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Leadership: Roles and Responsibilities

The program director role is diverse, intensive, challenging and highly rewarding. The job is demanding in time and energy both in the planning and preparation stages, and while abroad. While it is not for everyone, most directors cite the job as one that provides a unique opportunity to teach outside the classroom, to interact with and understand students on a new level, and to grow personally and professionally.

In order to fulfill the outlined responsibilities, program directors are expected to be adaptable, flexible, and possess the ability to problem-solve in a timely and efficient manner. When dealing with crises, emergencies, or difficult situations, the staff member must be able to prioritize and address the needs of oneself, individuals, and the group. A program director contract outlines those duties and serves an important part of the program proposal.

The Study Abroad Office will assist program directors at all stages of program development and management, providing training, resources, and support. At the same time, it is important for program directors to have a support system on-site. Programs are sometimes hosted at a University partner institution, utilize a third-party provider, or build in other faculty/staff positions (co-director, assistant director, and/or program assistant). It’s important to build a strong team to run highly-effective, sustainable programs that meet the diverse needs of our student populations.