The health and safety of students participating in study abroad programs is the highest priority of the Study Abroad Office (SAO). Therefore, risks associated with travel to and study in program locations must be addressed thoroughly to ensure that the University has covered all possible aspects related to program safety. The SAO relies on faculty directors, as experts on the program site, to be very aware of safety concerns in the program location, and to address any safety concerns that may affect the program. Therefore, faculty directors are asked to submit a safety assessment as part of their program proposal and annual renewal process.
Safety assessments are required both to aid faculty directors in planning for the safety of themselves and their students as well as serve as written documentation of the safety planning that has taken place prior to a program’s departure.
Goals of the Safety Assessment:
- To document assessment of program safety, which is kept on file in the SAO
- To ensure that SAO staff and faculty directors are informed about risks associated with program location and how to mitigate those risks
- To ensure that each faculty director has developed a plan to respond to health, safety and security issues if they arise
- To help SAO respond to questions from students, parents, or any University officials about program safety
- To address any new issues that may have arisen since the previous year’s assessment
- To serve as a written record of any changes made to a program in order to mitigate risks and ensure student safety
While it would be extremely rare for a program to be canceled or changed substantially, adjustments to onsite arrangements are sometimes necessary or legally required.