Safety and Risk Management Training for Faculty Leading Study Abroad: Part 1

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May 2010. After some initial controversy over FERPA and student privacy, a set of documents from Laramie County Community College were made public, prompting a media flurry and providing a cautionary case of how one college may have mishandled a response to the suicidal behaviors of a student while leading a 2008 class trip to Costa Rica. The incident raises questions for institutions of higher education, including what training to provide for faculty and other trip leaders who are taking students abroad, so that trip leaders know how to respond in the event of an emergency and who to contact.

The Chronicle of Higher Education noted that before Eastern Illinois University faculty members can teach courses overseas, they are required to complete a workshop on risk management and student health and safety. At Academic Impressions, we followed up with Wendy Williamson, director of study abroad at Eastern Illinois University, and Brent Barker, the University of Washington's travel security and information manager, to learn:

  • What a preparatory workshop should cover
  • How best to prepare faculty to respond effectively to health and safety incidents during study abroad

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