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Collaboration and Partnership in Higher Education and K-12: the Global Education Access Pipeline

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 21, 2017

Contributed by: 2016-17 High School Task Force


INTRODUCTION

As the field of global education looks for ways to expand its influence, high schools, K-12 serving organizations and community partnerships will become an increasingly important component. Particularly as we look at diverse groups of students, it is essential to understand the community partnerships that support these students and that have the ability to assist in moving them along the global education access pipeline.  

FUNDING AND ACCESS

For an education abroad opportunity, that may not feel clearly linked to a student’s academic trajectory, how do we justify the expense of these programs? How do we talk about cost related to value in the K12 space? Return on investment? Does it contribute to academic credit?


Accessibility in study abroad continues to be an uphill battle. The diversity in student goals and outcomes across the US secondary education landscape ensures that incorporating best practices into the curriculum is applied inconsistently. Building education abroad into a student’s academic trajectory means addressing issues of cost, fit, value and the return on investment.


While institutions of higher education are engaging in a national conversation about the invaluable returns education abroad can bring to students academically and from a professional development standpoint, it remains unclear for K-12 schools how education abroad can be successfully incorporated into the curriculum, timing, and student development outcomes mandated by each state.


It could be argued that the perceived value of education abroad as a high impact practice, and powerful educational tool in the K-12 space, is still widely questioned. Educators face increased oversight, scrutiny and accountability in making sure students meet district and state academic benchmarks. Education abroad is often seen as competing against an educational framework focused on achievement tied to standardized testing, and therefore funding.


Realistically K-12 educators must be persuaded as to the benefits of incorporating additional practices which enhance learning and give students the educational foundation required to grow and succeed outside of the classroom. Even if we are successful at legitimizing and incorporating education abroad more deeply, we must still break down barriers of cost.


Education abroad opportunities are rarely free for participants or families, and for some this may be the first time families are making a significant financial investment in education. Without clearer understanding of the concrete benefits of education abroad, supported by data, and reinforced by the K-12 educational community, increased participation will continue to be an uphill battle.


PARTNERSHIPS AND COMMUNITIES
One barrier to participation is the perception that education abroad at the K-12 level is unnecessary and superfluous. Conversations are often focused, at least at the administrative level, on building pre-professional competencies. As such, many don’t see education abroad as having any material impact on a student's academic growth. How then can education abroad fit in curricularly at the K-12 level, in both the private and public education sectors?


At the Diversity Abroad annual conference earlier this year, a high school focused session addressed the following questions with participants: Why is building partnerships and communities an important factor in K-12 education abroad? How can K-12 education abroad programs engage with local schools and communities? What other partnerships can add value to high school programming? How can professionals build on the global education access pipeline?


During the session, in which presenters represented three different K-12 serving organizations and the audience primarily represented higher education professionals, the dialogue revolved heavily around the need for building awareness of the value of K-12 education abroad programming and building mutually beneficial partnerships along the global education access pipeline. As more institutions of higher education set mandates for inclusive excellence and diversity, the need for partnerships at the K-12 level is logical and necessary. Presentations similar to the Diversity Abroad session this past spring are a starting point for raising awareness and bringing together higher education and K-12 organizations for collaboration, but more platforms need to be created to develop these partnerships.


The discussion generated in the Diversity Abroad session made it clear that there is a need to raise more awareness on the importance of the global education access pipeline and create more opportunities for higher education and high school professionals to connect and build mutually beneficial partnerships. It was also made clear that there is a growing number of K-12 educators who are ready to reach out and begin building these partnerships. The challenge is then bringing together higher education professionals and K-12 professionals and creating platforms for collaboration.         


STRENGTHENING COLLABORATION

It could be helpful to first paint a portrait of exactly what is happening at the K-12 level in the U.S. in the related areas of education abroad, global education and perhaps also even the world/foreign language teaching realm, from which most of the teacher advocates for spending time abroad and developing intercultural skills tended to hail traditionally. What work is being done both in schools and by the range of providers? Who is doing this work?  Who are the thought leaders and what are the professional organizations that are slowly but steadily developing so that those committed to this work are not operating in isolation?


Once there is greater awareness and clarity around what is happening in these K-12 spaces we can then look to see how to make the higher education realm aware of the richness and the growth in this sort of curricular and programmatic work.


Given the cavernous gap in professional sharing and collaboration between K-12 and higher education professionals in general education it is not a surprise that the right hand of K-12 and the left of higher education are operating largely in isolation of each other. There is no need. There are students from a range of backgrounds going abroad at younger and younger ages and being powerfully impacted by their experience. It is likely that the vast majority of these students are college bound and, if given the chance, will look to go abroad again during their degree course of study.


How to move towards understanding ourselves as a continuum of professionals supporting this work, a continuum that might expand eventually to include pre-K and global ed-minded parents on one end and the employers that are, increasingly, seeking but not always finding people with the kinds of competences and skills that education abroad are particularly well-suited to develop.



A Three-Pronged Context - Learning Abroad, Global Education and World Language Study:

On the one hand there is study/service/ed travel and adventure abroad of different types, referred to here are “learning abroad”.  These experiences tend to favor high schoolers and are dominated at present by multi-week summer and short term experiences through providers and schools themselves, though there are a handful of long-standing yearlong academic study opportunities of varying designs, from a single student taking a deep dive into a local high school and homestay (AFS, Rotary International) to a credit-granting year of US-based study with a focus on language acquisition and homestay with a cohort (SYA/School Year Abroad). None of these longer programs are free, of course, and SYA for example is priced comparably to a year of boarding school. While substantial need-based financial aid is provided in order to ensure accessibility there is always more demand than funding.


In addition there is the growing trend in K-12 schools towards global education, which is a relatively new curricular movement in schools during which a student may likely never physically leave the country, but through curricular means students develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions considered essential for life in the increasingly interconnected, interdependent work and life reality.


Last but not least is also the realm of K-12 foreign/world language study, which had traditionally been the academic department source of encouragement to K-12 students to spend time abroad and where curricular standards are directly supportive of the many rich outcomes of learning and living abroad.


Diversity/inclusion work, global programs and the independent school sector:

It is not uncommon in a well-resourced independent school for there to be a professional on the staff working on issues of creating an inclusive community, culturally sensitive classrooms and a safe environment for all to learn and grow. These schools often also provide need-based financial aid and other kinds of financial support to students of promise with little or no means. Increasingly these same schools are also developing global programs of their own, leaning on providers to help them design an experience that is in some way more mission-aligned than a typical pre-packaged travel or service abroad experience. This trend has spurred the creation of a new professional - global education coordinators and even directors. Given the smaller scale of these institutions (as compared to large colleges and universities) and the considerable overlap between cultural competency that drives diversity work and the intercultural and language skills at the heart of global education initiatives, these professionals are beginning to talk to each other. The Global Educators Benchmark Group (www.gebg.org) is a professional association that grew out of the need for these global programs professionals to build a knowledge base (including of critical incident responses) and a collegial support network. Global programs leaders in independent schools gather annually at the Global Educator Benchmark Group (GEBG) conference, hosted each year by an institution doing exemplary work in this realm.  


Global Access Pipeline (GAP): One non-profit that is facilitating dialogue between K-12, higher education, diversity, global and language professionals is the Global Access Pipeline. Their mission is to “enhance the quality and diversity of participation in international affairs”. The map of their consortium outlines the K-12 members who ‘expose’ young students to the field of international affairs, the organizations that serve as conveners, providers of internships and scholarships, as well as mentoring and PD as they get closer to the professional world where the ‘end users’ include governmental agencies, NGOs and private businesses.


The Asia Society is currently gathering educators from the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) for an annual conference. ISSN’s two-part mission is to “close the achievement gap for low-income and historically underserved secondary students and address the growing opportunity gap between what American schools typically teach and the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for full participation in a global economy”. Their belief that “a rich, global curriculum that engaged students in investigating and addressing real-world problems could..provide a more efficient route to college and career preparedness”.


Global education-focused elementary language educators might find support through, for example, Global Language Project, a consortium member of the Global Access Pipeline. The mission of Global Language Project is provide underserved communities the chance for their students to begin studying a world language as young as possible. The major professional organization for language teachers in the US, ACTFL, is a commitment member of the Institute of International Education’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, dedicated to greatly increasing SA participation while also increasing diversity of participants and reducing any obstacles in their way.


K-12 schools and program providers do not have their own professional association. NAFSA and FORUM on Education Abroad and IIE provide standards, resources and conference opportunities, but they are either overwhelmingly or exclusively devoted to higher education. NAFSA, though beginning to expand conference sessions for K-12 professionals focus only on issues of import to those working with inbound students. Beyond attending the excellent annual conference, FORUM on Education Abroad does not yet offer K-12 education abroad professionals a way to formally join the rich professional dialogue between member institutions taking place there via some appropriate level of membership.    


It is still a surprise to the large majority of people that a high school student can do sustained study abroad, so inextricably linked is this idea to the college experience and to the mistaken notion that you need to be a young adult to successfully navigate that challenge. It is, however, becoming more commonplace for K-12 schools to organize their own educational travel for their own students. While an encouraging trend here, again, funding can become a significant obstacle for some students, as well as the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the outreach. Global programs that are only accessible to students whose family has financial means can add yet another of layer to the structural inequities already existing in school systems in the U.S.


COLLABORATION EXAMPLE

UC Davis has presented on the concept of study abroad at several high schools during a college preparation day. There is a great opportunity for collaboration when high school students come on college campuses, too.  UC Davis, perhaps like many other campuses, collaborate with K-12 students on college preparation programs: https://www.ucdavis.edu/admissions/undergraduate/academic-preparation


While each of these programs above have a different focus, there is an opportunity to start to introduce global engagement possibilities into these college prep programs hosted by universities.  This can include coordinating school visits with other global events on campus and adding on a visit to the study abroad office to campus tours for K-12 groups.  


CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS

It is clear that there is interest among a core group of higher education professionals and K-12 professionals to partner and build upon a global education access pipeline. The inaugural year of Diversity Abroad’s High School Task Force in 2016-17 is proof of that interest. The Diversity Abroad conference session on this topic in spring 2017, proposed by this task force, proved to be a great platform for raising awareness and creating partnerships, and hopefully in building momentum to create even more space for collaboration to blossom. In moving forward, the High School Task Force will continue its work in 2017-18 to propose more sessions, create resources, and host community discussions. The hope is to bring more voices and perspectives to the conversations with a goal to bring the global education access pipeline to the forefront of conference dialogues, funding discussions, and strategic partnership development.   


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Diversity Abroad Welcomes New Team Members

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Friday, July 21, 2017

Diversity Abroad is growing! We are excited to introduce three new fellows and one new intern who will be supporting Diversity Abroad initiatives over the course of the 2017-2018 year. In its first year, the Diversity Abroad Fellowship Program invited graduate students and new professionals interested in pursuing careers or gaining professional development experience in global education to apply for the 1-year program. After a very competitive review process, Diversity Abroad is delighted to welcome three fellows to join the Diversity Abroad Team. Fellows will be collaborating with the Diversity Abroad team within the following areas: Student Support Services, Educational Resources & Member Engagement, and Event Coordination. In addition to the fellowship program, Diversity Abroad welcomes a new intern to support the Diversity Abroad Network. 

 

Student Support Services Fellow

Lorelle Babwah

Lorelle Babwah

Lorelle Babwah is Diversity Abroad’s Student Services Fellow.  In her day-job, Lorelle serves as Assistant Director of Student Services for the Professional Masters Programs at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. Her work focuses on improving student experience and creating opportunities for intercultural learning for domestic students and international students studying in the United States.

Lorelle is a proud double Tar Heel, holding a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a BA in Psychology with a focus in Behavioral Neuroscience, also from the University of North Carolina.  Prior to working in higher education, Lorelle was in private practice focusing on immigration and criminal defense. 

Although she has adopted North Carolina as home, Lorelle’s family hails from Jamaica, Trinidad, and the US Virgin Islands.  She also grew up as an army brat, living in Panama and all over the US before landing in her current home of Durham.  As an undergraduate, Lorelle studied abroad in Botswana, and most recently spent time in parts of the Middle East and Asia for her work in support of international students.  She is excited to contribute to the Diversity Abroad community 

 

Educational Resources & Member Engagement Fellow

Robert B. Peterson, Ph.D.

Robert B. Peterson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and leads the Morehouse Pan-African Global Experience II (MPAGE) Brazil in the Department of Sociology at Morehouse College. He was recently awarded a Diversity Abroad Graduate and New Professional Fellowship from the Diversity Abroad Network. His interests in education abroad began during his undergraduate years. As a NIMH-COR Fellow he was able to conduct intensive sociological field research in Cape Town, South Africa on HIV/AIDS and educator’s knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Dr. Peterson’s research and teaching interests focuses on issues of the intersectionality of Race, Class, & Gender; The Sociology of Health & Illness; HIV/AIDS; Sexual Violence & Sexual Consent; Gender Expression (Masculinities) & Health Outcomes; & Internationalization & Education Abroad.

Dr. Peterson has proficiency teaching several courses and is experienced with planning, developing, and executing programmatic events related to study abroad and gender/sexuality programing. Particularly, he gained executive and programmatic experience by serving as a Program Manager for a Ford Foundation Funded Faces of Manhood Initiative and currently serves as one of the Associate Directors of the MPAGE Ghana 2014 and MPAGE II Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Ghana Study Abroad Programs. Recently, Dr. Peterson was selected to assist in the Faculty-Led Alternative Spring Break to Haiti Education Abroad Experience guiding 14 young African American men abroad. 

Specifically, his ongoing service to the college and the sociology department has been in the planning, organizing, execution, and assessment of successful MPAGE study abroad programs. The Brazil program commenced the first ever study abroad experience to Bahia, Brazil in summer 2015 with 10 students and two faculty members. Dr. Peterson’s extensive experience with the logistical and organizational structure of study abroad programs lead to an increase awareness and participation in MPAGE Bahia. He organized interest meetings and Study Abroad Fairs that increased recruitment efforts, established a more efficient on-line application infrastructure that streamlined and recorded data of applicants, and created a new financial model that increased the number of student participants in the program. He has experience with education abroad programs that include service learning, curriculum based, and civic-engagement. 

Dr. Peterson received his B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and received his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. During his personal time, he enjoys cooking (& eating), traveling, community involvement, watching/reading cable news programs (political/social commentary) and socializing with family, fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.) and friends. He self-identifies as a relatively private person (as much as a Scorpio can be ☺) and in 2017 he joined Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram—although not a fan--yet.

 

Event Coordination Fellow 

Lauren Griggs

Lauren is the Diversity Abroad Graduate & New Professional Event Coordination Fellow. She assists in the organization and execution of events such as the Annual Diversity Abroad Conference, Regional Workshops and Online Webinars. Lauren supports Diversity Abroad’s presence at the global education conferences and aids in the planning and development of the Global Institute for Inclusive Leadership. 

Lauren received her B.S. in Engineering Science, with a concentration in Nanomedicine from The University of Virginia in 2012. Currently, Lauren is working towards completing her doctoral studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Her work in the Cell and Matrix Biomechanics Laboratory at VCU involves investigation into the mechanism governing how cells interpret mechanical signals from their surroundings and use those signals to grow new tissues. Lauren published this work in the journal Matrix Biology and has presented her research at several national conferences, including the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Conference, where she received the Innovation and Career Development Travel Award. She was recently awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship through the National Institute of Health. 


Lauren also serves as the Program Coordinator for the VCU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. In this work, Lauren strives to increasing the number of underrepresented minority students earning baccalaureate degrees and matriculating to graduate school. Lauren’s passion lies in working directly with students, serving as an advisor, inspiring others through meaningful career discussions and helping others to gain confidence as well as succeed in their chosen degree fields. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Lauren plans to continue to develop her commitment to outreach and diversity, with aspirations of pursuing a career in university administration and research. 

 

Diversity Abroad Network Intern 

Shayna Trujillo

Shayna is currently serving as the Diversity Abroad Network Intern while completing her Master’s Degree in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She is working specifically with the Diversity Abroad Network to refine materials for the Access, Inclusion, and Diversity Workshops. 

Throughout her career, Shayna has fostered understanding of, collaboration with, and opportunities for underserved and underrepresented populations. Before coming to the field of international education, she worked in early childhood education, community organizing, and institutions of higher education. Shayna is interested in issues of gender equity, intercultural competency, and working with educators to create high quality, high impact programs at home and abroad.  She has lived, conducted university-level research, worked, and volunteered in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and is working towards fluency in Russian.  Shayna is thrilled to be joining the Diversity Abroad team and looking forward to contributing to the great work that they do every day. 

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Interview with Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Oklahoma

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

 Interview with Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Oklahoma. 

 Submitted by the 2016-2017 Athletes Task Force

 

Michael Meade, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Oklahoma, agreed to answer some questions for the Athletes Task Force of Diversity Abroad. 

 

Why is study abroad important? What do you think students can learn from international education?  Study abroad is important because it gives student-athletes an opportunity to explore the richness of other cultures, languages, traditions and history. This experience complements their learning in the classroom.


Did you have education abroad opportunities as an undergraduate? If so, how did it impact your college experience?  I did not complete a formal study abroad experience as an undergraduate. However, I did participate in a European tour with a men's choral group while at Notre Dame. It was a month-long experience during which I was able to experience cultures in seven different countries and also learn about my own family history during my time in Ireland. I actually located family in County Kerry during my extended stay there. That was an unforgettable moment.


Have you been abroad as a professional?  If yes, where?  I have not been abroad as a professional, but I am definitely interested in future opportunities. 


What would you say is the general support level for student-athletes to study abroad while at the University of Oklahoma?  Is there support from the top down at both the university and athletics levels?    The Athletics Department provides tremendous support for student-athletes interested in study abroad, as does the university’s administration from the President down. In addition to the coaches being receptive to this experience, the department also provides financial support through the NCAA Student Assistance Fund for student-athlete well-being needs. 


As a rule, are your athletic advisers encouraged to mention study abroad to the student-athletes during advising sessions?  Athletics academic advisers encourage student-athletes to consider study abroad based on their interest and designated academic program. Additionally, our Foreign Language Center coordinator meets with student-athletes interested in study abroad to determine the best plan of action and type of program, and provides guidance through the application process.

 

Has there been an increase in the number of athletes studying abroad from OU during the past five years?  Yes, a significant increase. Between 1993-2012, approximately 10 student-athletes participated in study abroad programs at OU.  Between 2013 and 2016, an additional 59 students completed study abroad programs. In 2017 alone, 30 student-athletes are participating in study abroad.

 

Do you find it easier for some sports to study abroad compared to others?  Student-athletes in most sport programs are able to participate in study abroad at some point during the summer. Depending on the students' seasons of competition, some participate in May while others choose programs that are offered in either June or July. Almost all student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in the summer or after they have completed their eligibility.


Do you think coaches and administrators would be more apt to promote study abroad if there were an athletic component to the program?  Coaches are receptive to students interested in study abroad opportunities. Generally speaking, an athletic component is not essential, provided they make responsible, healthy decisions during their experience.  


Do you think student-athletes would be more likely to study abroad if there were an athletic training/competition component?  While many student-athletes have an interest in study abroad programs that focus on a topic related to sport, that certainly is not the priority for most students.


In general, do you feel there is support among coaches for their team members to go on study abroad or is it impossible to generalize about this?   I believe coaches are supportive of student-athletes interested in studying abroad. I have not heard of any head coaches that are opposed to students interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. 


Has Athletics publicized any high-profile student-athletes who have studied abroad?  If yes, in what ways and which sports?   Student-athletes participating in study abroad opportunities are recognized during our annual Scholar Athlete banquet in April. Additionally, the Athletics Communications staff has written articles regarding student-athletes' study abroad experiences in recent years. We certainly plan to continue this effort as we see this as a valuable opportunity for all college students.  


Do you know if the idea of study abroad for student-athletes is mentioned to recruits?  Study abroad opportunities are mentioned during prospective student-athlete recruiting visits. Study abroad is highlighted during prospect tours of the Prentice Gautt Academic Center.


Are there things you think should be happening on campus to promote study abroad for student-athletes that are not happening at this time?  The focus on study abroad at the University of Oklahoma is impressive. The number and variety of options makes such an opportunity accessible for the vast majority of students across campus. The Athletics Department appreciates this support.

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Reflections on the NACE 2017 Conference

Posted By Christopher LeGrant, Friday, July 7, 2017

Preparing the Next Generation of Global Leaders.  For us at Diversity Abroad, this means making sure students from underrepresented backgrounds have access to global experiences that will allow them to thrive in later stages of life.  But what role do we have in supporting students throughout the entire continuum of the study abroad process, especially when they return home? Recruiters and hiring managers are now recognizing some of the connections between global education and top talent. As educators, we need to actively facilitate these connections for students before, during and after a global education program to give them the best chance to succeed. 

 

To this end, myself and our CEO & Founder, Andrew Gordon attended the NACE conference in Las Vegas between June 6-9, 2017. For those who are not familiar, NACE (the National Association of Colleges and Employers) holds an annual conference that connects career services professionals to recruiting specialists and the business affiliates that serve this community.  As many readers of this blog are aware, Diversity Abroad team members are very active in industry wide conferences and summits for education abroad (including hosting our own conference). However, this was our first time attending NACE in a formal capacity so it was a great opportunity to learn about the intersections of our two fields and to strengthen connections with career service departments and employers that are looking to recruit diverse talent to their organizations.

 

One of the things that struck me during the first day is that the “siloing” of institutional departments in higher education is real. At our exhibit booth, I was approached by career service professionals who worked for institutions that were members of the Diversity Network but were unaware of their membership status. To some extent, this is not entirely unexpected.  We have long spoken about this siloing effect, acknowledging that many study abroad offices can often feel like islands on their own campuses. However, encountering this phenomena during the conference only reinforces that it’s an issue: career service and study abroad professionals that could be pooling their resources and talent to strengthen the links between global education and career mobility are simply not talking to each other.  

A second revelation is that many of the challenges career service departments are currently experiencing are very similar to those found in study abroad. Time and time again, I was told by career service professionals about issues with recruiting, advising and supporting students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Again, this should not be entirely unexpected as the challenges we face concerning diversity and inclusion in our specific fields are reflective of systemic challenges in our society. We also know how global education can help prepare students for working in the 21st century and much of the thought leadership and professional development endeavors we work on in the field can be adapted to address the challenges facing both departments on campus.  

As always, Diversity Abroad looks to address these issues as holistically as possible by connecting directly with students as well as with our colleagues across the academy.  One of our goals for the remainder of 2017 and beyond is to develop a fully utilized career center on DiversityAbroad.com, connecting students with not only internship and graduate school programs but to actual job opportunities. This career center will also make resources available to students to help them better leverage their global experiences in a competitive job market.  Within the Diversity Network, we are continuing to focus on facilitating connections and professional development through the Diversity Abroad Conference, online short courses and our in-person and virtual workshops. Ultimately, attending a conference like NACE helps us align our goals more closely to that of the student: to complete their education and start a successful and rewarding career.  We hope to see you again at NACE 2018!


Tags:  career 

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The Passport Tour (TPT) Annual Report at a Glance

Posted By Trixie Cordova, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Engaging Students On Campus

This year, The Passport Tour (TPT) brought Diversity Abroad to college campuses across the U.S. to engage with 2,000+ students about the benefits of going abroad. By bringing our unique resources, scholarships, and expertise directly to students, we are able to address the barriers impacting students’ ability and interest to go abroad, dispel common study abroad myths, and encourage them to pursue global opportunities, regardless of how they identify. The Passport Tour has impacted more than 20,000 students since launching in 2008, and has been one of Diversity Abroad’s signature student outreach programs. To learn more about how TPT is organized, read our blog entry here.


While on tour, students are invited to tell us more about themselves to help us better understand why diverse and underrepresented students are not going abroad, and still only make up less than 30% of all study abroad participants. Students are asked how they identify, what their concerns are about going abroad, and what regions and program types they are most interested in pursuing. Across all campus types, our goal is to reach students who have had no prior experience abroad; such as those attending first year seminar classes, enrolled in TRiO or other Student Support Services programs, or at institutions without established study abroad offices.


By collecting this information, we are able to assess both how successful we are in reaching underrepresented students; we also increase our own awareness of student concerns as they pertain to one’s ethnicity, financial status, area of study and regional interest, to name a few.


The Passport Tour Stats At-a-Glance

As our 2016-17 tour came to an end, we analyzed our data and developed a number of interesting findings about the students we reached. Below are just a few metrics we found most compelling:

At least half of the students we connected with on TPT this year identified as Black, which includes but is not limited to students self-identifying as African American, Haitian American, Jamaican-American, African, or other. 20% of the students we met identified as White, an increase from previous tours. We believe this correlates to our increased focus on reaching students in rural areas across states such as Oklahoma and Michigan.


Of course, finances remained the number one barrier cited for students interested in going abroad, with 35% citing finances as at least one barrier in their decision to go abroad. The following chart further verifies that this holds true, regardless of whether or not students are Pell Grant recipients; a typical indicator of high financial need.


This graphic indicates that first generation college students typically will not know someone - such as friends or family members - with previous study abroad experience. More often than not, study abroad alumni cite an older sibling, cousin, or friend as the inspiration for their participation in a study abroad program.

Finally, what has consistently emerged in our data collection for the past three years is a trend that indicates students’ interest in ‘heritage seeking’ regions. Although Europe consistently remains the primary regional interest for students across all ethnicities, second to Europe aligns with how they identify. For Asian students, this means Asia; for Black students this means an interest in Africa and the Caribbean; for Latino students an interest in Central and South America.


Diversity Abroad at NAFSA17

For the second year in a row, Diversity Abroad was excited to present these findings at the national NAFSA conference, hosted this year in Los Angeles.


The images above were compiled into an infographic shared during the poster session, Diversity Outreach in International EducationTo view the full infographic on data collected during the 2016-17 Passport Tour click here.

Tags:  Student Engagement  The Passport Tour  tpt  Underrepresented Students 

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