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Before You Depart: Who Can Go With Faculty Members

Who Can Accompany a UTSA Faculty Member While on a UTSA Faculty-led Study Abroad Program?

UTSA study abroad programs are academic programs and should not be designed or conducted so as to cater to the needs of ancillary individuals who are not enrolled in the related academic course and study abroad program. To this end, accompanying children, spouses, or partners generally should not be permitted to participate in classroom and academic activities (to include sitting in the classroom and/or participating in academic discussion), and their presence should not interfere with the success of the academic operation, impact the quality of the study abroad program, or present increased risk management considerations and liabilities for the university.


Spouse or Partner

A spouse/partner may accompany the faculty member for a significant portion (or the duration) of the program, as long as it does not interfere with the faculty member’s responsibilities to the program and the participating university students. “Partner” refers to either the spouse or the domestic partner of a faculty member, including domestic partners of unmarried faculty and irrespective of sexual orientation. No financial burden or other disadvantage should fall on the students or the program as the result of the participation of the spouse or partner.

The spouse/partner of the faculty member can also qualify as the caretaker of children/legal dependents, should they accompany the faculty member. In this case, the spouse/partner should clearly understand that their primary role while on the study abroad program is that of “spouse/partner” and also “the caretaker” of any children accompanying the faculty member.  For liability and course credentialing purposes, spouses/partners who are not employed by UTSA should not have any responsibilities related to the academic program (e.g. taking roll, monitoring tests, managing finances, etc.). 

Spouses or partners are not permitted to share living accommodations with university students.

Children and Adult Offspring

The sponsoring department and college may permit a faculty member’s children (legal dependents) or adult offspring to accompany the faculty member for a significant portion (or the duration) of the program, as long as their participation does not interfere with the faculty member’s responsibilities to the study abroad program and the University students participating in the program. No financial burden or other disadvantage should fall on the students or the program as the result of the participation of children or adult offspring.

Although the faculty member can be considered the caretaker, it is strongly recommended that arrangements be made for a designated caretaker to accompany the child (or children) while the faculty member is conducting the academic program. This caretaker should be eighteen years of age or older. A sibling under the age of eighteen should not act as the caretaker for his/her younger siblings. Other faculty, staff members, students, or on-site program personnel should not be asked to serve as a caretaker.

Faculty members should carefully consider the number of children being taken on a study abroad program. The more children that are involved, the more difficult it becomes to make arrangements/ accommodations, provide appropriate caretaking services, and yet also remain attentive to the academic needs of the university students participating in the study abroad program.

The children or dependents of faculty members are not permitted to share living accommodations with university students.

Extended Family Members and/or Personal Acquaintances  

“Extended family members” are those relatives other than the faculty member’s spouse/partner or immediate children.  Grandchildren, nephews, nieces, or family in-laws who are not a faculty member’s legal dependents are considered to be extended family and should not participate unless they are appropriately enrolled as study abroad students in the University program. 

“Personal acquaintances” are generally individuals who have no official connection with the program and who are not related to the faculty member. However, it is also recognized that in some cases, personal acquaintances may also be professional/educational contacts in the international setting who have direct relevance, prominence, or association with the program and its academic content. In such cases, it is understandable that prudent exception may be justified by the faculty program leader. 

Extended family members and personal acquaintances generally should not directly participate in academic/classroom activities or travel with the study abroad group on program field trips/excursions.  This is due to the increased potential for misperceptions or misunderstandings impacting the official reputation of the program (academic vs. vacation), possible financial challenges in delineating program and guest payments, and increased liability and risk management considerations for the faculty member and the university. No financial burden or other disadvantage should fall on the students or the program as the result of the participation of extended family members and/or personal acquaintances.

Visits from extended family members and/or personal acquaintances should preferably be scheduled to occur before or after the official program dates, during a scheduled vacation (e.g. spring break), or during a free weekend. Program leaders should be aware that such visits during the academic program risk encouraging the erroneous perception that study abroad programs are considered to be vacations, rather than rigorous, high-quality academic endeavors.

Extended family members and personal acquaintances are not permitted to share living accommodations with university students.


Payment and Logistics

Academic program funds should not be used to pay for any logistics or expenses incurred by ancillary participants. All faculty-led study abroad program logistics and accommodations should be made with the understanding that this is an academic program designed solely to meet the needs of the students and the faculty members.

Faculty members are solely responsible for obtaining passports and visas, obtaining health insurance, organizing travel, and providing for all meals and accommodations of their spouse/partner, caretakers, and children/legal dependents.