August 2018 | Volume 5 | Issue 1
A message from the forum board chair Enda Carroll, Associate Director, UCD International
reetings from University College Dublin, Ireland. For those of you I have not met yet, my name is Enda Carroll and I am beginning my role as the Board’s 5th chair since The Forum’s founding in 2001. I am proud to be the first chair to be based at a member institution outside the USA, and am looking forward to leading the Board in the important mission of guiding The Forum to serve as the collective voice for education abroad. In the initial months of my term, a major priority for the Board will be to identify and appoint a new CEO and President for the organization. This appointment will be made in the context of the Board maintaining momentum on addressing critical issues for The Forum, among them, diversity and inclusion, membership and governance. As I step into the role of chair, we are fortunate that The Forum is a strong organization with healthy finances, a clear mission and a Strategic Plan in place until 2021. The Forum’s Board and Council will continue to review and refine the implementation plan of this live roadmap into the future. The Forum is an organization in transition. Following a decade of Brian Whalen’s strong and impactful leadership, the organization is currently under the excellent direction of interim Executive Director Jon Booth. Jon, along with the Forum staff, continues to sustain all programs and services and to keep the strategic goals on track while the Board is deep in the process of the search for a new CEO. The Board is also in a period of renewal as I transition into the role of chair, and Susan Popko (Santa Clara University), Kerry Edmonds (Hollins University) and John Lucas (ISEP) join the executive committee in Board leadership roles. In addition, the size of the Board has been increased to fourteen to broaden its areas of expertise and representation. We have put structures in place to manage these changes and the new role of PastChair will help us maintain continuity and stability. I am confident that the transitions in the Board will be as seamless as other leadership adjust∙2∙
ments have been this year. I am keen to take up the baton and keep driving forward on the themes that were to the fore in the last chair, Mary Anne Grant’s term, including transparency, open communication and dialogue with Board, Council, Staff and you, the members. The membership of The Forum is loyal and growing. Retention rates remain extremely strong with 93% renewing their membership annually. The organization continues to attract new members on an ongoing basis. The Forum has over 800 members and on the current trajectory, our membership should continue to grow to over 1000 in the coming years. In parallel with growing membership, the time is opportune for The Forum to examine the profile of its member base “Coming from an international and through impactful outreach efforts, institution, during my term as encourage membership from unchair, I will seek to identify derrepresented institutions and entiand spearhead opportunities ties. In the USA, these institutions infor The Forum to attract more clude Historically Black Colleges and membership and engagement Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving from around the world.” Institutions (MSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Community Colleges where the benefits, services and resources of The Forum could serve to increase the number and diversity of students studying abroad, as well as the quality of their experience. Coming from an international institution, during my term as chair, I will seek to identify and spearhead opportunities for The Forum to attract more membership and engagement from around the world. At our July meeting the Board set up a working group to examine current and new categories of membership and ways to reach out to underrepresented areas to address these issues. It goes without saying that in tandem with further diversifying membership, The Forum recognizes the need to tailor and adapt its services and offerings to make them more relevant to broader audiences within the field. The organization is committed to responding to the needs of all its membership and to deliver opportunities for more inclusive dialogue, along with practical resources and services that are useful to assist us all in our important work.
In addition to these efforts and in line with the strategic plan, The Forum will continue to actively seek to collaborate with other international education organizations where synergies exist and it advances our collective missions. My hope is that coming from an international host institution with two decades of experience working in partnership with American universities and receiving study abroad students, I can bring a fresh, outside-in perspective to the Board and the organization as we step into this exciting future. I am very fortunate to lead the Board into this new era for The Forum when we will have a new CEO and President in the next few months. I am also looking forward to meeting many of you face-to-face at the upcoming European Conference in Prague October 17-19, 2018, and the Annual Conference in Denver, March 27-29, 2019. Finally, I would like to remind you that The Forum is a membership organization. That means we, the members from the U.S. and around the world engaged in education abroad, are The Forum. This is your organization. I would encourage you to become involved in The Forum’s work, invite you to provide feedback and step up to tell Board, Council, and Staff about the changes you would like to see in your Forum on Education Abroad. It is only through your active engagement that The Forum can be true to its mandate to be the collective voice of the field of Education Abroad.
Forum Working Group on Inclusive Excellence: Challenges, but also Commitment
Joy Gleason Carew, Professor of Pan-African Studies; Former Associate Director of the International Center, University of Louisville; Member, Forum Board of Directors
hen Working Groups set out to address tasks, the members approach their respective roles with earnest energy. But once the Working Groups get deep in the weeds of the assigned tasks, they often find the tasks much larger and more complex than they had imagined. So, as it turns out, did the work of The Forum’s Working Group on Inclusive Excellence. I had worked on the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad for The Forum in its early years and was aware of the immense amount of attention that earlier groups had given to shaping them. With each subsequent edition, teams endeavored to address freshlyperceived needs, so that the Standards could be applicable in ever larger contexts. In essence, a quest to make the Standards more ‘inclusive.’ In 2016, another group was tasked with applying yet other criteria to the Standards: Inclusive Excellence (IE). The concept of “Inclusive Excellence” is not new, an early discussion appeared in a 2005 AAC&U article, “Toward a Model of Inclusive Excellence and Change in Post-Secondary Education” (Williams, Berger, and McClendon). But, by 2017, a significant number of universities and colleges had begun to seriously explore these principles for their institutions. These ranged from small liberal arts colleges to major research institutions, many of whom were also Forum members. In essence, Inclusive Excellence tied the values of diversity and inclusion into an institution’s quest for and measurements of educational success. In recent years, too, The Forum on Education Abroad, in its capacity as a Standards Development Organization (SDO), sought to identify ways to apply the IE principles and practices to its Standards and practices for education abroad. Dr. Alma ClaytonPeterson of the Association of American Colleges and Universities served as a consultant to The Forum’s Inclusive Excellence Working Group, and helped guide our work. As she observed in 2017, “Applying such practices to study abroad programs works towards making excellence inclusive by ∙5∙
helping all students to engage more intentionally in the learning, and gain the most from their experience.” (https://issuu.com/ forumoneducationabroad/docs/forum_focus_-_may_2017_final) The task was not simply to include a more diverse group in education abroad, but also to tease out the many repercussions of setting this goal— to look through the Standards and identify where adjustment, elaboration, or revision was needed. Yet, even the question of recognizing what ‘more diverse’ means proved to be quite cumbersome. According to Dr. ClaytonPeterson in defining the underrepresented populations, “the population of ... study aboard is overwhelmingly Caucasian women ... underrepresented groups “Would institutions be are more than racial/ethnic populations, willing and able to rise but also people from low-income backto these many grounds, people from the LBGTQ comStandards?” munity, and men.” As one of those wrestling with this commented, the concern was that as more and more people were climbing into the boat, surely it would sink under this unreasonable weight (or from these unreasonable expectations). A May 2018 article in the Forum Focus, “International Education 2020: Do We Need a Bigger Boat, a Different Boat, or Something Else?” (A. Rubin) raises some of these questions. The Rubin article is not about diversity per se, but points to the previous and new multilevel relationships and expectations undergirding education abroad that may also need some fresh consideration. Similar concerns were heard earlier. As the Standards and queries were being adjusted or added to with each of the first four editions, they got longer and more complex. Ultimately, we came to realize that rather than engaging institutions, these materials were in danger of alienating them. Would institutions be willing and able to rise to these many Standards? Thus, as the members saw, the Standards were again streamlined so that now, they are back to a more manageable size in their 2015 (5th) edition. As this Forum Working Group set about reviewing the Standards, certain terms and phrases began to appear: equitable educational learning, needs of a broadly diverse range of stakeholders, disaggregate the data, encourage implicit bias training, incentivize faculty and staff, reciprocal learning opportunities. Because The Forum’s Working Group members ∙6∙
were now more focused on including diverse perspectives, they also started to reflect on the value of reciprocity in the international context— learning happens on many levels and travels in multiple directions. The latter phrase, ‘reciprocal learning opportunities,’ is particularly interesting as it points to a recognition that students can learn from each other in the international context. Diversifying the student group can enrich the overall experience. I saw this with my first student group that I took to the USSR in the early 1970s. Both my Black and Hispanic students from a Chicago community college, joining up with a group of white students from a small liberal arts college in downstate Illinois—who would never have commonly come into contact with each other—learned invaluable lessons about Russian and American cultures. In the debriefing later, both groups admitted to having had great apprehension about the other—almost more strongly than to meeting Russians and traveling thousands of miles from home. For our Russian hosts, too, meeting my inner-city students broadened their appreciation of the diversity of American culture and “We do not expect students to read its people. without teaching them the alphabet, With reciprocity, too, there and we cannot expect students to was increasing concern of setting be global citizens without teaching standards and expectations that them intercultural competence. We are too American culturemust think of intercultural centered. Questions of diversity competence not as a secondary and inclusion are complex within a U.S. setting; in the international learning outcome, or a byproduct, context, they can be even more but as the foundation for any global challenging. Customs, norms, and education.” laws in other countries may clash with U.S. norms. Not surprisingly, while attention was given to all Standards, Student Learning and Development (Standard 2), Academic Framework (Standard 3), Student Selection, Preparation, and Advising (Standard 4), and Policies and Procedures (Standard 6) drew the most attention. There was also a tension between the notion of integrating IE principles and practices into the original 9 Standards, or of developing a new, 10th Standard for Inclusive Excellence. Many contended that by integrating them, institutions would less likely ignore them. A free-standing 10th Standard might otherwise be ignored, or people might not recognize the kinds of adjustments needed. In the example of Student Conduct (Standard 5), discussion ∙7∙
pointed to problems of implicit biases affecting decisions around conduct and suggested that the institution(s) may need input from a wider, more diverse body of people who could recognize diverse manifestations of a student’s background and experience. There is no question of The Forum on Education Abroad’s commitment to the principles and practices of Inclusive Excellence (diversity, intentional inclusion, equity and opportunity, and intentional equitymindedness). And, we strongly encourage our membership to draw from our example when reviewing their education aboard efforts. As we state on our website, “The ultimate goal of the Standards is to improve practices in education abroad, so that our students’ international educational experiences are as rich and meaningful as possible.” Since 2004, our organization has grown considerably from the original 150 members to over 800, an increase of over 400%, and our popular annual conferences have grown eightfold. As we have grown, so have our resources, programs and other benefits. With The Forum’s Working Group’s efforts, and in keeping with our updated Strategic Plan (2017-2021), we are elaborating on this goal by making sure we embrace the needs and contributions of a more diverse range of stakeholders.
Editorial note: The Forum is now accepting applications to participate in a new Standards Update Working Group. This new group will build on the efforts of the Inclusive Excellence Working Group, and will address other current areas of concern to the field, with the goal of publishing the 6th edition of the Standards in 2020. ∙8∙
RESIDENT DIRECTOR ABROAD: MISPERCEPTIONS, CHALLENGES, & THE IMPORTANCE OF Support systems on-site Pia K.Schneider, Resident Director, College of Design Rome Program, Iowa State University
close American friend was recently teasing me about my title: "Why Resident Director, why not just director or chair?"
"Because we reside in foreign territories, manage programs onsite and we fight in the trenches when emergencies occur," I quipped. He thinks I have a dream job and that I'm fortunate to live in Italy, the country of the dolce vita and effortless, easy lifestyle! It is true, I feel privileged and love my job, but I have long argued, in vain, that the day-to-day reality of bad public services, frequent strikes, the complex labor and fiscal legislation, all make even apparently simple tasks of administration very time consuming, not to say exasperating. If, for instance, we need cash from the bank before a field trip, I must send a fax two days in advance, otherwise the bank may not have enough funds available. One must allow for computer systems being down or the bank employers off their desk for an entire morning attending a union assembly. My friend's comment made me reflect on some of the difficulties or misperceptions of our job as Resident Director (RD) and the patience we need when facing local Italian bureaucracy. In Italy, constant amendments of legislation are the norm and may oblige the RD to spend weeks producing an extensive list of documents required for faculty work permits or to revise the safety evaluations document (over 500 pages long). Even though I had worked in Study Abroad (SA) for many years before my appointment, looking back, it took me over a year to understand the legal and administrative risks the RD’s role carries with it. Fortunately, I managed to navigate the program safely; mainly thanks to the advice of AACUPI, the Association of American Colleges and University Programs in Italy.
The program I direct, one of the 150 programs associated with ∙9∙
AACUPI, is located in Rome, operates year-round and reflects in size (approx. 200 students per year) and age (27 years) an average Italian SA program. I have been teaching in SA programs for 18 years and have attended the AACUPI's quarterly RD meetings for the past 11 years.
“Even though I had worked in Study Abroad for many years before my appointment, looking back, it took me over a year to understand the legal and administrative risks the RD’s role carries with it.”
Like my colleagues, I'm motivated to help our students in their intellectual and personal growth and hope to train their cultural competency for future professional practice. I love to engage the young scholars in international collaboration, undertaking creative initiatives with European partners by organizing design workshops each semester and participating at the Biennale Sessions in order to give students a rich and challenging set of learning experiences. Engaging in collaborations and ambitious projects requires a lot of dedication and support. Luckily I could rely on my College and my Dean and we shared a vision on how to build the program. However, communication is not always easy across the Atlantic and an RD may have a hard time explaining complicated fiscal Italian legislation, discussing differences between U.S. and local laws, and will generally not get much empathy for the nerve-racking application procedures one must go through at the immigration offices. In the effort to make the program flourish, an RD often wears many more hats than the job description states: instructor, faculty & staff super-
visor, accountant, housing manager, student mentor, travel advisor, cultural liaison, host, emergency contact 24/7, etc. Indeed our responsibility statement underlines this completeness: “to
oversee all administrative, legal and fiscal aspects of the collegiate program, include representation of the program with all local institutional authorities and not least the RD has to provide assistance to the resident collegiate faculty, students, and departmental programmatic offerings.” Expectations of assistance for students abroad are very different from
those on the home campus. Language barriers and inexperience in navigating the host country make for never-ending questions “Which bar, bakery, restaurant, hairdresser, gym, or hotel can you recommend, possibly also in Naples, Florence and Venice?” Willingness to answer any kind of question is required, not only to students and faculty but to visiting family members, lest the RD be judged as rude or hostile. RDs are typically on emergency call 24/7 year-round and in the long run, this is emotionally draining. Every term, I spend hours listening to students who suffer increasingly from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. We RDs want to be there if students need us and are prepared to stay awake long nights in hospitals if they get injured, ill, drunk, lost, or drugged, if they get into a fight, hit by a car, are sexually harassed, or in any other trouble. We want to be there because the students are outside of their familiar social and safety network. We are their mentors and reference point abroad and they need to be able to rely on us. This responsibility cannot be delegated, no mat“ For the RD’s own ter what. It rests on the RD's shoulders. emotional health, Over the years, you get better at handling though, it is emergencies, you stay calmer when they important to delegate occur, but I have experienced that emersome of the gency situations by nature present themresponsibility.” selves in always different, unpredictable ways sidestepping all the safety protocols you have in place. For the RD’s own emotional health, though, it is important to delegate some of the responsibility. Sleep, as well as physical and mental strength need to be safeguarded in order to help others. A valid strategy to deal with emergencies means building a network of physicians, counselors, and psychiatrists, ready to be on call at all hours. By Italian law, the program must have a labor doctor who checks regularly on the health of the employees, but ultimately that doesn't lighten the RD's liability as an employer: the sole person to be held legally accountable for the wellbeing and safety of staff, faculty, and students.
The RD has to comply with strict national safety laws, like the DL ∙11∙
81/08, which requires the production of voluminous risk evaluation documents (DVR) calling for a series of mandatory orientations, emergency protocols, safety training, evacuation drills, first aid/firefighting courses for staff as well as the drafting of protocols, handouts, waivers, consents etc. I have experienced that an RD has an overwhelming legal responsibility for all their students, faculty, local collaborators, and staff—of which the home campus has little knowledge about. It is thus wise to hire local consultants for safety, labor, accounting, and legal matters, not only to lighten the workload but to allow for some relief from the legal, fiscal, and contractual liabilities. RDs run mini-campuses and need problem-solving skills in a multitude of areas. Besides taking care of the logistics, we replace sick colleagues, assemble Ikea furniture, change linens, repair a sink or, to quote my colleague from the Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI): “I could be changing light bulbs in the morning before meeting the Minister for Education for lunch.” The RD’s job can be challenging and emotionally stressful at times and when pressure is high, an RD needs help on-site, especially at the beginning. I was fortunate to have a local network of experienced peers who taught me best practices and the tricks of the job. Being able to chat over lunch to a RD friend relieves tension, and knowing there is a savvy association on the ground which offers training sessions, legal advice and monthly informative newsletters is what makes all the difference to an RD "in the trenches." In an effort to facilitate student mobility, a Europe-wide study abroad platform, EUASA, the European Association of Study Abroad (EUASA) has recently been founded. The objective is to foster an auxiliary network for local administrators and, much like its national counterparts (AACUPI, AAECG, ASAPI, AAUP/CZ, APUAF, AUCS, etc.), encourage collegiality instead of competition.
EUASA will lead a Critical Dialogue at The Forum’s 4th European Conference in Prague, on Tuesday Oct.16th, offering the opportunity to share ideas and find inspiration for best practices. ∙12∙
BROADENING THE CIRCLE OF EDUCATION ABROAD Leo Rowland, Director of Study Abroad, University of Redlands he theme for The Forum’s 15th Annual Conference is Broadening the Circle of Education Abroad. Based on the discussions among members of this year’s Conference Committee, in my view, the title encapsulates the aspirations we have for the conference and, indeed, for The Forum as the seminal body for guiding and accompanying the expanding global community of education abroad.
Before considering the goals for Denver, looking at Europe’s countrylevel study abroad associations provides an instructive model of how voices and institutions in other countries and regions might consider organizing themselves through a well-developed and clear framework that is proving successful in Europe for supporting particular needs of constituents. As in this case, The Forum should play a vital and active role in working with study abroad members and strategic partners in what are still regions under-supported by our field to likewise facilitate the broadening of the circle to these areas to bolster trans-continental education abroad. Among the largest of these groups in terms of membership/affiliation are the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Italy (AACUPI), the Association of American University Programs in Spain (APUNE) and the Association of American Study Abroad Programs UK (AASAP/UK). These 3 associations in aggregate include some 400 members or affiliates that represent universities and educational organizations involved in the circuitry of education abroad through the linkage of study programs in Italy, Spain, and the UK with partner institutions in the United States. Respectively founded in 1968 and 1978, APUNE and AACUPI illustrate that as far back as 50 years ago European based programs recognized a critical in-country need to address germane, local, and national issues regarding their operations including a desire to foster country based training, support networks and advocacy efforts. I highly recommend visiting the websites for these associations, also referenced in Pia Schneider’s article in this issue. In 2015, a further perceived need for consolidation led to the establishment of the European Association of Study Abroad (EUASA), a conglomerate of these European national associations (though not all associations are members) involved primarily in supporting U.S. study abroad ∙13∙
programs operating in Europe. This seems to mark a progressive evolution as EUASA exists to support all continental associations at a pan-European level through providing constituents a European perspective while attempting to influence national governments in such areas as supporting legal, fiscal, and immigration rules, steps that EUASA proposes will help facilitate student mobility throughout Europe and between the U.S., and Europe to benefit study abroad. The European example provides lessons on how our field can be developed and organized on a national and regional basis in consideration of local circumstances. As importantly, it urges us to consider how The Forum can play a primary role in ensuring the qualitative growth of our profession outside of the U.S. while also taking proactive steps to build strong and deep partnerships around the globe as a necessary and bold step in broadening the circle of education abroad. While the field in Europe is intrinsically linked to U.S. institutions, their operations differ as they are roundly dictated by local legal, fiscal, labor, and even political norms as well as distinct educational, cultural, and intellectual traditions and histories. As a result, their requirements, while indelible complements to education abroad institutions in the U.S., are not close to a shadow parallel to education abroad in the U.S. In their autonomy, they bring diversity and distinct roots and vision to what is not a hermetically closed system extending across the Atlantic. The relationship between these national associations, including “The advance of these EUASA, to The Forum on Education Abroad is essential and should be partnerships in Europe are tightened and expanded upon. In my rightly seen as examples of opinion, as the leading organization the Broadening of the with a singular focus on education Circle of Education abroad, The Forum is naturally the intrinsic partner to EUASA and all of the Abroad.“ other Associations. We do, in fact, see evidence of these relationships in various ways. At The Forum’s 4th European Conference to be held in Prague this October, the Critical Dialogue is jointly sponsored by EUASA and The Forum. Additionally, the majority of these European Associations are included in the ranks of Forum Members. ∙14∙
This points to their desire to collaborate in the action and dialogue of The Forum’s work, while carrying out their operations in strict consideration of the Standards of Good Practice – a membership requirement. The advance of these partnerships in Europe are rightly seen as examples of the Broadening of the Circle of Education Abroad. I should stress that I use the European example due to its regional dominance regarding student volume, as Open Doors data informs us, not because of a personal or professional inclination for Europe. While it is my hope that individuals and institutions in Europe will take more active rolls yet in the work of The Forum and eventually help to even re-imagine The Forum’s mission, programs, and standards, this is merely an initial step and not nearly enough.
The majority of my professional experience in international education has been in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I was born and am a citizen. The South American and Caribbean region has remained a steady but distant second as a student destination in comparison to Europe over the past decade – roughly 55% versus 15% of total students. In reviewing The Forum membership roster, I see solid representation from the region but wonder how The Forum can help facilitate a broadening of the circle to this area. It will be a sobering absence if the voices and perspectives of leaders and institutions in the region do not enter the arena and take up shared partnership in guiding forward the field of education abroad, as well as The Forum. I propose The Forum discuss plans to host its 1st Conference in South America in the very near future while beginning to work actively with local partners in the region to bolster trans-continental study abroad. For the time being, we can point to a current Board of Directors member and a Forum Council member from institutions in Mexico and Ecuador as signs of progress.
Turning back to the Denver Conference and to the important task of ∙15∙
seeking ways to broaden the circle, I take heart in our committee’s singling out of the targets for broader representation and inclusion. We’ve made a clarion call to colleagues from low and middle income countries and from the Global South (the Majority World) to join us within the circle. Stateside, we recognize a need for innovation and stridency to knock down walls and build pathways so to include partners from community colleges, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These institutional sectors are essential components of the U.S. higher education landscape and necessary contributors in the upward arching promise and future of education abroad. Ours is a field that continues to grow in size, complexity and diversity, and shoulder to shoulder we need to all work together – on Forum Boards, Councils, and working groups and in the wider field at large.
Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of The Forum on Education Abroad. The Forum encourages responses to the perspectives in this issue. Reflections, topic suggestions and other correspondence are welcomed, and all contributions will be considered for future publication. Please send correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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