Accompanying Students Abroad

Make program information clear

GVSU policy requires all faculty and staff to get approval from their Dean or Appointing Officer prior to accompanying GVSU students outside the United States whether individually or in groups. The purpose of this policy is to help ensure the safety of the students, as well as to help protect the university and employees from additional liability risks.


Faculty accompanying students abroad assume a degree of responsibility and liability for students which does not exist when faculty/staff travel independently. All GVSU faculty and staff accompanying students abroad are required to:

  1. Submit the attached application to their Dean or Appointing Officer before travel plans are confirmed, and no fewer than 30 days before departure.
  2. Submit the following documents to the Dean, with copies to the Padnos International Center, at least seven days before departure.

What PIC Does with the Information

As a campus wide clearinghouse for information on international programs, and a primary unit in dealing with overseas GVSU-related emergencies, the Padnos International Center retains the information on the program and its participants in the event of an emergency, and helps coordinate assistance if events necessitate help from GVSU. After the program returns to Michigan, the details on individual participants and faculty members are destroyed.

Programs for GVSU Credit

After completing the procedure described above, faculty may accompany students abroad for non-credit courses, or small-scale (i.e., 1-3 students) independent study programs without additional university approval . However, regular credit-bearing courses must first be reviewed by the International Education Committee. Faculty who contemplate accompanying students abroad for credit bearing courses should be aware that the prospectus-proposal-approval process normally takes several months.

GVSU's Group Travel Insurance

In addition to their primary health insurance coverage, GVSU faculty and staff conducting business outside the USA are also covered under GVSU’s Executive Assistance Insurance (for limited medical and limited personal emergencies, currently: WorldRisk/AIG assist. This service is not a primary medical insurer, but can help you in emergencies abroad, including emergency medical evacuation and arranging repatriation. Portable cards with 24-hour contact numbers and GVSU’s policy number are available from the Padnos International Center to faculty and staff who successfully turn in the required documents listed above.

WorldRisk coverage does not apply for travel to/within nations currently under a U.S. State Department Travel Warning. Travel warnings are updated regularly by the U.S. Department of State. For the most recent list, consult their website at

If you are not accompanying students, but doing research or conducting university business in one of these nations, it may be possible to secure additional coverage with appropriate advance notice.

GVSU Group Travel

GVSU’s Workers Compensation coverage does not apply to large groups of faculty and staff traveling together outside the USA or Canada. It is important that all Deans and Unit Heads are aware that faculty and staff should not travel together (on same plane or in the same land vehicle) outside the USA or Canada in groups larger than six (6) individuals. If it is not possible to avoid situations in which six or more GVSU faculty and staff are traveling together outside the USA or Canada, inform GVSU’s Director Business Services at least 30 days before departure so that additional coverage may be secured.


Download the application for faculty to accompany or lead GVSU students outside the USA.

Page last modified September 21, 2018