2013 GoAbroad Innovation Awards: Innovation in Access and Equity

2013 Innovation in Access and EquityThe GoAbroad Team pleased to bring you the 2013 GoAbroad Innovation Awards Finalists!  Today we celebrate and recognize the Innovation in Access and Equity Finalists.

We received many wonderful nominations and the selection committee has chosen five finalists, listed here in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of May 2013, GoAbroad will highlight the finalists in each of the GoAbroad Innovation Award categories! Winners for each category will be announced during the GoAbroad Reception during the Annual NAFSA Conference & Expo.

Congratulations to the 2013 Innovation in Access and Equity Finalists!

IES Abroad

Boarding Passes for Diverse Students

IES Abroad logoA new suite of specialized IES Abroad support materials are just the ticket many diverse students need to navigate unknown waters and get onboard for a study abroad experience. Some education abroad materials dance around how differences among students may impact their time abroad, or address diversity with lengthy content that targeted students may reluctantly scan. To tackle this, IES Abroad delivers an eye-catching, colorful new set of innovative materials to succinctly respond to common questions on the minds of non-traditional and diverse students, to improve access and the likelihood they will take the next steps.

As a new twist in how we support student diversity, our “boarding passes” are designed to provide a novel additional way to advise on unique matters of diversity aimed at 6 different groups of students: students of color or religious ethnicity, students with disabilities, LGBTQ, financially-challenged, and first-generation college students, and nontraditional majors.

Each mock boarding pass features useful facts, advice, and Web links in a straightforward, easy-to-read format, as well as contact information for our director of diversity recruiting and advising. Mirroring the look and dimensions of an actual flight boarding pass, students enjoy the “grab-and-go” convenience and utility, and education abroad staff can post them collectively on bulletin boards or display them in a space-saving way in campus resource rooms. They are a convenient tool to essentially open the door to conversations about race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or financial need as relative to the study abroad experience, while also sharing basic information that some students may find otherwise intimidating to discuss.

International Carpe Diem Foundation

Carpe College Program

International Carpe Diem FoundationThe International Carpe Diem Foundation (ICDF) is a scholarship organization whose mission is to transform economically disadvantaged and at-risk Portland youth into globally engaged change-makers. ICDF’s innovative Carpe College Program is a yearlong program, piloted during the 2012-2013 academic year, designed to give equity and access to higher education and international opportunities. In partnership with Portland Community College (PCC), Portland State University (PSU), and Carpe Diem Education, ICDF’s program consists of three phases.

First, students complete a semester of study at PCC, with ongoing academic support from ICDF. Second, students participate in a three-month semester program with Carpe Diem Education, while receiving credit through PSU, in one of the following destinations: South America, Central America, India, East Africa, Southeast Asia, or Indigenous America. Finally, students will complete a local internship with Mercy Corps, or other socially minded organizations, upon return from abroad.  By using pre-existing grants, scholarships, and leveraging community partnerships, ICDF is able to offer both study abroad and a year of college credit at no cost to the student.

ICDF believes that experiential, international, and cohort-based programs can be transformative and should be available to all students, regardless of socioeconomic background. What makes the Carpe College program innovative is the combination of the engaging elements of experiential and international education, with the financial and academic access to college. Together, these elements make students exponentially more likely to complete a higher degree.

The inaugural cohort consists of five diverse students from the Portland area that are currently abroad in Central America, India, and East Africa.

SIT Study Abroad

Pell Grant Match Award Program

SIT Study Abroad logoSIT Study Abroad is committed to making its study abroad programs affordable for a diversity of students. The Pell Grant Match Award allows SIT to place its high-quality, field-based study abroad programs within greater financial reach of a wider range of undergraduates.

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Through the Pell Grant Match Award program, SIT awards matching funding for all students receiving a Federal Pell Grant. This doubles the amount that students would receive from the Pell Grant alone, making study abroad a more viable option for low-income students who might otherwise not pursue international opportunities.

SIT began this innovative program in 2010, offering matching funding to Pell Grant recipients for select SIT Study Abroad programs. Beginning in the spring 2013 semester, SIT started providing matching grants to all Federal Pell Grant recipients for any SIT semester program.

The Education Abroad Network

Comparative Semester in Cambodia and Thailand

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)

This program on the outside appears to be a more traditional model that brings US students to spend a semester in both Thailand and Cambodia. The point of difference being that the program was built to provide access to the local students to also study abroad.

Through unique program design incorporating a combination of negotiated local exchanges and fee paying provider, every US student who spends a semester in Thailand/Cambodia provides an opportunity for a local thai/cambodian to study abroad in the other country. In the two years this program has been running 16 Cambodian students have studied under full scholarship for one semester in Thailand and 1 Thai student has studied abroad in Melbourne Australia.

The program provides access to southeast asian students where traditional study abroad models do not exist nor do the resources to make this type of programming happen. It took a unique model that wasn’t about just bringing students to the region but also providing real access and equity to the students of that region. Having the Cambodian students in the classrooms in Thailand not only provides access and opportunity to these students but greatly enhances the experience of the visiting American students in a true international environment. This model is also being utilised in the program design of our new Vietnam and Burma models allowing many students from these countries to also experience international study in the future.

The University of New England

Semester in Seville, Spain for Science Majors

University of New EnglandThe University of New England is a pioneer in expanding study abroad opportunities for science majors. Between 2011 and 2012, they worked arduously to create a new semester-long program in Seville, Spain with classes in English containing a lab component. The director of the Global Education Program was the first to visit Pablo de Olavide University followed by the chairs of the Biology and Chemistry departments, a professor from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Associate Provost for Global Initiatives. The process culminated in April of 2012 with a visit by the President of the University of New England and the signing of an agreement between the two universities. The agreement included a financial commitment by the University of New England to convert one of the standard science laboratories into an organic chemistry lab, the first working organic chemistry lab at Pablo de Olavide University.

In the fall of 2012, the first group of University of New England students enrolled in the organic chemistry and biology courses: CHE 210E Organic Chemistry I (5 U.S. credits), BIO 209E Anatomy & Physiology II (4 U.S. credits) and BIO 242E Microbiology (4 U.S. credits) and several other courses offered in English by Pablo de Olavide University.

This initiative has opened the doors to science and nursing majors who are now able to study abroad in a non-English speaking country while remaining on track with their course requirements.


**This post is brought to you by this month’s GoAbroad Blog Sponsor, StudentUniverse . Save more the next time you travel by booking with StudentUniverse!

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