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Smeal Faculty-Led Summer Programs

More information for Smeal faculty who would like to propose a course to teach abroad during the summer term, Maymester or embedded in a domestic course. Strickler Office of International Programs manages several summer programs and is always looking for course ideas from interested faculty.


Strickler Office of International Programs manages several summer programs and is always looking for course proposals from interested faculty. These programs are already established logistically with our international partners in terms of dates, location, housing, etc. Instructors are responsible for developing a course and teaching within the framework of these programs. Please review the Benefits and Responsibilities page for more information regarding expectations of teaching abroad.

Established Locations

New Locations

Program proposals are welcome for Maymester (3 week/3 credit) and Embedded study abroad programs. Maymester will follow the description of Developing a Course Abroad below. If you choose to propose a short 7-10 day embedded study abroad as part of a domestic course, please see Vanessa Hausmann () or Ellie Labrin ()to discuss your ideas.

Developing a Course Abroad

Students typically study abroad on these summer programs after their freshman or sophomore year. Think about what you might teach that would appeal to rising sophomore or rising junior students. It is usually best if students from multiple Smeal majors would find it interesting. Consider if you have contacts in a company, organization, or university abroad that might be open to hosting students on a field trip related to your topic. Reflect on how your topic would include a regional flavor. Field trips and guest lectures are often organized with the help of our partners, what types of visits might your course incorporate? Summer programs are either three or six weeks. If you are not prepared to be abroad six weeks, do you have a colleague that might divide the time with you? 

Effectively, there are three requirements which must be met for any study abroad course:

  1. The course must be within the faculty member’s areas of expertise, yet different than what a faculty member has taught at University Park.
  2. The course should be of general interest to a wide-range of Smeal majors with minimal pre-requisites (ie. ETM courses can be required or simply recommended). Since Smeal majors must take their major courses at UP, there is no demand for narrow, advanced major courses abroad. Ideal courses would appeal to both young and experienced students alike with different backgrounds and connections to the topic.
  3. There must be a linkage between the course and the locale. For example, courses in Europe need to relate to the city, region, country or group of countries where the course is held.

Courses have successfully been offered from all Smeal departments. You are welcome to reach out to your colleagues who have taught abroad to discuss their experience.

How to Express Interest

Faculty who would like to be considered to teach abroad during the summer should complete an Interest Sheet ideally by April 1st of the year before. Please indicate the locations that you would be interested in teaching in and provide a basic overview of your ideas for a course. Please note, a full syllabus is not required at this point. 

Teaching Abroad Interest Sheet

Please email completed forms to Vanessa Hausmann at . We are accepting proposals for Summer 2020. Reach out to us if you are interested but cannot have a proposal prepared by April 1st - we can come up with an alternate timeline. We welcome faculty to submit an Interest Sheet at any time indicating a general or future interest (Summers 2021 and beyond). We will add you to our email list with update announcements. 

Selection Process

We want as many faculty to have the opportunity to teach abroad as possible, but we must balance many variables in making final decisions about courses and instructors for each summer season. We will consider factors such as the course's field, marketability, and fit within the overall summer portfolio. We often strive for portfolio diversity in order to meet student demand.

We will reach out to you if there are any questions about your course proposal as we review overall faculty interest for each summer. The next step in the course selection process would be an academic review with Terrence Guay, Associate Dean for International Programs, after which a formal offer can be made.

Then, once the faculty member commits, we begin the task of promoting and filling all our programs with qualified students. When both students and instructors benefit from the experience, we have done our jobs well. 


April 1 - Submit Teach Abroad Interest Sheet (contact Vanessa for alternate submission timeline)

September 1 - Smeal Office of International Programs course selection for the following summer

September 15 - Faculty commitment to teaching assignment and associated responsibilities

October 1 - Student recruitment begins

February 1 - Student application deadline

End of February - Student commitment deadline: Program run guarantee. If necessary, a program may be cancelled due to low enrollment.


Questions? Get in touch with Ellie Labrin () or Vanessa Hausmann () to set up an appointment to discuss further.