Study Abroad Program Management

Policy Number: 211


The policy details the protocols required for the management of Study Abroad programs, including information crisis management protocols.

Effective Date: 0000-00-00

Responsible Party: Registrar

Administrative Category: Academic Affairs

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff

Keyword(s): Study Abroad Program Management

Full Policy Text:

Full Policy Text

Program Development & Management

1. Program Approval. New and existing programs must be approved each year. New programs require a proposal in addition to the Approval Form. Existing programs require a Program Renewal Form. For substantial changes to an existing program, such as a change in the country of study, an addendum must be attached to the Program Renewal Form. The addendum should confirm that the curriculum originally proposed has not been changed, and if relevant, address how the new location affects the program, safety in the new location, and whether the site visit requirement has been fulfilled.  All program approvals are processed through Study Abroad Programs. All annual approval and renewal forms must be submitted to Study Abroad Programs no later than February 1st for fall programs, June 1st for spring programs, and September 15th for maymester/summer programs. Please refer to the Study Abroad Program Approval Policy on the Study Abroad Programs website for questions concerning who can be a Program Director.
2. Exchange Program Activity Notice. Exchange Program Directors are required to submit an Activity Notice to the Study Abroad Programs office each semester indicating whether or not Georgia State University students will be participating in the exchange. Exchange Program Directors are required to follow the responsibilities specific to exchanges detailed on the Exchange Program Director Pre-Departure Checklist.
3. Mandatory Insurance. Georgia State University Study Abroad Insurance is mandatory for all participants; the cost of this insurance should be built into the program cost.
4. Safety Training. Attending at least one safety training session conducted by the Office of Risk Management is mandatory for new Program Directors. Several sessions will be offered, usually in March, to accommodate faculty schedules. Program Directors of existing programs will receive an updated CD of the safety training session each year.
5. Site Visits. A site visit to prospective program locations is required for all new programs or existing programs to new destinations. Exceptions must be approved by the Director of Study Abroad Programs.
6. Mandatory Annual Program Director Meeting. Program Directors are required to attend an annual meeting with the Associate Provost for International Affairs and the Director of Study Abroad Programs to discuss policies and procedures; receive and review new and updated materials and Program Director Manuals. Failure to attend may result in suspension of the Program Director´s program.
7. Health Form. The Health form/ Physician Certification must be submitted by all study abroad participants. This form should be provided to applicants by the Program Director at the time of acceptance and collected by the Program Director no later than 30 days prior to departure. The Program Director should have immediate access to the forms while abroad. If a student studies on multiple programs, a new health form is required for each study abroad program.
8. Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability, Covenant Not to Sue. The GSU Assumption of Risk document must be signed by all study abroad participants. This form, as well as the Insurance and Refund Policy Form should be provided to students by the Program Director at the time of application. Until these forms are submitted to the Program Director, the application is considered incomplete, and the student cannot be accepted into the program. The Program Director and each participant should keep a copy of these documents.
9. Emergency Contacts. A list (the Emergency Contact Sheet) of all participants, including the faculty member and any other non-students, and their emergency contact names and numbers must to be submitted by each Program Director to Study Abroad Programs prior to departure. A copy of this list will then be distributed to University Relations, the University Police Department, the Associate Provost for International Affairs, and the Alternate Crisis Coordinators.
10. Cell Phones. All Program Directors are required to carry a cell phone for the duration of the program, and a reasonable estimation of the cost of international calls to/from the University for official University business should be built into the program cost to cover applicable reimbursements. This number must be submitted by the Program Director to the Study Abroad Programs office before program departure.  Prior to departure, Exchange Program Directors are required to collect and provide SAP with the cell phone and on-site residential phone numbers and email addresses for all program participants.
11. Submission of Paperwork to Study Abroad Programs Office. Program Directors must submit Student Data Sheets, the Emergency Contact Sheet, itinerary, and emergency pocket brochure draft to the Study Abroad Programs office no later than 30 days prior to departure. Failure to comply with this final deadline will result in the immediate cancellation of the program and revocation of University approval of the study abroad program. If a program is cancelled for this reason, the Provost, Dean, Chair of the Department, Legal Affairs, and the Program Director will be notified and the program will be required to go through the full review process before future trips will be authorized.
12. Student Orientation. Program Directors are required to present a country-specific orientation to all participants with an emphasis on safety issues.
13. Notification of Embassies. Program Directors are required to send a list of participants, including faculty and staff, together with itinerary and overseas contact information to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest the program site. This registration may now be completed online at
14. Emergency Pocket Brochure. Program Directors, their assistants, and all participants should carry this pocket-sized brochure at all times while abroad. This brochure includes country specific information and a list of pertinent Georgia State University numbers. Program specific information for the brochure must be submitted to the Study Abroad Programs Office by April 1st (for maymester/summer programs) for a customized emergency program brochure so that students may receive their copy prior to departure. If program information is not submitted by April 1st, Program Directors will be responsible for producing the brochure themselves.
15. Program Evaluation Form. Program evaluations will be sent to students directly from the Study Abroad Programs staff upon their return from abroad. Once collected, these responses will be shared with the program director.

Crisis Management

1. Log of Events/Program Director. In the event of a crisis or emergency situation abroad, the Program Director is required to immediately begin keeping a log of events. It is critical for information to be shared accurately and completely, as soon as possible.
2. Log of Events/ Campus Crisis Coordinator. During a crisis or emergency abroad the Campus Crisis Coordinator will keep a log of all calls and activities.
3. Incident Report Form. In the event of an incident involving alcohol/drugs, theft, assault of a student, injury/illness, arrest of a student, student behavior problem, or other serious situations involving a student, the Program Director will complete the Incident Report Form and fax or e-mail it as soon as possible to the Study Abroad Programs office. This will inform the office and allow Study Abroad staff to follow up and provide support if necessary. In the event University Relations has been contacted about the incident, this will also allow the Study Abroad Programs office to effectively discuss the incident with University Relations. Study Abroad Programs will send the completed Incident Report to the Dean of Students Office when necessary.
4. Travel Warning or Travel Alert. Georgia State University does not support program development in countries under a Department of State Travel Warning. Travel warnings are issued by the State Department in the event of long-term, protracted conditions that could create a potentially dangerous or unstable situation in a country. Travel alerts are issued by the State Department to disseminate information about short-term conditions on concern. In the event a travel alert is published by the U.S. State Department, whether or not a GSU program can proceed as planned to a country or region will be decided after review by the Crisis Committee on a case by case basis. If the program is approved to continue, students will be notified by the Study Abroad Programs office. They will be informed of the travel alert, and depending on the situation, may be required to sign an additional waiver as a condition of participation in the program.
5. Cancellation of Programs. In the event of an emergency, such as civil unrest, pandemic outbreak, a natural disaster, travel warning or a travel alert, it may be necessary to cancel or alter a program for the safety of the students. The Crisis Coordinator, in consultation with the appropriate members of the Crisis Committee, will recommend to the Provost to continue or cancel the program.
6. Death of a Program Director. If a program director dies while leading a program abroad, the Crisis Coordinator will contact appropriate members of the Crisis Team to plan next steps regarding the program. Based on information about the program and the participants, the Crisis Coordinator will recommend to the Dean of the College and the Provost whether or not the program should continue. The Dean will contact the family of the deceased.    If a program director is admitted to the hospital while abroad, the Crisis Coordinator will take immediate responsibility for decision-making regarding the program, including determining, in consultation with the Dean of the College, whether or not the program will continue.
7. Student Death. If a student dies while abroad, the Program Director should:    
  A. Verify the identity of the student and gather as much information as possible regarding the cause of death.
  B. Contact the Crisis Coordinator immediately. Do not attempt to contact the family. The Crisis Coordinator will contact the Dean of Students who will contact the family. The Crisis Coordinator will also consult with the Counseling & Testing Center and resources will be made available for other program participants.
  C. Notify the US embassy or consulate (if student is not a US citizen or permanent resident, notify the embassy or consulate of citizenship) and the local police as soon as possible.
  D. Make sure the student´s belongings are safely stored and kept confidential.
  E. Notify the rest of the participating students. All circumstances surrounding the death should be kept private until the local police complete an official investigation.
8. Crisis Management Workshop.  A workshop will be given for Program Directors to prepare them in handling emergency situations abroad. The workshop will be facilitated by Study Abroad Programs staff, with the help of relevant units across campus, such as the Counseling and Testing Center.
9. Backgrounder. Each year, the Study Abroad Programs office will update the Backgrounder information for University Relations and the University Police Department. The Backgrounder gives general information about the administration and responsibilities of the Study Abroad Programs Office, descriptions of Georgia State University study abroad programs, and Crisis Prevention and Management Protocol for University sponsored study abroad programs.
10. Phone Script. The emergency phone script is to be used by staff in the Study Abroad Programs Office and GSU Police Department when answering emergency phone calls from students, faculty, or staff from abroad. The script helps track important information to provide the most effective and efficient assistance possible. The Study Abroad Programs Office staff is trained to answer emergency phone calls.
11. Emergency Notification System.  In the event of an emergency or crisis abroad, the Program Director should contact the Office of International Affairs´ Study Abroad Programs Office if the incident is during office hours. If it is not during office hours, the call should be directed to the University Police at 4044133333. This number is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All known information about the emergency should be given, together with contact information for the Program Director. University Police will then contact the Director of Study Abroad Programs, the Associate Provost for International Affairs, the Chief of University Police and the Dean of Students who will then contact the remaining persons identified on the contact list set forth below. The Crisis Coordinator or Alternate Crisis Coordinator (whoever receives call) will determine if circumstances merit contacting the President and the Provost.

 Rationale or Purpose

Georgia State University recognizes the importance of crisis prevention and management for Study Abroad. The issues involved are complex and often fluid. Therefore, the policies set forth below are intended to provide the foundation for a strong protocol for the University. Under the coordination of the Office of International Affairs, the Crisis Committee will meet annually, or as necessary, to review and recommend revisions to these policies.

Policy History

Study Abroad Program Management

Cross References




Additional Information

Please check the Study Abroad web page for the current notification list.

Additional Helpful Resources