Global Academy Overview

The International Education Services office provides structure and direction for programs approved as offerings. Program types may include:

  • Faculty-Led Courses
  • Service Learning Experiences
  • Academic Internships

IES staff serve as your partner in enriching the educational experience for students enrolled in your Study Abroad program  You can count on support for all phases, from the initial site assessment and host country contacts, through budgeting, travel-related contracts, student recruitment, and pre-departure orientation. We will also assist you in planning effective strategies for risk management and emergency preparedness.

Quick Links

Global Academy Leadership

Discipline-specific and interdisciplinary academic programs are proposed and led by Northern Michigan University faculty or qualified academic officers and are sponsored, in partnership with International Programs, by affiliated colleges and academic departments.

International Programs considers proposals for Global Academy Courses only if the faculty leader holds appointment (including emeriti) as tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty, instructor, or senior instructor.

Faculty on sabbatical or other approved leave during the semester(s) immediately prior to the period of travel are not eligible to lead as they would not be available to recruit participants and to attend required leader preparation sessions.

Proposals from others may be considered for Global Academy Service Projects, which may be proposed by senior administrators or other NMU staff members, with the support of their unit supervisor.

The program must be supervised at the overseas site(s) by an NMU faculty member(s) who also serve as the faculty instructor(s) of record for the Global Academy course(s).  If two or more faculty leaders assume teaching roles in the Global Academy course(s), they may elect to teach only a portion of the program course(s).  They may also provide the functional duties of the Program Assistant.

Global Academy Leaders agree to:

  • Conduct a site assessment visit prior to program delivery, which may include attending a current rotation of the program to observe operations.
  • Follow all proposal procedures outlined in the Global Academy procedures, and to obtain required signatures from the sponsoring academic department, college, and Academic Senate
  • Observe deadlines and benchmarks outlined in the Global Academy proposal process.
  • Attend Global Academy Leader Preparation Sessions, or arrange to review content and provide signature acknowledging responsibility for content presented in the sessions.
  • Collaborate with IPO in developing budgetary and administrative supports for the Global Academy Course.
  • Disclose known risks and cost-of-attendance in keeping with approved program parameters.
  • Approve student admission to the Global Academy course and arrange for course registration in the appropriate section.
  • Conduct pre-departure course sessions and arrange pre-departure orientation by IPO staff.
  • Serve as on-site risk manager and crisis response leader.
  • Promptly communicate program and/or student problems or concerns to the IPO.
  • Report all Student Conduct violations to the IPO.
  • Administer academic course evaluation.
  • File post-program report within 30 days of program end-date.
  • Complete on-line travel settlement against IPO-managed Global Academy Course account, including original receipts for on-site expenditures.
  • Arrange timely posting of participant grades.

Global Academy Program Assistant

All Global Academy Programs will include at least one person designated as Program Assistant.   This person must be associated with Northern Michigan University by contract and/or written agreement.   The Program Assistant must be a professionally qualified adult whose skills, experience, and/or academic credentials enable them to make a substantive contribution to program delivery.

  • Multi-site programs are required to have a qualified NMU employee, student, or volunteer, approved by International Programs,  to serve as the designated Program Assistant for the duration of the program. This person will attend all required training and participate in pre-program orientation session(s).
  • Single-site programs with an on-site institution associated to the University by contract or other written agreement may select a qualified individual employed from the contracted institution who agrees to understand and abide by the Program Assistant’s functional responsibilities.

The Program Assistant will be identified by the Faculty Leader as part of the proposal process. In the event a faculty leader does not have a program assistant, International Programs can identify one via an application process.

The Program Assistant must attend or agree to uphold elements of Faculty Leader Preparation sessions as well as adhering to reporting requirements included in the University’s security, health and criminal activity protocols.  It is understood that the PA will agree to follow emergency protocols included in the University’s Global Academy Course handbook.  In the event that the Program Leader is unable to deliver course content due to illness or accident, the PA agrees to maintain group activities and to assure student wellbeing until such time as alternate course leadership is established.

Eligible persons may include:

  • University employees
  • Upper-division bachelor students or graduate students enrolled for credit at Northern Michigan University
  • Volunteers with Limited Personal Service agreement

​Non-teaching Program Assistants do not receive an additional stipend (above their NMU salary), but some or all of their program-related expenses may be paid from student course fees and/or supplemental college/department funds.

A Program Assistant’s responsibilities may include:

  • Assistance with on-site logistics for the course.  In particular, the PA will serve as a liaison with the students and any local institutions during program delivery.
  • Help for students with both emergency and non-emergency problems and general cultural advice.  As will the Leader, the Program Assistant is on-call and available to assist students at all times in the event of an emergency. The PA’s presence is required for the full duration of the program, including weekends and periods marked as “free time.”
  • The PA will help the Leader in ensuring that the program proceeds in a timely manner.  The PA will encourage students to get to class on time, will take the lead in looking for any strays, and will help to ensure that students are continuing to participate attentively.
  • The PA will assist with local logistics in coordination with the local host, including transportation and purchase of supplies.
  • The PA may assist with inventory and daily management of course equipment.
  • The PA may support the preparation of course materials.
  • The PA may assist with class discussions, de-briefing, and student projects.
  • By mutual agreement, the PA will help the program leader with other duties.

Role of the Host Institution

Program Leaders are required to establish in-country institutional resources to support program logistics, delivery of course content, and emergency-response duties associated with their leadership role.  Such institutions may include:

  • Accredited and government-approved universities
  • Non-government organizations (NGOs)
  • Third-party commercial providers licensed to operate academic and/or volunteer service programs in the host country(ies)
  • Humanitarian and faith-based initiatives with a permanent in-country presence
  • Host government and/or U.S. government-sponsored institutions and programs
  • Designating a local employee or qualified professional to serve as Program Assistant, following the requirements and responsibilities outlined above under “Global Academy Assistant.”

All contracts and formal agreements for service must be processed through the IPO, with review by appropriate legal counsel and administrative units.

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.

Global Academy Academic Experience (faculty-led study abroad)

  • Global Academy Courses are proposed and sponsored by NMU academic departments
  • are taught partially outside the United States (not including Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and other US territories)
  • are generally offered from 10 days up to six weeks abroad
  • can be offered within an academic semester, during the summer,or between the fall and winter semesters
  • involve at least one NMU faculty member as primary course instructor
  • involve a group of students (typically 10 to 20) going to the same location for the same time period
  • are part of an NMU course for which students receive NMU academic credit|
  • are sponsored and directly managed by NMU 

Global Academy Internship / Research Experience

  • are offered for NMU credit as directed study or departmental internship credit
  • supported with written agreements specifying terms for supervision and assessment
  • ​are registered as approved study abroad experiences with the International Programs Office

Global Academy Service Project

  • Global Academy Volunteer Experiences are offered in partnership with NMU's Superior Edge office
  • Participants must be registered in the Superior Edge program throughout the volunteer experience abroad
  • Proposals and procedures follow the general outline for Global Academy courses
  • Primary leadership may come from qualified NMU staff and/or NMU faculty

Authorization for Travel

  • Each FLSA program has an individual account/organization number assigned by the NMU Controller’s office and managed 
    by the Director of International Programs.

  • University expenses are now processed exclusively through CONCUR, electronic accounting software. 
    A Concur identity and log-in credentials must be requested by your immediate supervisor, generally the department head.

  • When the FLSA budget has been finalized, you must log-in to Concur and complete the Travel Authorization function. 
    You will allocate the authorization to the org/account number assigned to your FLSA program
    by IPO. 

  • IPO staff will establish the appropriate dollar amount, taking into consideration those expenses you will personally reconcile at the end of the FLSA program.

  • Your Concur authorization will be sent for review and approval first to your supervisor (default) and second to the IPO manager of your program account.

  • Travel Authorization is not the same as permission to spend.  In all cases, it is important that you manage funds wisely
    and keep within the limits of the program budget.

International Travel Registration

  • The university is concerned with staff and student health and security throughout the period of enrollment.  As part of the Risk Management protocol, all university-funded international travel must be registered in the online Travel Registration software managed by the IPO.  The link to the registry is located on your MyNMU employee tab and requires a single-sign-on using your NMU ID and personal password.

  • The registry prompts users to provide passport information, details of the travel itinerary, emergency contacts, and several signature documents acknowledging review and understanding of travel policy.

  • IPO reviews official government advisories for the regions identified in the traveler’s itinerary and monitors these sites to provide accurate and timely information related to health and security.  Travel permissions may be disrupted or revoked if the site is identified as an area where insurance policies (including liability) are not available, or where the university’s ability to provide timely transfer of financial and/or insurance coverage is compromised.

  • Travel Registration must be entered and approved prior to release of funds related to the FLSA program.  Leaders are advised to complete the registration process in tandem with the Concur Travel Authorization process outlined above.

Cash Advance for Approved International Travel

  • Many on-site expenses are handled best with small reserves of cash.  Approved FLSA leaders may request cash allowance for on-site expenses that have been included in the approved FLSA budget.  The cash advance is only available for authorized international travel; domestic travel is not eligible for advance. 

  • Expense estimates must be supported with documentation from the account manager (IPO for FLSAs).

  • Requests for cash advance must be made at least two weeks prior to travel.  The cash advance will be available by check 3 days prior to the first day of travel.   Funds must be picked up by the authorized traveler in the Vendors Payable office during regular business hours; photo id and a signature are required.   

  • The cash advance is issued as a debit on the traveler’s NMU e-bill account; authorized transactions are expensed at the conclusion of travel, and any unaccounted funds must be refunded to the University. 

  • Leaders may deposit the cash advance into a personal checking account and utilize automated teller machines on-site for cash withdrawals converted into the local currency.  It is wise to record the dates and locations of your overseas withdrawals.

  • Check on daily withdrawal limits and on single-transaction fees.  It may be possible to raise limits temporarily.  Check whether your bank requires a PIN or password for international transactions.

  • Keep detailed receipts for expenses made from the cash advance, noting names or other identifying information on the back of the receipt(s). 

University-Issued Credit Card or Personal Credit Card

  • Most FLSA expenses will have been pre-paid prior to departure.   If you have been issued a university-supported credit card for university business purposes, you are permitted to use it only for authorized FLSA expenses included in the budget. All expenditures are governed by the user agreements issued by Purchasing at the time the card was disbursed.  You will want to check on both the single-transaction  and monthly limit specific to your card.  Increased limits must be approved and requested by the leader’s immediate supervisor, generally the department head.  

  • Be aware that chip-embedded, holographic credit cards are required in many destinations, including most of the UK and Western Europe.  In addition, your credit card(s) may require a PIN for use out of the country.  The NMU-issued Mastercard DOES REQUIRE A PIN.  We recommend you write your PIN (issued with your new credit card letter) in a secure place and/or keep a memo securely stored on a phone or tablet.   For questions or trouble-shooting related to use of the card, contact the NMU Purchasing Department for prompts to re-set the PIN.   P: + 1 906-227-2360

  • You may utilize a personal credit card for program-approved expenses, but plan to do so as a last option.  Keep careful, detailed receipts.

  • ALWAYS call any and all credit card companies or issuing banks at approximately one week prior to your departure - inform them of where you will be using the card, for how long, and when you will return.  You will be issued a phone number for use in reporting problems outside the United States.    Fraud detection is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and your card may be stopped by the bank if it detects unusual activity involving your card.   

Receipts and Account Settlement

  • Keep an original receipt for each overseas expenditure. The receipt should include the date, location and explanation of the expense.  It is a good idea to jot down notes on the back of the receipt, for instance: “bus ride to Windsor Castle.”  Your notes will be very helpful as you organize your account settlement after you return.

  • If your vendor is unable to provide a receipt, you may write one for expenditures under $50.  Hand-written receipts must include your name, the date, expense, amount, and  - whenever possible -  a signature from the vendor.

  • If you plan to disburse cash to students for meal allowances, museum entry fees, etc., write a separate receipt for each expense and have each student sign the receipt.  Some faculty leaders have prepared blank group receipt forms prior to departure, listing each participant’s name and a line for initials/signature.

  • Certain expenses are included under the university’s general travel policies and do not require a written receipt: per diem amounts for meals, mileage for personal vehicle use, gratuities, taxis, etc.   Such expenditures must still fall within the total program budget and may be denied if approval was not obtained during the period of travel.

  • Settlement of FLSA expenses and receipts must be submitted in Concur within 30 days after the program’s conclusion.

  • Any outstanding student payments will be expensed to the student’s receivable account and later transferred to the FLSA account.  

  • Final account reconciliation will be made by the IPO, generally within 60 days of the program’s conclusion. The report includes both the original program budget and a record of actual expenditures – a useful document for planning future offerings of the FLSA program.

  • The coordinator responsible for managing FLSA programs is assigned “delegate” permissions in CONCUR for access to faculty leader settlements associated with the FLSA account.

  • Both the IPO financial director and the FLSA leader are required to sign the final reconciliation report.  It is then submitted to Vendors Payable, with journal entries made to produce a zero-balance in the accounting. 

  • Reconciliation Reports and supporting documents are stored in the IPO and are archived according to a schedule established under general university accounting policy.

Explore "La Pura Vida" - the Pure Life - through the film lens of NMU student Jake Lamons, with RE495 - Ecology and EcoTourism of Costa Rica, Winter 2015.