Global Academy Course Academic Standards

Prof. Michael Joy (MLL)
and Advanced Spanish Language:
Salamanca, Spain - Summer 2015

Global Academy Courses are sponsored and approved by their respective academic departments and administered by International Programs staff.  As with traditional on-campus courses, the department/college is responsible for determining Global Academy Course academic standards, contractual commitments, student advising and recruitment.  Additionally, the departments are responsible for reporting residential and conduct issues while their faculty members are traveling with the program.

In partnership with IPO staff, each department/college should consider their own strategies, resources, and priorities when planning a sustainable rotation of Global Academy Courses.  They should first prepare and apply their own internal procedures for preparing and presenting Global Academy Course proposals.

Best practice considerations at the department/college level may include the following.*** (Note that an abbreviated checklist of these standards is required as a signature document included in the Global Academy Course Proposal packet.)


Qualifications of Global Academy Leaders:

  • How is the lead faculty qualified in the academic area, host country skills and possible student life/student conduct issues?

  • Has the Leader conducted a thorough site visit, and are there potential partner relationships with non-NMU affiliated program providers?
    If so, what are the financial obligations to the partner, and what are the third party qualifications to support and administer such programs?

  • Has the Leader determined an appropriate Program Assistant or co-leader, and if so, have the assistant’s qualifications been communicated?

  • How has the Leader demonstrated sensitivity and skill in communicating inter-cultural benefits?

  • Has or will the Leader commit to the annual Global Academy Leader Preparation Sessions coordinated by the IPO (generally offered in the fall semester)? Department chairs are encouraged to arrange release from teaching obligations on the dates of these critical preparation sessions.

  • Will the department support Global Academy Leaders by promoting the program to students and by including the Leader’s work when considering contract renewals, performance evaluations, course release time and promotions/tenure?


Global Academy Course:

  • Benefits to the department curriculum; how do the program and course fit with degree and career preparation?  Will the Global Academy Course be used as an option to fulfill degree requirements in the major or minor? 

  • Has it met standards for General Elective credit and, if so, in which division?

  • Clear articulation of learning objectives and why international study is useful to reach those objectives.

  • Syllabi that meets NMU criteria (both undergraduate and graduate) with rigor in grading and advanced assignments for upper-level student participants.  Copies of program syllabi must be forwarded to IPO well in advance of the first day of the Global Academy Course.

  • Will the department collaborate with other departments that have similar learning objectives? Cross-listing may provide a broader base for student enrollment, reducing the burden of expenses and faculty costs.

  • How will the Course affect faculty load and salaries?

  • New course or existing course number?  NMU places an “x” at the end of course sections which include an international experience abroad. Additionally, NMU transcripts will bear the location of courses taken abroad in any given semester.

  • Does the Course stipulate minimum and maximum enrollment expectations?  Does the proposal include an admission and commitment deposit date to determine go or no-go? Who makes and communicates the decision?

  • How many credit hours and what is the work required to earn those hours, including assessment?  NMU expects Global Academy leaders to deliver a minimum of 8 hours of on-campus course/inter-cultural content prior to travel. This 8 hours must include a safety, health and risk orientation by qualified IPO staff.  Hours spent in international and in-country travel to and from sites do not generally qualify toward earned credit hours.

  • How is the Global Academy Course assessed through student evaluations or other measures/metrics.   IPO conducts post-travel surveys to assess the general quality of student participation and to gather information for required conduct and/or safety reporting.  Results are shared in aggregate with sponsoring departments and faculty leaders.

  • Is the department able to sustain each program with funding and faculty leadership?

  • Is there a plan for rotating one or more department-sponsored Global Academy Courses? How will the department avoid competing with itself for a limited pool of eligible students?

Global Academy Course – Student Considerations:

  • Does the proposal include student advising appropriate to international study decisions?

  • Admission requirements and prerequisites (including language skills):  Will guest students from other institutions be permitted to participate?  Participating students must meet NMU eligibility requirements for participation in any faculty-led Global Academy Course – generally a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and good disciplinary standing at the time of study abroad.

  • How will the department market the program to students? 

  • Financial budget for the program (fixed and variable costs) and whether students and/or the college will share/divide those expenses.  How are faculty members compensated and/or funded? IPO provides management of the Global Academy Course budget while departments/deans approve use of tuition funds to fulfill faculty compensation per contract.

  • How are students funded and how much will students be charged?  Note: In order to receive summer financial aid, undergraduate students must take at least six credits over both summer sessions.

  • Has the Global Academy Leader communicated terms under which Global Academy Course fees are refundable?  Is there a cancelation policy specific to the study abroad course?

  • NMU has limited competitive scholarship funding available for student study abroad, administered by the IPO. Scholarship deadlines are communicated as part of the student’s admission to the Global Academy Course and are applied to the student’s receivable account, generally applied first to tuition and other NMU-issued charges.  It is important to communicate all costs at a date well in advance of travel.