There are two main types of Faculty-Developed study abroad programs: Integrated Field Trips Abroad (IFTA) and free-standing programs. Known as Panther Programs, both models are developed and administered by the University of Pittsburgh. One of the first steps in the creation of a new program is for an interested faculty member to decide whether s/he would like to develop an IFTA or a free-standing program. The two different models are illustrated below:
An IFTA program is connected to an existing course on Pitt's campus, most frequently in the spring semester. Students enroll in the course taught by the faculty and then have the option to enroll in the IFTA, developed by the faculty, to further their learning from the previous term. IFTA programs are usually worth an additional 1-3 credits (depending on contact hours). Thus, a student who enrolls in a spring term course with an IFTA attached would have the option to enroll in the study abroad experience for an additional 1-3 credits or to take the spring term course alone. Generally, IFTA programs offer the experience abroad immediately following the spring term or during spring break. The population of students who enroll in the IFTA must come directly from the feeder course (s). This allows the faculty member to know the students prior to their participation on the study abroad component. The overseas component must have its own academic content and curriculum and must require students to complete assignments specifically in conjunction with their time abroad. Faculty members who are interested in developing an IFTA program will need to develop the program following the guidelines in the handbook below.
Free-standing study abroad programs
Free-standing programs are not attached to courses on Pitt's campus. Instead, these are programs designed and administered by faculty directors based on their areas of expertise either with a subject matter and/or location. Faculty, in conjunction with the departments and in accordance with the guidelines in the handbook below, will develop a free-standing program that has its own focus and courses. Many faculty who create free-standing programs tailor one or more of their existing courses so that it can be taught on an overseas program. Free-standing programs may draw from a very large audience as they are not connected to a course (s) taught on Pitt's campus. Academic pre-requisites are determined by the faculty director in conjunction with the sponsoring department on Pitt's campus.
The University of Pittsburgh has created a set of standard procedures for the creation of new study abroad programs as well as the revision of existing programs. An outline of the approval process is included in the link below. The Study Abroad Office is currently revising its Program Development Handbook to suit to new protocols. The new handbook will be available in the spring of 2011. As always, if you are a faculty member interested in creating a new study abroad program, please contact the Study Abroad Office for guidance and assistance.