Policies for Faculty in Travel Courses

Info and Policies for Faculty Leading Travel Courses

Any May Term course that spends six or more nights off campus is considered a travel course.  Whether they travel domestically or internationally, all travel courses are subject to special rules and timelines.  All travel courses also receive special support from the Office of International Education.

IL travel courses have a number of special policies and timelines. Basic policies are outlined here. Consult the Gen Ed Director or International Education Director for more details.

Topics and Destinations

Any discipline can work well as a travel course as long as the topic and mode of study actively engage with and benefit from the travel location. Faculty are urged to select destinations they already know to ensure its suitability. Faculty who have not visited their destination before proposing a course, will be asked to justify that choice and demonstrate suitability.  Faculty are encouraged to avoid the costliest locales and to make choices that keep costs manageable for students.

Academic Content

Courses must meet for at least 14 days. This count includes travel days in both directions. While faculty may give students entire weekends off within the travel time, these days should not then be counted towards the 14 course days. In general, students should be engaging with course concepts for a significant portion of each course day. Instructors must balance course content, general engagement with the destination, and personal time.

Each course has 3-4 predeparture meetings during spring semester. No graded work can be required during spring semester, but students can be asked to read, view films, or do modest amounts of research. Most faculty limit the amount of reading while traveling since carrying multiple books is cumbersome. Some faculty have students take a test on prior reading while flying to their destination. Students are often required to complete oral and written reflections, video and photo projects, interviews, and oral presentations while traveling. Some courses include service requirements. Students can be asked to complete a paper after returning home, but faculty need to consider carefully the timelines to allow students to decompress and still meet the Registrar's final grade deadline.

Help Making Travel Plans

We encourage faculty to consider using an agency to make some or all of their travel plans. The International Education Office can also consult with faculty making international travel plans.  Courses are encouraged to depart from a major airport rather than the Roanoke airport unless meeting on campus first. Courses are discouraged from meeting on campus in the days prior to departure unless this is absolutely needed. Meeting on campus and flying out of Roanoke often increases course costs.

Application & Registration Procedures for IL Travel Courses

Students wishing to apply for any travel course submit an application to the Dean's Office September through November. The Gen Ed Director facilitates sending applications to faculty, providing checks of academic and conduct records, and notifying the students of their status.

Faculty should actively recruit and screen potential students.  Once a faculty member has notified the Gen Ed Director that a particular student has been accepted to a course, the student will be notified and provided with enrollment materials.

All students must pay a non-refundable $300 initial deposit to the Business Office by November 15. The Business Office will accept a student's deposit only with an enrollment form has been signed by the Dean's Office.

After paying the initial deposit in the Business Office, the student brings the enrollment form back to the Dean's Office to be enrolled in the course and turn in required materials such as copies of the student's passport and insurance card.

Selected Policies

In addition to the instructor, all courses must take a second adult to serve as program assistant. Expenses for both the instructor and the program assistant are covered by student fees. Immediate family members of the instructor (but not the program assistant) may travel with the group. All expenses for family members are covered by the instructor. If children young enough to require childcare are included in the instructor's family group, the instructor must take and pay for someone to provide this childcare. The program assistant cannot provide childcare. Both instructor and program assistant must travel with the students from the US to the destination. At least one adult must accompany the students back to the US or place them on a direct flight. Only Roanoke College students may enroll in the course. Others may not travel with the group. Instructors will be required to attend several lunch meetings in the academic year prior to departure. Instructors are responsible to enforcing college policies while abroad.

No money from course budgets can be spent until February. Reservations requiring non-refundable deposits may not be placed until then.

A wide range of policies and guidelines will be discussed in the academic year prior to travel. Instructors considering a travel course are encouraged to consult the Gen Ed Director with any questions.