Domestic and International Travel Guidelines

Mission, Objectives, and Purpose of Guidelines

Travel programs are organized under the mission and policies of Miami University and have defined academic or experiential objectives. Travel Programs present special challenges, unique rewards and, often, serious risks. It is impossible to compose a set of Guidelines that would cover every single detail of travel programs. This document offers guidance on most major topics and gives insight into many lessor ones. If a specific question is not answered by these Guidelines or a variance from the stated concept is needed, the Program Director should contact Global Initiatives—Study Abroad Office. There is no substitute for good judgment and responsible behavior. Program directors are expected to exercise good judgment, common sense and to act responsibly at all times.

Academic Expectations and Framework

  • Travel study programs must have an educational purpose designed to foster student learning and development.
  • Programs must be designed to foster discipline-specific or interdisciplinary student learning outcomes appropriate to the curriculum, site, and program goals.
  • All travel study programs must be reviewed and pre-approved at least one semester prior to departure as follows:
    • Programs that do not offer academic credit (i.e., non-credit programs, Service-Learning, global internships, student organizations) require the approval of Continuing Education (Academic Affairs).
    • Workshops for academic credit require the approval of Global Initiatives-Study Abroad Office
    • Travel programs offering academic credit, or attached to a regular course offering require the approval of the department chair, divisional dean, and Global Initiatives—Study Abroad Office.
  • The program director will provide appropriate academic and non-academic advising to meet changing student needs before and throughout the period of travel. Program faculty leaders support the curriculum and student learning environment both inside and outside the classroom with an understanding that the entire experience in the host culture forms the learning opportunity
  • Programs will seek to accommodate students with physical or learning disabilities wherever possible.
  • The program must provide support for students returning from abroad to allow for successful cultural re-entry.
  • The program is assessed and evaluated at its conclusion, and subsequent programs are based on the assessment results.
    • Programs are evaluated by the administrative entity providing approval (departmental, divisional and/or administrative unit).
    • Programs are evaluated by the program leadership.

Safety Framework

  • The Global Initiatives—Study Abroad Office is responsible for monitoring local, national and international alerts and warnings. The Provost’s Office has the right to deny, suspend or cancel a program due to safety and security concerns. The Provost’s Office also has the right to amend the curriculum or withdraw program participants from the region due to safety and security concerns. All programs planning travel to locations on the State Department Warning or Alert Travel Guidelines list must consult with the Study Abroad Office to develop a risk management plan for pre-approval of travel. All program directors are expected to share information regarding travel warnings with students PRIOR to registration.
  • Faculty and staff serving as program directors are required to complete, once every two years, safety and security programming as directed by the Global Initiatives-Study Abroad Office. (See Appendix A for the current Program requirements)
  • All program directors must include relevant health information in their Proposal.
    • Information on required and recommended immunizations.
    • Direction and advice regarding health risks and prevention on site.
    • Information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC travel information available at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx.
  • Program directors are required to carry an approved First Aid Medical Kit during program travel.
  • Program directors are expected to counsel students to assess their academic, health, emotional, and cultural ability to participate in the program. Students with previous or current medical and/or mental health conditions will be strongly encouraged to consult with trained medical and/or mental health professionals and to prepare strategies that may be used abroad should they experience problems.
  • Program directors are required to develop protocols specific to the travel study site in collaboration with staff in the Study Abroad Office. Program directors must prepare an Emergency Action Plan (See Appendix B). The program must identify contact information at the location to assist with emergencies and health/safety issues including the police, United States representatives, physician, hospitals, and psychologists.
  • Program Directors must prior to departure, provide emergency contact information and program itinerary to the Global Initiatives-Study Abroad Office and Miami University Police Department.
  • Students must be housed in safe, clean, and culturally-appropriate lodging, and provided with appropriate orientation to their housing situation.

    i. Program directors will comply with Clery Act information requests in a timely manner.

  • Companions are strongly discouraged from accompanying faculty and staff on a study abroad program. Miami University study abroad programs are academic in nature and are not appropriate for accompanying spouses/partners and/or dependents. Traveling companions must be approved at the divisional, departmental, and Academic Affairs levels in the proposal approval process.

Student/Participant Selection

The student enrollment process must be transparent and fair.

  • Program directors must provide transparent, written, and consistent selection standards aligned with institutional standards.
  • Program directors must seek to keep the program affordable for the greatest number of students.
  • Program directors should encourage students to seek financial assistance advice from the Financial Assistance Office and the Global Initiatives—Study Abroad Office.

Selection/application process

  • The application process must include a disciplinary history check conducted by the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution.
  • Minimum age for study abroad and travel programs is 18.
  • Minimum GPA for study abroad and travel programs is 2.25.
  • Directors are responsible for developing an application process for the travel program that includes:
    • Whether the program is “for credit” or “not for credit”.
    • Academic and language prerequisites.
    • The degree to which a student’s disciplinary record will be a factor/consideration for admission to the program.
    • The syllabus and itinerary for the program.
  • Costs of the program including detailed breakdown of program fees, detailed tuition and fees, and detailed information regarding refundability of tuition and program fees.
  • Travel arrangements and options to and from the program, including expectations for faculty, director or program director supervision during travel.
  • Program directors should strongly counsel students to assess their academic, health, emotional, and cultural ability to participate in the program. Students with previous or current medical and/or mental health conditions are strongly encouraged to consult with trained medical and/or mental health professionals and to prepare strategies that may be used abroad should they experience problems.
  • A statement that: Foreign travel and living overseas can provide special challenges and stresses. Medical care, including mental health care, emergency medical care and medicine may not be as available and/or of a quality comparable to that available in the United States.
  • Program directors may, with the approval of Global Initiatives-Study Abroad Office require a physician’s release. When required, all students in program must provide the release.

Requirements

  • All students must read, understand, provide information for and sign the following forms prior to departure:
    • Assumption of Risk and Release Form.
    • Emergency Contact Information Form.
    • Authorization for Medical Procedures and Release of Medical Information Form.
  • All students in a Miami University travel abroad programs are required to purchase supplemental international health, evacuation, accidental death, and repatriation insurance.

Student Conduct Rules for Travel Programs

  • Rules: Students in a travel study program are bound by the applicable policies and rules of Miami University, by the policies and rules of the foreign institutions as disseminated during orientation and by the laws of the site of the program (e.g., foreign country). Students may be bound by additional rules as specified in writing by the program director as deemed necessary for the proper functioning of the program. These additional expectations must be in writing and provided to the students in the program.
  • The Miami University regulations in The Student Handbook, the proscriptions stated in the Academic Misconduct Policy and the Code of Student Conduct are fully applicable, and violations will not be tolerated. The program director must inform students of the Code of Student Conduct, disciplinary processes, and the consequences of violations prior to the beginning of the program, and consistently enforce the Code during the program.
    The disposition disciplinary matter by a host institution, or the lack of a disciplinary matter by a host institution, does not in any way preclude Miami University’s ability to pursue or not pursue its own disciplinary action regarding the same matter.
  • Procedures: If there is reason to believe that a student may have violated Program rules, University policy or regulations, the rules of a foreign institution, the laws of the foreign country or if a student’s conduct poses a risk of harm to the health or safety of the student, to others, to the stability or continuance of the travel program or to property, the program director will first attempt to meet with the student.

    It is advisable that the program director have an additional person present at the conference. A written and dated record of the conference must be kept.

    The program director will advise the student in advance of the concerns/conduct that precipitated the meeting. If the director determines that the seriousness of the incident is such that it warrants a possible dismissal of the student from the program, the director will first confer with the Dean of Students or other appropriate administrator at Miami University as to what action should be taken.

  • Disciplinary Action: Program directors have the option of initiating disciplinary action for misconduct. Disciplinary action may include a summary suspension and removal from the program. i. If the director determines that the student's conduct may have violated academic or conduct standards or rules as stated in "The Code of Student Conduct” or in The Student Handbook, the reporting requirements stated therein will be followed, and the accused student will have recourse to the appropriate procedures.
  • Removal from the Program: The desired outcome of the conference with a student is that the student will complete the program. If the program director determines, in consultation with University administration, that the student's continued association with the program poses a significant risk of harm to the student or puts the health or safety of other program participants, the academic integrity of the program, or the relationship with the foreign institution, other partners or country at risk, the student may be immediately removed from the program. i. In the event of removal from the program, the student must vacate the facilities provided by the program and will be withdrawn from all course work associated with the program. In the event of removal, the student remains responsible for all costs associated with program enrollment, without recourse to a refund.

Orientation Program

All programs directors are required to submit a description of the orientation program in the program proposal and to conduct an in-person orientation program for participants prior to the departure date of the program. In the event an in-person orientation is not feasible, the Program Director must develop a suitable alternative and submit it for approval to the Global Initiatives-Study Abroad Office. Students should be informed that orientations and other planning cannot cover all situations that may arise in travel. Information provided at the orientation must include, but is not limited to:

  • Discussion of the academic and program requirements and policies.
  • Discussion of adjustment to host culture and introduction to the host location, culture, and society.
  • Health Information* – including availability and quality of health care at the travel site as assessed by International SOS and how to use HTH insurance.
  • Legal Information* – students must be informed about differing standards, both for behavior and for operation of the criminal justice system and advised that the University will not assume responsibility for or resolve criminal matters on their behalf. Students must be informed that they will be subject to the laws or customs of the cities and countries and that Miami University is not responsible for the violation of any laws by the participants and Miami University does not assure that U.S. standards of due process apply in other countries and that Miami University does not provide or pay for legal representation.
  • Emergency Contact Information*
  • What to do, where to go and who to contact in the event of a crisis/emergency on site.
  • Location and phone number of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to the program site(s).
  • Miami Police Department 513-529-2222 (available 24/7) contact information.
  • Safety information* – Safety information is to be provided before the students leave campus and again once they have arrived at the foreign site. Safety information includes: • General safety information and detailed ways in which students can obtain safety information.
  • Site specific safety information. • Information designed both to alert students to potential dangers and to instruct them about ways they can, through their own behavior, reduce risk. Bystander responsibility information should also be provided.
  • Safety information is not limited to risk from criminal activity, but must also include risks occurring because safety standards are not what students experience in the U.S., (e.g., bus and auto travel, hotel safety) as provided by International SOS.
  • Information Regarding Political/Cultural conditions* – Students must be advised to inform themselves of risks through the U.S. State Department Consular Information sheets and travel warnings and public announcements for information regarding specific countries found at http://travel.state.gov/*
  • Disciplinary Information and Rules of Foreign Institution (see Section 6 below)* – Students must be informed of the Student Conduct Rules for Travel Programs. If the program is hosted by another university or provider location, students must be informed that they will be subject to the host’s student conduct code as well as Miami’s Code of Student Conduct. In case of conflict about standards of conduct, the host institution’s conduct code prevails. Students should be provided with a copy of the host institution’s student conduct code or informed of how to obtain a copy.
  • Harassment and Discrimination Information* – Students and employees must be strongly encouraged to immediately contact the program director, a staff person accompanying the program and/or the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity 513-529--7157, Kenya Ash, Director (ashkd@miamioh.edu) if the person believes they are being subjected to harassment or discrimination during a travel study program. Directors and staff are expected to invoke the Emergency Protocol (Appendix C) upon receipt of a report of harassment or discrimination.
  • Rape, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Information (Title IX offenses)* – Students and employees must be strongly encouraged to immediately contact the program director, a staff person accompanying the program, and/or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Sexual Assault (513) 529-1870 if the person Travel Guidelines 6 believes they have been the victim of one of these offenses. Directors and staff are expected to invoke the Emergency Protocol (Appendix C) upon receipt of a report of a Title IX Offense.
  • Drugs and Alcohol* – Students must be informed that Miami University does not tolerate unlawful possession, use of, or distribution of illegal drugs and alcohol by students. • University funds or program fees may not be used to purchase alcohol for students. • University faculty and staff may not purchase alcohol for students. • Students should be informed in writing that students of legal age, who are consuming alcohol in a host country, must do so responsibly, respecting the health and safety of self, others, and the laws of their host country. Program directors are free to elect to make the program alcohol free and tom impose a no alcohol and/or drugs (e.g., in places where marijuana is legal) as a condition of participation in the program. This information must be provided in writing to the students.
  • Travel – Students must be advised that all pre-course, supplemental, or post-course travel is at the student’s own risk and is not sanctioned, overseen or insured by Miami University.* Pre-course, supplemental, or post-course travel may not be included in any written or verbal advertising, representations, or publicity associated with the travel program. All travel must be directly related to course instruction and curriculum.

* All pre-departure orientation information must also be provided in writing. All written information on study abroad or travel program should be made available for to parents and guardians. Program directors are expected to provide on-going orientation during the program. On-going orientation will include points of reference to the host location and culture to maximize the student learning experience and minimize the health and safety concerns.