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Information for Staff Interested in Co-leading a Program 

6Co-leading a study abroad program is both a great professional development opportunity for UW staff, as well as a way to directly serve students and faculty in an international setting. Could add more rah rah language here. 

Staff Co-leader Roles and Responsibilities

Below is a list of possible responsibilities that a co-leader may have on a study abroad program. The division of labor between faculty program director and staff co-leader varies from program to program based on the needs of the program and individual skills and experience of the faculty and staff involved. It’s important that program directors and co-leader establish a clear division of labor early on in the partnership. 

Sample job description 


  • Participate in sourcing program logistics – e.g. housing, activities, guest speakers, classroom space, local coordinators 
  • Assist in developing the program itinerary and schedule 
  • Assist in authoring the UW Study Abroad program proposal 
  • Assist in developing the UW Study Abroad program spending plan 
  • Fill out and submit the UW Study Abroad Co-leader registration 


  • Organize and deliver program info sessions
  • Participate in classroom visits 
  • Learn how to use the study abroad online application system.
  • Develop program marketing materials, including a brochure, poster and/or website to advertise your program with the UW community. Marketing materials should include a program and site description, summary of the academic content of the program, the program fee and any prerequisites, requirements or expectations for participation in the program.
  • Actively recruit applicants for your program using posters, flyers, info sessions, classroom visits, former participants, student organizations, online networking sites, etc.
  • Review applications and make admissions decisions 

Preparing to depart

  • Assist with development of course and program syllabi to inform students of course activities and requirements, communicate how students will be evaluated and graded
  • Communicate your academic and behavioral expectations
  • Help to organize and deliver program orientation for student participants 
  • Attend Program Director Workshops annually
  • Ensure you have a valid passport and visa (if necessary) to travel outside of the U.S. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program.

Program logistics, budget and advance payments

  • Take out a field advance (you must be in good standing with Financial Services and eligible to take out a field advance. If you have an outstanding field advance, you will not be able to take out another)
  • Assist with finalizing program logistics: verify reservations, negotiate final prices and secure resources (instructors, guests, classroom, housing, food, tickets, transportation, activities, etc.).
  • Assist with finalizing the program spending plan and make any needed adjustments based on enrollment, final logistics, etc.
  • Arrange for any advance payments or deposits. Collect invoices from vendors and forward to UW Study Abroad to process payments.
  • Arrange travel for yourself and other program staff
  • Maintain regular contact with UW Study Abroad staff, remain available via email, phone or Skype.

Final preparations

  • Provide emergency contact information to UW Study Abroad for the duration of your program. Submit this information before your departure.
  • Schedule a field advance meeting with the UW Study Abroad Finance & Administration Team to request your field advance and review management of program funds.
  • Register the trip with the U.S. State Department.

In the field

  • Confirm safe arrival of all program participants with UW Study Abroad.
  • Oversee program logistics.
  • Act as the custodian and manager of UW field advance funds and resources. Track all program expenditures on-site and collect required documentation (receipts, etc.).
  • Act as a source resource for student inquiries and problems.
  • Act as a responder to logistical, medical, behavioral, and other crises.
  • Serve as the program’s liaison with UW Study Abroad and the University of Washington.

Program wrap-up

  • Gather receipts and documentation for your field advance reconciliation. Submit your completed paperwork and field advance ledger to your Study Abroad Finance & Administration contact person.
  • Complete UW Study Abroad’s post-program report survey, including information on what went well, what did not go well, what you would keep or change for future programs. This also the opportunity to officially report any incidents that occurred on your program.
  • Review student evaluations collected and sent by UW Study Abroad.

Factors to consider 

  • Advocate for yourself – many faculty are looking for staff to help them lead a program. Network with your UW and UW Study Abroad colleagues. Be vocal about your interest and what skills you bring to the program. Don’t be afraid to reach out to faculty and ask them about their programs. 
  • Timing – have a conversation with your supervisor early on about your interest in helping to lead a program. There may be times of the year that are better than others for you to be gone. Have clear conversations about how you will manage your work while you are gone. Will you continue to do this work yourself? Will you require coverage from your team? 
  • Salary and time off – determine if your department is willing to keep you on salary while you co-lead a program, or if your salary would need to be covered by the program budget. Ask your supervisor if you would need to take vacation time to lead the program, or if your unit is willing to consider leading the program as hours worked. 
  • Educate yourself – read through the Program Directors section of the UW Study Abroad website to understand the policies, pedagogies, and processes involved in running a program. The more you know about study abroad at UW, the greater an assesst you will be to a program director.

Finding a program to co-lead 

There are several ways that a staff member can find a program to support. 

  1. Organically – do you know a faculty member you would like to work with? Or maybe you have been asked by a faculty member to serve as a staff co-lead on a program. This is a great way to form a partnership as it is based on a pre-existing relationship. 
  2. Fill out UW Study Abroad’s Staff Interest Form (LINK) – this form asks a series of questions about your international personal and professional experience, as well as your history of higher education and student support. Faculty program directors will have access to this information and will contact you directly if they think you would be a good fit for their program. NOTE: if you submit this form, your information will be publicly available to the UW community.
    Fill out the form
  3. Talk to UW Study Abroad – you can meet with any member of our faculty-led team to introduce yourself and let us know your interests. We can keep you in mind if we learn of a program that could use additional support. We suggest you familiarize yourself with UW Study Abroad’s current offerings to get a sense of the kind of faculty-led programs we are running.