Office of Global Affairs

Guidelines for Global Engagement

Our vision for global engagement at the UW

The University of Washington is globally engaged for the benefit of our students, region, and world. We are uniquely positioned to make a global impact. The UW offers depth, scale, and a long history of leadership in vital areas of research including: global health; earth, life and climate sciences; as well as area studies, language instruction, and world affairs. An economic center in the most trade dependent state in the country, Seattle is home to some of the world’s most respected corporations and nonprofits — and the UW is integral to the region’s innovation ecosystem.

As one of the world’s most innovative universities, and as an institution with a mission to drive the public good, it is our responsibility to leverage our strengths and partner across boundaries. We are globally engaged because we must be in order to solve pressing global challenges like climate change and population health, and to create much needed venues for free expression. Collaboration is essential to our success, and we are proud of our global network of outstanding university, industry, nonprofit, and government agency partners.

We work tirelessly to achieve mutual benefit. With ethical engagement and a focus on inclusivity, global connectivity need not diminish local differences. This mindset impacts research, engagement, as well as teaching and learning.

Global engagement is integral to the Husky Experience, helping students gain a global perspective, the ability to navigate and thrive within diverse communities and workplaces, and an appreciation for the value of diversity. We prioritize the inclusion of global experience in our curricula, and global research is embedded across the educational experience. We are working to expand access to global learning so all students can engage in a global experience – locally or overseas – which further their interests and goals.

Our commitment to global engagement and public service is embedded in every level of our institution: our strategic initiatives, the innovative research carried out by our faculty, and in the comprehensive and globally focused experience we provide to our students. It is borne out in our inclusive approach to innovation, our diverse and international campus community, our unique approach to area studies, and our commitment to equitable access to opportunity. Our students, faculty, region, and world benefit from our collaborative global engagement. Together, we boldly pursue solutions to problems that affect us all.

Finally, we acknowledge that our University occupies Native land. We honor our indigenous hosts by valuing indigeneity wherever we engage and prioritize indigenous intellectual history above the University’s.


The University

Ethical behavior and engagement

  • Above all, do no harm through global engagement.
  • Demonstrate ongoing commitment to ethical engagement.
  • Require and maintain the highest standards of consent, care, and protocol, regardless of location.
  • Recognize the complicated and painful legacy of colonialism and the continuing problem of inequality and social injustice within and between nations worldwide.
  • Engage thoughtfully; our presence may burden host communities.
  • Recognize that host communities may not share our values for non-discrimination (for example: sex and gender, sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity). The UW honors and upholds an anti-discrimination policy and proactively includes this in agreements and points to it in its work. We proactively counsel faculty, staff, and students to ensure their safety in these contexts.

Intellectual property and scholarly publication

  • Support and promote the principles and practice of scholarly access.
  • Develop fair protections for Intellectual Property, promoting open access whenever possible. This can include: negotiating terms of protection and access in advance, providing a menu of options for protection, and striving to provide open access, particularly for low-income communities and countries.

Diversity, equity and inclusive engagement

  • Engagement outside the U.S. should be done in partnership with local institutions, organizations, and/or communities.
  • Collaboration and capacity building should be central to any partnership.
    Engage in partnership and collaboration with the goal of reciprocal benefit. Be transparent, honest, and fair with partners.
  • Actively engage partners to learn about local interests and needs. Develop projects and programming to address the priorities identified.
  • Work with partners to develop common norms and understanding of ownership.
    Understand equality within historical and cultural context.
  • Value diversity in all forms, seek out a variety of opinions and insights, strive to lead by example, and seek guidance from UW and community partners.
  • Increase faculty, staff, and student access to global research and learning and reduce barriers to participation.
  • Promote inclusive engagement, and create spaces where all faculty, staff, and students feel welcome and can learn from one another.
  • Support programming that further integrates our campus, enhances cross-cultural discourse, and recognizes the rich diversity of our community, including international and heritage communities, .
    Inspire all members of the campus community to contribute new perspectives, knowledge, and skills to the classroom, research, and campus environment.
  • Thoughtfully support and curate a set of international learning opportunities which appeals to and meets the needs of our diverse student community.
  • Help students navigate the challenging demands of academics, mental health, self-care, interpersonal relationships, and professional development, particularly as they relate to global engagement and our increasingly global campus.

Faculty and staff

Ethical behavior and engagement

  • Regardless of location, adhere to the highest standards of consent, care and protocol.
  • Review and practice the principles outlined in these guidelines. Share them with colleagues and students.
  • Follow University and state guidelines for faculty conduct and sharing of expertise.
  • Reflect critically on international activities to be sure that they mirror University values and best practices.

Diversity, equity, and inclusive engagement

When leading student programs and advising students:

  • Strive to create student groups representing diverse academic and personal perspectives.
  • Develop awareness of the impact of identity on students’ global engagement experiences. Actively seek resources to prepare and support students, especially those from communities underrepresented in higher education.


Ethical behavior and engagement

  • Behave thoughtfully and respectfully while abroad. Understand that you are an ambassador for the University and your community, and act accordingly.
  • Understand and comply with the UW Study Abroad Standards of Conduct.

Diversity, equity, and inclusive engagement

  • Actively engage with fellow students from all backgrounds, and take advantage of opportunities for global engagement on campus, in the community, and beyond.
  • Seek out opportunities to grow cross-cultural skills and leave comfort zones.
  • If studying abroad, participate in pre-departure preparation on social behaviors, local cultures, language, and expectations, as well as health, safety, and security.

Operational and behavioral guidelines

The health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students is critical to the success of our work. These guidelines promote safety and security and minimize risk.

The University

  • Provide mandatory pre-departure orientations on health, safety and security for faculty, staff, and students engaging in or leading study abroad programs.
  • Provide country-specific health and safety information and orientations to faculty, staff, and students engaging in higher-risk locations.
  • Offer comprehensive international insurance for faculty, staff, students, and their dependents (requiring purchase when appropriate).
  • In case of emergency, offer support and connections to resources to faculty, staff, and students engaging in official UW activities outside the U.S.

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Faculty and staff

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  • Get a medical consultation before traveling.
  • Register international travel via the UW Travel Registry.
  • Understand the health and social risks associated with travel. These include: varying availability of healthcare, attitudes toward special communities, and accommodation of special needs and difference.

Study abroad program leaders

  • Strive for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to pre-departure orientation.
  • Actively support and create opportunities for critical reflection while abroad.
  • Provide opportunities for post-return “unpacking” for students.
  • Collaborate across disciplines and units to create a mix of university-wide and program-specific offerings.
  • Catalog the offerings and promote them to students.
  • Identify opportunities for students to engage in research.
  • Understand that individual students may need specialized advising and support services before, during, and after study abroad to address financial, personal, academic or other concerns. Be aware of available campus resources, and actively connect students to them as appropriate.
  • If leading or advising students, be familiar with the UW Study Abroad Code of Conduct, and hold students accountable to it.
  • Participate in pre-departure preparation on social behaviors, local cultures, language, and expectations of students, as well as health, safety, and security.


  • Understand and comply with the UW Student International Travel Policy.
  • Understand the health and social risks associated with travel. These include: varying availability of healthcare, attitudes toward special communities, and accommodation of special needs and difference.
  • Participate in pre-departure health, safety, and security orientations. Plan ahead as advised, and exercise appropriate precautions.