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Diversity Abroad looks forward to seeing everyone at NAFSA 2017!

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For over a decade, Diversity Abroad has led the field toward inclusive excellence in global education. Now more than ever, this work is necessary as we strive to increase student access and participation in global programs, and ensure that the next generation of diverse global leaders are equipped with the skills necessary to excel in our increasingly interconnected world.

Stop by Diversity Abroad’s Booth #1954

We invite you to learn more about Diversity Abroad programs, resources, and upcoming learning opportunities at the annual NAFSA conference in Los Angeles, May 29 - June 2. Stop by Booth #1954 to meet with Diversity Abroad staff, learn more about best practices, tools, and inclusive methods for increasing participation of diverse and underrepresented students.

Schedule a Meeting with the Diversity Abroad Team

To schedule a meeting, please feel free to reach out to Diversity Abroad staff directly:

Poster Session


We are also excited to be dual-exhibitors during the poster session, "Increasing Diversity Outreach in International Education" on Thursday, June 1 from 2-3:30p. Stop by to learn more from our posters:


AID Roadmap: Comprehensive Assessment for Inclusion in Education Abroad

If we believe that education abroad as a documented high impact practice can be transformational -- personally, professionally, and academically -- for students, then the outcome of our efforts must be that greater access actually leads to greater transformation for all students. How can Education Abroad Offices move beyond the tacit commitment to diversity & inclusion efforts, and develop an inclusive climate that both welcomes students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and also effectively supports their successful participation and transformational learning throughout? Stop by the poster session to learn more about Diversity Abroad’s innovative approach to assessing the overall climate of inclusion throughout the education abroad process through the Access, Inclusion, and Diversity (AID) Roadmap.

Diversity Abroad's Passport Tour: An Innovative Practice for Diversity Outreach

Stop by to learn more about the impact of The Passport Tour (TPT), the longest running Student Services program from Diversity Abroad. Now in it’s 9th year, our unique national student outreach tour allows us to directly engage with 2,000+ students across a variety of institution sizes and types in the U.S. Our poster will provide details about TPT, how it is organized, and how you can get involved. We’re excited to also present a creative infographic that breaks down the diversity of students we sought out to engage with during this tour, and to provide further insights into students’ barriers to study abroad; as well as how those barriers are impacted by racial/ethnic identity, financial need, prior family/friend experiences’, and more.

What’s New at Diversity Abroad?

As you are preparing your NAFSA Annual Conference schedule, don’t forget to include time to learn about the new initiatives at Diversity Abroad:

Global Institute for Inclusive Leadership
South Africa: June 18-25, 2017
New Zealand: January 14-21, 2018

An intensive, 8-day interactive workshop designed for international education, student affairs, education abroad, faculty development, and diversity and social justice program professionals who are interested in gaining skills and resources and building networks to better support their global education and diversity-related work.

Diversity Abroad’s Short Course Series

These 30-minute, accessible e-learning opportunities are designed and facilitated by experts in the fields of diversity, inclusion, and international education to provide professionals with insight and practical tools to support and advance inclusive excellence in global education.

6th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference (April 7-10, 2018 in Miami, FL)

Submit a session proposal to present at the conference. Call for proposals opening soon!

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Exploring the Role of Allies: Step Up, Step Back, and Listen

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Wednesday, May 3, 2017

By: Erica Ledesma

Today’s current political climate is rife with conflict, finger-pointing, and suspicion as discussions related to race, diversity, social justice, equity, and inclusion dominate our newsfeeds. Throughout the education sector, this tone is equally as present as we critically examine the opportunity gap & institutional demographics, campus climate (especially at PWI’s), and balancing free speech while ensuring all students feel a sense of belonging where they can thrive both academically and personally. Within this context, prioritizing diversity & inclusion at the core of our education structures -- including global education -- is more important than ever and requires commitment from all of us, not just those who identify personally with marginalized communities. As allies who work in diversity & inclusion, how can we maximize our contributions within this complicated landscape where  “political-correctness” often impedes honest interactions? For someone like me, a white woman, what should we be thinking about in order to effectively engage in diversity and inclusion work? I’ve given this some thought and have articulated my reflections below.


Know when to “step up” and when to “step back”

The first question that might come up is whether or not a heterosexual, middle class white woman should even be engaged in diversity and inclusion work. This is a fair question and worth considering (some thoughts here and here). In short, my answer is “yes”....but, not always. Working as an ally alongside colleagues from marginalized communities to advance equity and social justice requires a degree of self-awareness and humility. In truth, I’ve spent most of my life working within systems and structures that elevate my voice and experiences at the expense of others. To counteract this pattern, it is essential to acknowledge its existence, look for opportunities to take a step back and simply listen in order to center diverse voices in these discussions. At the same time, diversity and inclusion is all of our responsibility and should not be delegated to members of marginalized communities, an oft-employed tactic that usually ends in exhaustion and burnout. So, how do we balance our responsibility to provide leadership and advocacy as allies with the need to take a step back and listen? There is no formula; however, I would argue that as allies the core of our work to support and lead diversity and inclusion efforts is an awareness of positionality. In order to understand our positionality (and the associated power dynamic) within certain structures, conversations, groups, etc, we need to take time on a regular basis to reflect on our own identities and areas of unconscious bias (these exist for all of us). Distinct from the tacit notion of “checking one’s privilege”, this exercise requires both introspection and action in order to have lasting impact.

Be Authentic

This can’t be overstated. In our quest to “relate” to others, it may be tempting to over-emphasize our points of connection with marginalized communities; however, this approach will serve only to erode credibility. My identities as a white middle class heterosexual woman, raised in the midwestern region of the United States, have provided me with innumerable “unearned” societal advantages over the years. At the same time, I’ve also had significant personal and professional experiences engaging with diverse domestic and global communities that have contributed to my current worldview and perspectives. These experiences, in many ways, reinforce my commitment to equity, social justice, confronting structural oppression, and cultivating empathy. They do not, however, allow me to understand from the perspective of individuals who belong to marginalized communities, like people of color or LGBTQI+ individuals, etc. For me, this is an essential distinction.

All of us embody multiple intersecting identities that locate us within or without institutional power structures (read here for more on intersectionality). As a female professional raising 2 daughters, I am in-tuned on a personal level with the patriarchal hierarchies that impact persistent realities like the gender wage gap, disproportionate expectations for men & women in the academe, and the prevalence of rape culture on our college campuses. When I was younger, I was one of only two girls who played on our middle school’s boys soccer team because there wasn’t a team available for the female athletes. While a lot has changed in this regard due to Title IX and other efforts, gender-based discrimination is still alive and well today as we regularly witness in the continued objectification of women through media & public discourse. And yet, despite my personal connection to gender discrimination, my experiences as a white woman are qualitatively different from the experiences of women belonging to other marginalized communities. For women of color and transgender individuals, for example, gender-based discrimination will undoubtedly intersect and overlap with other forms of oppression related to race, sexuality, and gender-identity. In our work with diversity & inclusion, it’s important to embrace our own backgrounds without making assumptions about how we can relate to or understand other experiences of oppression.

Mistakes Will Happen

Sometimes we’ll make mistakes, and it’s important to learn from them and incorporate these insights into our work. Being transparent about our own missteps can create space for others to learn and grow as well. In order to be an effective ally for diversity and inclusion, it’s not necessary to be an expert on all marginalized communities or to understand all of the relevant terminology right away. In fact, this approach may be perceived as disingenuous and arrogant, “If a white person comes to D&I with a purely intellectual mindset or a goal to change or help someone else, they might miss the mark” (more on this here). That said, expanding our perspectives is an important aspect of developing as an ally for diversity and inclusion. Accessing news sources, entertainment, books, etc that showcase a diversity of  perspectives is a starting point and will provide opportunities to deepen our understanding of the way our own backgrounds have shaped our perceptions. The options are endless, but here are just a few suggestions that I’ve enjoyed:

  • Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Banaji & Greenwald

  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander

  • The Danger of a Single Story - Ted talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In summary, there is an important role for allies to play in diversity and inclusion work. Within our sphere of influence as global educators, we can collaborate with colleagues from marginalized communities, learn to listen and to lead effectively, and acknowledge our own shortcomings as we support students from all backgrounds.

Tags:  allies  diversity  inclusion 

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Strategies for Microresistances & Ally Development

Posted By Pamela Roy Ph.D., Monday, April 24, 2017

By: Pamela Roy, Ph.D., Manager of Learning & Assessment, Diversity Abroad

Why do microresistances in the academic workplace matter? In what ways can we support faculty, staff, and administrators facing microaggressions? How can you contribute your leadership to eliminating microaggressions and mitigating their effects at your college campus (Berk, 2007)? It begins with understanding terminology and equipping yourself with the necessary tools so that when you’re faced with a potential microaggression, you’re able to act and not react. Ultimately, learning how to be an ally to colleagues who face microaggressions can create an environment for everyone to thrive and succeed. 

What are microaggressions?

Scholars define microaggressions as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative . . . slights and insults” (Sue, Derald Wing, et al., "Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life," American Psychologist 62.4 [2007]: 271-286).

What are microresistances?

Microresistances are “incremental daily efforts to challenge white privilege” as well as other kinds of privilege based on gender, sexuality, class, etc. They help targeted people “cope with microaggressions” (Irey, Sayumi, "How Asian American Women Perceive and Move toward Leadership Roles in Community Colleges: A Study of Insider Counter Narratives," PhD Diss., University of Washington, 2013, p. 36).


How Can I Be(Come) an Ally through Microresistances?

  1. Increase your social resources by practicing gratitude (Wood, et.al., 2008) and by giving microaffirmations, i.e., tiny acts of opening doors to opportunity, gestures of inclusion and caring, and graceful acts of listening (Scully & Rowe, 2009). 

  2. Remind yourself what you value and find comfort and strength in your ability to act (see Claude Steele’s (2011) Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, New York: Norton). 

  3. Speak up when we see or hear a microaggression and use the Open The Front Door communication strategy to make transparent the nature and effects of microaggressions (as cited in Ganote, Cheung, & Souza, 2015):

    Observe: Concrete, factual, and observable (not evaluative)
    Think: Thoughts based on observation (yours and/or theirs)
    Feel: Emotions- “I feel (emotion).”
    Desire: Specific request or inquiries about desired outcome

    Let’s operationalize this strategy in the workplace with an example. You have witnessed a persistent microaggression from one particular colleague at a small group staff meeting. You make the brave choice to speak up, and say, “Let’s pause for a moment. I noticed (Observe) some raised eyebrows and other nonverbals that make me think people might be reacting strongly to something that was said. I think (Think) we need to explore this because I feel uncomfortable (Feeling) moving forward with the discussion. Following our groundrules, I am hoping someone can share (Desire) what they are thinking or feeling right now so we can have a productive conversation about this (state microaggression).“ See also Kathy Obear, long-time advocate and practitioner of social justice education, techniques on “How to Facilitate Triggering Situations” using the AIR SPACE method! 

  4. Work behind the scenes on behalf of your colleagues and support their efforts of microresistances and self-efficacy (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). 

  5. Practice self-care (see https://www.ted.com/playlists/299/the_importance_of_self_care).


Berk, R.A. (2017). Why do microaggressions matter? Journal of Faculty Development, 31(1), 63–73. Retrieved from: http://www.ronberk.com/articles/2017_micro1.pdf

Ganote, C., Cheung, F., & Souza, T. (2015). Don’t Remain Silent!: Strategies for Supporting Yourself and Your Colleagues via Microresistances and Ally Development. In Roy, P., Harrell, A., Milano, J., & Bernhagen, L. (Eds). POD Diversity Committee White Paper at the 40th Annual POD Conference (pp. 3-4). San Francisco, CA.

Miller, W.R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Scully, M. & Rowe, M. (2009, July). Bystander Training within Organizations. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association 2 (1), 89-95.

Wood, A.M., Maltby, J., Gillett, R., Linley, P.A., & Joseph, S. (2008). The Role of Gratitude in the Development of Social Support, Stress, and Depression. Journal of Research in Personality 42 (4), 854-871.

Tags:  microaggression  microresistance 

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Diversity Network Member Highlight: Semester at Sea

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 24, 2017

Institution name

Semester at Sea (SAS)


Fort Collins, CO


Institutional Profile

Small (under 5,000 students); MSI

Why did your institution join the Diversity Abroad Network?

SAS joined the Diversity Abroad Network so that we could gain access to tools and resources to help us better support participants in our program who identify with underrepresented backgrounds.  We wanted to make sure all that of our staff that engages with our program participants are knowledgeable and empowered to support our participants throughout the study abroad program with us. We also wanted to be able to collaborate with peer organizations to discuss case studies and share successful initiatives.


How long has your organization/institution been a member? 

Since 2014


What Diversity Network resource has been most useful for you and your colleagues in advancing diversity & inclusive excellence in global education? 

The Diversity Country Climate Notes have been very useful, especially since our program travels to multiple countries during the voyage. Having a starting point on how to start to prepare underrepresented students for travel in certain countries has been invaluable. We make these notes available to participants throughout their voyage so that can always have a central place of reference. The webinars have also been very helpful, and generally focus on new and emerging topics.


How has membership with the Diversity Network helped your institution make global education more accessible to students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds?  

Having a program profile listed on the Diversity Abroad website has had the most impact on our student engagement. Students who visit the Diversity Abroad website are likely to identify with an underrepresented identity, so having SAS’s profile in partnership with Diversity Abroad/Diversity Network helps students know that they will likely be considering participating in a program that will take the steps necessary to support their needs and experiences while studying abroad. Additionally, just the general increase in knowledge available to our staff has helped us when advising students during the pre-voyage/program preparation period.


Please describe any innovative initiatives related to diversity and inclusion in global education that your institution is currently undertaking.  

Our institutional diversity committee is currently working on several initiatives to help promote diversity and inclusion on our program. We are in the final stages of implementing a Special Accommodations Housing Initiative to help better support and accommodate the needs of students who are transgender, transsexual, intersex, and other diverse gender identities and expressions and allies. We are also planning to launch a Diversity Peer mentoring program in order to connect alumni from underrepresented backgrounds with prospective students from similar backgrounds to help share personal, peer-related study abroad experiences. We are also exploring more ways to keep our diverse alumni more engaged after their voyage.

Tags:  members 

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Reflecting on The Passport Tour

Posted By Daneen Johnson, Monday, April 10, 2017


Diversity Abroad recently completed its ninth consecutive year of campus visits through its national outreach, The Passport Tour (TPT). This initiative continued to reach hundreds of college students throughout the country prioritizing students who are traditionally underrepresented in pursuing global education opportunities. As we began to plan our spring 2017 tour, the team considered our nation's current political and diversity climate and urgently committed to expanding our efforts to areas that we had not visited in previous years. We traveled to nineteen institutions throughout Michigan, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee with an emphasis on rural communities. With fewer study abroad fairs being offered during the spring, we have the unique opportunity to further personalize each campus visit. We work with Education Abroad, Career Services and Multicultural Affairs offices to create a series of targeted student outreach events and workshops on campuses and connect students back to Diversity Abroad resources. I’ll share a few of my experiences as I led most of the Tour’s visits throughout the country.

Highlights from The Passport Tour

As the Tour stopped in Michigan, I spoke to a group of peer advisers who worked in the study abroad office at their university. I facilitated a session where we discussed identity and how to navigate conversations with peers who have intersecting identities and the challenges they may incur abroad. We also discussed personal bias, how to avoid assumptions, and how to be aware of our dialogue especially when advising. The session comprised of candid conversations that led to enlightening discussions and it was one of my most memorable moments of the Tour.  

In Tennessee, I collaborated with a couple of departments at a university to facilitate a Study Abroad and Your Career session — a workshop model that can easily be replicated at your institution. Students listened to my twenty minute presentation on the transferable global skills that can be developed abroad and how to professionally articulate their experience to employers. Students also received the coinciding Diversity Abroad booklet. The university’s Career Services department invited a professional from their local Chamber of Commerce to speak about the impact of study abroad from an employer perspective. The session ended with a brief presentation from a study abroad alumna who continued to network upon return to campus, which led her to be selected for an internship with a prestigious faculty member.

The Tour later stopped in Oklahoma where I spoke with students from rural communities, a demographic of students who are also underrepresented in education abroad, and discussed how studying abroad can have a positive impact on them and their local communities. In Colorado, my visit consisted of several opportunities to speak with non-traditional students with the conversations leaning heavy on how to balance family and a global learning experience. As The Tour headed south, my time in Texas was filled with curious students asking probing questions as they began to see education abroad as not just a phrase, but a reality they wanted to pursue.

Student Interviews

Throughout The Tour, eighteen students (study abroad alumni) were video interviewed and openly shared their positive experiences and challenges while abroad. Student interviewees represent a diverse range of cultures, perspectives, and study abroad destinations. These interviews can be used as a resource to empower your students to learn abroad. Additionally, many of The Passport Tour visits were captured on our social media pages — Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Bringing Diversity Abroad to Your Campus

We frequently facilitate unique opportunities to engage in challenging conversations about awareness and access to global programs as it pertains to one’s identity. If you are interested in bringing us to your campus to facilitate these discussions and to share resources with your students, please contact me at djohnson@diversityabroad.org

Tags:  outreach  students  TPT 

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