium, represented by the Academic Consortium Board, oversees all of the CIEE Study Centers by conducting periodic evaluations of the programs and reporting its findings to the Consortium. UIC Study Abroad is a full member.
||UIC Study Abroad Staff
The full time staff of five professional international education administrators have all spent considerable time living and working abroad, in addition to participation on study abroad programs. Collectively, the staff’s formal work experience in international education exceeds fifty years. They have fluency in six languages. Their academic experience includes: Doctoral field research in History and Geography in central India; Oriental Studies and Chinese Linguistics in Russia; Economics and Baltic Studies in Lithuania; International Business and Spanish literature; Higher Education Administration; and Psychology.
B.1} In the second level of consideration, there are a range of issues which involve a combination of academic and operational benchmarks. In general, the academic quality of programs is determined by home-country or US accreditation, breadth and depth of the curriculum available to visiting students, appropriate language instruction, and reputation among peer departments or disciplines.
B.2} Co-equal at the second level is the operational side, where program approval is generally based upon precedent, past experience, personal experience and/or administrative knowledge, the depth and breadth of student services, consistent safety and risk management policies and implementation on site, and staff site visits.