Study Abroad

Department chairs

Sponsoring department responsibilities

UW Study Abroad programs are reviewed by the chair and dean of the sponsoring department and school/college. Chairs are asked to sign off on the program based on the department’s responsibilities listed below. We also share the proposal with the department administrator(s) to include them in the planning process from the start.

Please also read our Faculty-led Program Policies for more information about program requirements.


  • Ensure the program’s courses meet the department’s educational and learning goals
  • Award departmental credit for the courses taught on the program
  • Ensure that the credits offered are correctly designated for areas of knowledge or major/minor requirements
  • Ensure the number of credits are appropriate given the curriculum and duration of the study abroad program
  • Verify that the curriculum offered meets the standards of rigor and content of other courses taught by the department on campus

Program leadership and appointments

  • Verify that the faculty and staff listed are qualified to lead the program
  • Review and verify that the faculty and staff monthly salaries are correct
  • Set up appointments for all program faculty and staff. If faculty and staff already have appointments, verify that these appointments will be active during the duration of the program and that the employees can receive salary during this time.
  • Enter salary payments for all faculty and staff from the department leading the study abroad program
  • Ensure that replacement teaching funds are used towards salaries for those faculty teaching on the study abroad program


Zero Balance Policy 

  • At the end of the current program cycle (after Spring 2021) UW Study Abroad will ‘zero out’ the accumulated balances in all our faculty-led program budgets (deficits as well as surpluses).
  • Total net balances (surpluses minus deficits) will create the initial reserve in a new Study Abroad Program Assistance Fund (SAPAF) that will provide increased protection against financial losses in programs once study abroad resumes.
  • The SAPAF will act as an insurance fund for all faculty-led programs. The fund will be available to assist programs in case of emergency or unforeseen costs, or multiple student withdrawals, which might otherwise make a program unsustainable.
  • Every iteration of a program will generate a contribution to the SAPAF. This contribution, similar to the current program reserve that many of you are familiar with, will be calculated as 7.5% of total program costs, but these funds will not be available for program directors to spend.
  • If SAPAF funds reach a UW-permitted maximum amount, to be held for emergencies and program deficits, additional contributions will be used for the Global Innovation Fund, student scholarships, and one-time expenses to support UW Study Abroad operations.

Budget balances (surpluses and deficits)

  • All future program iterations (starting with the Summer 2021 programs) will begin and end with a zero balance.
  • Every iteration of a program will have a separate and independent budget, and all program budgets will be ‘zeroed out’ after reconciliation. 
  • There will no longer be any balance transfers or carryovers (deficits or surpluses) between iterations of a program.

Budgeting under the new policy

  • Program directors and program managers will work together to aim for a ‘zero balance’ of expenses and revenues at the end of every program iteration.
  • The goal is to have an approximately zero balance across all programs, with surpluses and deficits netting out, and the 7.5% SAPAF contribution flowing directly into the assistance fund.
  • Study abroad program proposal – Chair review guidelines

This is a reference guide for Department Chairs to review faculty-led study abroad program proposals. The sections below correspond with the proposal.

Program leadership

  • Is this program director qualified to lead the program?
  • Does the program director have an appointment?
  • Will they need to be appointed for this program? Are there any issues with their appointment?
  • Is this faculty member available to teach during this time?
  • Is this co-leader qualified to lead the program?
  • Does the co-leader have an appointment?
  • Will they need to be appointed for this program? Are there any issues with their appointment?
  • Is this co-lead available during this time?

Do you need to check in with your administrator about program staffing or appointments?
The proposal will also be shared with your department administrator, so please be in communication with them if you have any concerns.

Envisioning your program

  • Are the educational goals of this program clear?
  • Does this program fit in with your department’s educational goals and priorities?
  • Do the program leaders have site experience?

Course information

  • Are the number of credits earned appropriate for the duration of the program?
  • Are the course numbers and areas of knowledge correct?
  • If courses are taught by outside faculty, is your department comfortable with that arrangement
  • Do these courses fulfill the department’s major or minor requirements?


  • Does this program appeal to a broad range of students or does it cater specifically to majors?
  • Is it important to your department that the program serve majors?

Spending plan

  • Is faculty member’s appointment and monthly salary accurate?
  • Is the co-leader’s appointment and monthly salary accurate?

The proposal will also be shared with your department administrator, so please be in communication with them if you have any concerns.