Program Evaluation Policy

There are three types of programs that fall under the purview of the Overseas Study Advisory Council:

  1. System-wide programs administered by Education Abroad which include exchanges, faculty-led* programs and direct enrollment arrangements that fall exclusively under the responsibility of Education Abroad.
  2. System-wide programs co-sponsored through Education Abroad that are administered by external organizations or institutions with which IU is affiliated.
  3. Unit-based programs which are campus or school-specific that are administered by other offices or units at IU. Some of these may be non-credit educational experiences.

*faculty-led in this context refers to any IU staff who has been approved by a unit or department to provide academic or administrative services for the program.

In order to ensure ongoing quality assurance, OSAC has a Review Committee that works with the Education Abroad staff to determine procedures for ongoing evaluation of all IU programs.

Given the number of programs and the diversity of their administrative structures, the Review Committee has determined three levels of evaluation for IU programs:

  • Monitoring involves assessing a program through required resident director reports, student evaluations and debriefings of directors and students.
  • Site visit involves Education Abroad staff and/or IU faculty members who visit a program site and write a follow-up report.
  • Review consists of an individual or a team, usually comprised of faculty member(s) and professional staff who systematically evaluate a program on-site using an established protocol.

All three levels of evaluation should focus on the critical aspects which have been recommended by the Standards of Good Practice of the Forum on Education Abroad.


At the very minimum, all programs must be evaluated by a periodic monitoring process.

In order to monitor a program, Education Abroad collects written resident director reports (for faculty-led programs), student evaluations and, where possible, conducts debriefings with the director and/or the students.

All directors of faculty-led programs, either administered through Education Abroad or their own units, receive guidelines for resident director reports. They are asked to submit a report within a month of the end of the program describing it in detail, including a description of the participants, the pre-departure orientation, the academic program (description of courses, teaching methods, impact and influence of the overseas setting on the academic experience, etc.), grade distribution, description of student housing and meal arrangements, issues concerning student health and safety and recommendations for the program in the future. They are also asked to provide a detailed program schedule, course syllabi, handbooks or handouts distributed to students prior to departure and student evaluations.

Co-sponsored, exchange or direct enrollment programs are monitored through student evaluations and student debriefings, as well as close contact with the program administration (in the U.S. and/or abroad, depending on whether there is a third party provider).

Site Visits

Education Abroad staff and IU faculty routinely conduct site visits to administered and co-sponsored programs. These site visits are conducted in a methodical way and always entail a detailed report. These reports should address the categories that have been outlined in the Standards of Good Practice of the Forum on Education Abroad.

Education Abroad welcomes site visits by faculty who plan to be in a country or city where IU has a program in operation. In these cases, Education Abroad will contribute an honorarium and per diem, as long as the faculty members submit detailed reports to document their visits.


On occasion Education Abroad organizes a formal review of a program, usually an administered program, often in conjunction with consortium partners. Programs are reviewed in pre-determined cycles, or the need for a review might be determined by issues that arise during the monitoring process or a site visit.

The review team is comprised of one or more faculty and/or professional staff. For IU programs, the categories that have been outlined in the Standards of Good Practice of the Forum on Education Abroad should guide these reviews.

Co-sponsored programs are systematically reviewed by a formal process organized by the agencies themselves and often include IU staff or faculty. In all cases IU has access to the written reports resulting from co-sponsored program reviews.