Standards of Good Practice Institutes

Standards of Good Practice Institutes are often held in conjunction with The Forum’s annual conferences or as stand-alone events. The Institute is a small-scale, one-day conference on a particular Forum Standard, and its schedule includes concurrent sessions, lunch plenary and reception. The primary purpose of Standards Institutes is to offer participants the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of The Forum’s Standards of Good Practice and hone their skills in implementing them.

Read more about past Standards Institutes»

9th Annual Standards of Good Practice Institute

Beyond the Basics of Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Arcadia University, Glenside, PA

The Forum on Education Abroad’s 9th Standards of Good Practice Institute, Beyond the Basics of Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management, which will be hosted by Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, on June 20, 2018.

Beyond the Basics of Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management, is education abroad’s signature annual event focusing on the education abroad risk management issues faced daily by organizations and institutions. Education abroad professionals gather each year at this Standards Institute to debrief, train, improve and learn the latest in best practices of education abroad risk management, including regulatory compliance.



Plenary Speaker: Michael Dennis O’NeillInstitute Plenary Speaker 2018 - Michael Dennis O'Neill

Michael O’Neill is a recognized leader in international safety and security risk management having begun his professional career in 1995. He is a highly respected global thought leader and strategist in the development and professionalization of international NGO safety and security risk management.

Michael is the vice-chair of the International NGO Safety and Security Association (INSSA). Michael served as the Director of Global Safety and Security and as a Senior Adviser at Save the Children from 2002 – 2017. Prior to taking up these positions with Save the Children, Michael served as the Coordinator of Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security at the Peace Corps (1995-2002). In these positions, Michael has been a leader in establishing and institutionalizing effective safety and security risk management systems; formulating policies, standards and procedures in risk management, safety and security, and crisis management; conducting field security assessments; developing and delivering a variety of safety and security-related training courses; and coordinating agency support of staff in their efforts to reduce safety and security risks and mitigate crises. Michael served for six years as the chair of the InterAction Security Advisory Group (SAG) and several years as the international NGO representative on the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). He has presented lectures and conducted seminars at leading US universities and international forums, and has contributed to many studies and publications focusing on NGO safety and security risk management. In 2011, Michael led the OFDA-funded Collaborative Learning Approach to NGO Security Management research project exploring the efficacy and application of the Acceptance approach to security management. Michael has developed several on-line training modules for NGO staff and international travelers. Michael is the 2009 recipient of the InterAction Security Advisory Group Distinguished Achievement Award. Michael is the President and CEO of O’Neill Paragon Solutions, LLC providing full crisis management, risk management and duty of care support to NGOs and private sector clients.

Plenary Address: “Duty Bound”

University-sponsored education abroad programs take many forms. Whereas education abroad programs entail unique risks for faculty, employees and students, the University has a moral, ethical, and legal responsibility to understand the foreseeable risks and to put in place reasonable measures to mitigate these risks. This session explores pragmatic and effective measures that organizations can put in place to meet their duty of care responsibilities by integrating risk management principles into education abroad program design and delivery; by empowering faculty and students to take responsible decisions through a better understanding of the complex environments in which they live, work, and study; and, by investing sufficient resources to develop innovative tools and systems that enable organizations to manage risks in support of rewarding and meaningful education abroad experiences.


Arcadia University
50 S Easton Road
Glenside, PA 19038

Directions to campus»

Visitor information»

Specific location details will be provided closer to the event date.

Hotel and Transportation

The Forum has arranged a block of rooms for Institute participants available at a reduced rate* at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Hilton Garden Inn
530 West Pennsylvania Ave
Fort Washington, PA 19034
(215) 646-4637


*Rooms are subject to availability. The reduced group rate expires on May 18. 


This schedule is tentative and may be subject to change.

8:30 – 9 a.m. Welcome
9 – 10:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
10:30 – 11 a.m. Break
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Plenary Lunch
1:45 – 3:15 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 – 5 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
5 – 6:30 p.m. Reception


Concurrent Sessions | 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Better Living through Data: Incident Data Findings and Usages in Enhancing Student Safety
Bill Bull (CIEE); Natalie A. Mello (The Forum on Education Abroad); Colin McElroy (CIEE)
Peace Corps, CIEE and the Critical Incident Database have been collecting incident data for years on events that have impacted participants abroad. Collectively these data sets are in the thousands and paint a picture of what is being reported. This session will discuss the findings of the three organizations and how each group is applying the information gleaned to improve safety and enhance mitigations.

Cuba is Now a Level 3 – Now What? Adapting Travel Policies to the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory System
Patrick Morgan (University of Michigan); Alan Ryon (University of Rochester); Kalpen Trivedi (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Since the U.S. Department of State updated their travel advisory designations, what travel policy changes has your institution made – if any? Join panelists who have revised their Travel Warning-based travel policies. The panelists will share their policies, detail travel approval processes, describe challenges and pitfalls of their new systems, and lead a facilitated discussion with participants.

Managing Complex Pre-Existing Conditions Abroad
Stephanie Rock (IES Abroad); Matthew Rader (IES Abroad); Emily Davis (Cultural Insurance Services International [CISI])
How much responsibility can study abroad programs take to assist students with pre-existing health issues abroad? Students with complex physical and mental conditions studying abroad are increasing. These health conditions may or may not be disclosed in advance of departure. The session will present best practices for assisting students with pre-existing conditions.

Concurrent Sessions | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Engaging in Difficult Conversations with Faculty Leaders
Jared Bickenbach (Baylor University); David DiBiasio (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
This session will explore the diverse safety and security expectations placed on faculty leaders. This session will elicit feedback from participants to explore useful ways to inform and educate faculty leaders about the ever-changing safety and security expectations associated with faculty-led education.

High Risk Environments: How Smaller-Sized Institutions Can Make Difficult Decisions About Travel
Ryan DeStefano (On Call International); Nicholas D’Intino (On Call International); Patricia Martin (Swarthmore College); Rochelle Keesler (Lafayette College)
This session will cover best practices and advice for smaller institutions facing difficult decisions regarding travel to volatile areas. Topics include: Should travel to high-risk environments be restricted? How should institutions handle travel to medium-risk destinations? How can institutions strike a balance between academic freedom and responsible caution?

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em: Helping Student Organizations with International Travel
Beth Osterlund (Northwestern University); Lotte Buiting (Drexel University); Natasha Soulé  (The Pennsylvania State University)
Registered Student Organizations contribute to an enriching and vibrant campus life. Many of these student-run organizations are traveling internationally on breaks and over the summer. What can we do to help these often-inexperienced travelers prepare for their experiences abroad? Topics covered in this session include how to find out about these trips and help students evaluate oversees partners.

Concurrent Sessions | 1:45 – 3:15 p.m.

Effectively Collaborating with Partners on Title IX Incident Response and Reporting
Lezlie McCabe (Temple University); Sara Sequin (Temple University); Cameron Etezady (Temple University); Maureen Gordon (Arcadia University)
This session will address best practices in collaborating with partners within and outside the institution during incident response, with a particular focus on Title IX incidents. We will examine the importance of developing a well-coordinated plan for response and reporting that defines each organization’s role and meets legal requirements, while prioritizing student wellness.

New Developments with the Critical Incident Database
Natalie A. Mello (The Forum on Education Abroad)
Learn about the new and improved Critical Incident Database as developed by The Forum. The CID is now updated to include notations for Clery, Title IX and VAWA incidents and incorporates the suggestions made by former users. After a demonstration, the floor will open to a discussion about how to best use the CID and how the field can benefit from the data collected.

Study Abroad: An Interactive Code Red Exercise
Robert Quigley, MD (International SOS); Lisa Zimmaro (Temple University); Kathryn Rene (Lehigh University)
Study abroad programs can pose particular considerations for a diverse student and faculty body, including minorities, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members and those with mental health challenges. Split into groups, teams will be asked tough questions around two crises scenarios involving university students. Each team will be given different roles and functions.

Concurrent Sessions | 3:30 – 5 p.m.

A Best-Case Worst-Case Scenario: Partnering with Study Abroad Providers, Insurance Companies and Campus Offices During Crisis
Rachel Helwig (BCA Study Abroad); Shannon McNamara (Cultural Insurance Services International [CISI]); Megan Bell (Elizabethtown College)
What really happens when bad things happen abroad? How do you respond to a safety event and ensure student safety, satisfy degree requirements and continue global learning (in a sensitive and time-sensitive manner)? We will examine a case study from Xalapa, Mexico from the prospective of a study abroad provider (BCA), health insurance company (CISI) and a U.S. college (Elizabethtown College).

Innovative Solutions for Preventative and Ongoing Mental Health Support in Education Abroad
Irina Capaldi (Morneau Shepell); Chris Daniel (Michigan State University); Julie Hayes (Morneau Shepell)
The session will review the current literature on the prevalence of mental health among students studying abroad and discuss the challenges faced by academic institutions in providing mental health support for these students. Higher education professionals will share specific details surrounding their campus needs, resources they use, and outcomes to date using technology based solutions.

Thinking the Unthinkable
Michael O’Neill (O’Neill Paragon Solutions, LLC)
An exploration and discussion of the reasonable measures that university programs can institute to mitigate foreseeable risks in an education abroad context. Small groups will reflect on a scenario derived from actual events and discuss university readiness, response, and recovery from a hypothetical critical incident.


Registration Type Early-bird Fee
(March 1 – April 27)
Regular Fee
(April 28 – May 25)
Late Fee
(May 26 – June 20)
MEMBER $300 $330 $360
NON-MEMBER $350 $380 $410



A group discount is available to Forum member organizations who are registering four or more (paying) Standards Institute participants.

About the Institute

The practical, hands-on focus of the Standards Institute includes concurrent and plenary sessions that assist participants to improve their institutional and organizational strategies for risk mitigation, and incident prevention and response.

The goals of the Institute are to:

  • Deepen knowledge and understanding of Standard 8, Health, Safety, Security and Risk Management;
  • Enhance the knowledge and skills necessary to meet this Standard by analyzing what the Standard requires and sharing examples of best practices;
  • Explore approaches from within as well as outside the field of education abroad; and
  • Enhance the overall safety and security of education abroad programs for the benefit of all participants.

The Institute is designed to address the needs of experienced practitioners in the area of risk management in education abroad. Institute participants are expected to have more than a basic knowledge of the topics involved and therefore proposals should reflect an advanced level of understanding and practice. Some sessions will be led by invited experts both from within and from outside the education abroad field, however the majority of sessions will be chosen through a competitive selection process. Themes of interest to the Institute include but are not limited to:

  • How do codes of conduct and disciplinary measures work to enhance safety?
  • How have successful partnerships across organizations utilized the expertise of professionals outside of education abroad to develop best practices?
  • Where can smaller offices at smaller organizations with fewer resources at their disposal go for assistance in addressing risk management concerns in education abroad? What are some of the best practices for smaller offices to provide a high level of services to students and their families when a crisis hits?
  • What can the field of education abroad learn from other industries that have significant experience with safety and risk management (e.g., adventure education, the military, marine safety, air travel, or international NGOs [Habitat for Humanity, Engineers without Borders, Save the Children, etc.])?
  • What “words of wisdom” can be shared to develop more refined models of risk management in education abroad?
  • When education abroad programs serve specific populations, such as non-traditional students (for example: older students, veterans, nonimmigrant students, and LGBTQ students), or students on non-credit bearing travel (for example: athletes, service trips, musical groups), are there specific best practices in health, safety and risk management that should be applied?
  • In what contexts might U.S. federal regulations (Clery, Title IX, etc.) apply abroad and what are the best practices for compliance?
  • What is the role of essential eligibility criteria in selecting students to participate in education abroad? What are best practices for dealing with pre-existing (both disclosed and non-disclosed) conditions and what are the implications for health, safety and ADA compliance?

2018 Standards Institute Planning Committee

Chris Daniel, Michigan State University (co-chair)
Maureen Gordon, Arcadia University (co-chair)
Sabuur Abdul-Kareem, Delaware County Community College
Bill Bull, CIEE
Liz Campanella, Villanova University
Jane Flaherty, Texas A&M University
Todd Homes, MIT
Eryn Kudzinski, IFSA Butler
Ron Machoian, University of Wisconsin
Sara Sequin, Temple University
Nick Vazquez, The College of William & Mary
Lisa Zimmaro, Temple University