ITP is designed to be student initiated, organized, and led. Each fall, students interested in being ITP Team Leaders select a country and find a faculty member interested in supervising the course. Team Leaders prepare an ITP Country Proposal, which describes the proposed ITP course and is marketed to the student body. Students register for Spring ITP courses in October and student demand determines which proposed ITPs will be offered during the Spring semester.
Students, under the guidance of their faculty advisor, develop a rigorous course curriculum. Students spend the first part of spring semester immersed in the legal, social, and political history of their chosen country. Weekly class meetings follow a traditional seminar format with discussion of assigned readings. In addition, lectures are provided by guest speakers who have expertise in the country.
These studies provide the framework for the selection and development of individual group research projects. After conducting general background research, students work in groups of three or four to focus on particular topics of interest. They then develop research proposals, begin the traditional research of their topics, and initiate contact with individuals with knowledge of their topic both here and abroad.
During the two week Spring break, ITP classes travel to their chosen country to conduct research. Students meet with key players in businesses, justice systems, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.
The final written ITP projects should be of publishable quality. ITP projects are unique. Not only do they provide a comprehensive review and analysis of existing secondary literature but, because of the unique field research, they provide information not otherwise available to practitioners, policymakers, and scholars. Several ITP papers have been published in legal journals.
ITP is a collaborative and team-based effort. Students communicate about expectations and delegate responsibilities. They must learn to trust in the efforts and abilities of their teammates in order for the project to be a success.