Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad – 2016 Capacity Building Grant Winners

USA Study Abroad, within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Global Educational Programs, funds the Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. The Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad is designed to expand and diversify American student mobility in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. It is imperative that the next generation of leaders – American students of all backgrounds – engage internationally to foster mutual understanding and develop critical skills in support of U.S. national security and economic competitiveness. The program expands the institutional capacity of U.S. higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase and/or diversify U.S. student mobility abroad and achieves this through two main components: a small grants competition awarding up to $35,000 to accredited U.S. HEIs to create, expand, and/or diversify their U.S. study abroad programs and a series of study abroad capacity building activities, both virtual and in-person, to expand capacity in the wider U.S. study abroad community.

The following U.S. higher education institutions were awarded funds in 2016 to create, expand, and/or diversify study abroad on their campuses:

Recipient: Davidson County Community College, Thomasville, NC

Proposed DestinationGuatemala

Project Title: “Building Capacity at DCCC: Study Abroad in Guatemala”

Objective: Increases participation of students in diverse disciplines in a non-traditional location.

Davidson County Community College (DCCC) and their study abroad consortium partners, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and Central Piedmont Community College, propose a two-week service learning program in Guatemala. Students in nursing, business and early childhood education are encouraged to apply. DCCC plans to establish in-country partnerships with organizations related to health care, small business development, and early childhood education in order to create multiple options for service learning programs. The proposed program will be open to any North Carolina community college, and DCCC envisions a minimum of 15 students to participate in the first year of implementation.


Recipient: Highline College, Des Moines, WA

Proposed Destination: China

Project Title: “Expanding Capacity & Creating Study Abroad Opportunities for Underrepresented Students: A Community College Approach”

Objective: Increase participation of underrepresented students.

Highline College, jointly with Tacoma Community College (TCC), will partner with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to develop an immersive short-term study abroad program to China.  Currently, neither college has an active study abroad program.  Highline will offer cultural and business excursions to underrepresented immigrants, refugees and students of color from both participating colleges. Students can expect to gain global connections and international perspectives not otherwise available to them.


Recipient: Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Proposed Destination: China

Project Title: “Self-Sustainable Study Abroad Program for U.S. Engineering Students”

Objective:  Increase study abroad opportunities for STEM students

Iowa State University will partner with Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU) in China to create a self-sustained engineering specific study abroad program. In its implementation stage, this program will provide 20-25 first-year engineering students an immersive look at Chinese language and culture during a semester. Students will stay with host families and have the opportunity to experience life as a local while taking two engineering courses at XJTU.


Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi

Proposed Destinations: Brazil, Spain, South Africa and France

Project Title: “JSU Passport to the World”

Objective: Increase participation by underrepresented students in study abroad programming.

Jackson State University (JSU) proposes to strengthen its existing “Passport to the World” study abroad program. This existing program is a four-week, faculty-led international experience with organized cultural, research, and experiential learning activities for students in one of six countries. Through this grant, JSU will focus on outreach to all students, specifically African-American and male students in all academic disciplines to study in one of four countries. JSU is currently partnered with Council on International Educational Exchange to support its program. This historically black university hopes to improve students’ foreign language skills, international career options, and cultural awareness.

The goal of this project is to increase African American and male student participation to 84 participants in 4-7 countries by 2017. This goal supports the mission of the U.S. Study Abroad Branch because it will increase the diverse student population to participate in study abroad.


Lincoln University, Philadelphia, PA

Proposed Destinations: Trinidad & Tobago, Anguilla

Project Title: “Broadening Study Abroad Participation in STEM Fields”

Objective: To increase study abroad participation among underrepresented students in underrepresented disciplines.

Lincoln University, a historically black university, proposes a program to integrate underrepresented, under-prepared, minority students studying STEM majors to participate in international research centers in the Caribbean. Lincoln, with the support of the Greater Philadelphia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, will work with partners in Trinidad & Tobago and Anguilla to offer students a short term travel experience where they can apply scientific methodologies to global issues. Through this program, students will gain tools they need to meet the market demand for culturally competent and savvy engineers.

The goal of this project is to provide Lincoln University students an opportunity to gain global knowledge and scientific methodology skills through a study abroad opportunity. This goal supports the mission of the U.S. Study Abroad Branch because it expands opportunities for minority students to study in non-traditional destinations.


Middlesex Community College, Bedford, Massachusetts

Proposed Destination: Morocco

Project Title: “The Morocco Experience: International Business Fellowship”

Objective: Increase study abroad in underrepresented destinations.

Middlesex Community College (MCC) proposes to establish its first study abroad program in Africa. MCC is an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution and will partner with Ecole Normale Supériere de l'Enseignment Technique of Rabat in Morocco with a mission to expand students’ entrepreneurial and enterprise development so they can launch and operate their own businesses. The immersive experience highlights the impact global economies have on the micro and macro level, encouraging students to think globally while acting locally.


Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky

Proposed Destinations: Finland, Germany, South Korea

Title: “Education Abroad Fellows”

Objective: Enhance and diversify course offerings in study abroad programs.

Murray State University (MSU) proposes to create the “Education Abroad Fellows” which will allow selected faculty fellows to match their current STEM courses with partner institutions courses in order to create faculty-led programs. Currently, MSU has partnerships with institutions in Finland, Germany and South Korea and is seeking to strengthen these partnerships by creating upper level courses in biology, chemistry, engineering, geosciences and telecommunications systems management so students can complete graduation requirements while abroad. The programs will feature internship, research and service learning components in addition to immersive language opportunities.


Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay, WI

Proposed Destinations: Belize, China

Project Title: “NWTC Study Abroad Capacity Building Program”

Objective: To provide underrepresented students in health and technology the opportunity to gain global experience.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College proposes to work with its partners, Corozal Junior College in Belize and Leshan Normal University in China, to expand study abroad participation of male, Latino, African American, and Native American students in health, sustainability, and information technology majors. The short-term programs will teach students to be global problem solvers and gain exposure to international perspectives essential to future professions. Students going to Belize may study health sciences and sustainable agriculture/energy while students going to China will focus on information technology.


Pitzer College, Claremont, CA

Proposed Destinations: Vietnam, Brazil

Project Title: “The Global/Local Portuguese & Vietnamese Project and the Integrative, Community-Engaged LCTL Learning Program”

Objective: Create summer study abroad programs in Salvador, Brazil & Hue, Vietnam by fostering strong international partnerships.

Pitzer College proposes two language and cultural summer programs to unrepresented regions of Vietnam and Brazil. The six-week summer program will combine distance-learning and in-house instruction for students to receive intensive language in Portuguese and Vietnamese, and experience cultural immersion. Pitzer will target participation from first-generation, African American, Asian American and non-traditional aged students. The program will expand research opportunities and build students’ empathy for host culture perspectives through a community based learning approach.


Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN

Proposed Destinations: Japan, Hong Kong, China

Project Title: “Diversifying and Scaling Purdue Engineering Study Abroad in East Asia”

Objective: Engage ROTC, women, and minority students in engineering by offering innovative courses abroad.

Purdue University has created partnerships with Osaka University in Japan, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China to expand their study abroad offerings to East Asia. East Asia is one of the largest trade regions for the United States and is therefore an important market for students to gain exposure and practical experience. The proposed program seeks to diversify the participation of STEM students going abroad by specifically targeting ROTC, women, and minority students on campus. Students who participate will have the opportunity to study renowned programs such as Robotics in Japan and join the ranks of successful Purdue alumni industry leaders in China.


Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV

Proposed Destinations: Mexico, Japan, Cuba

Project Title: “From Bare-Bones to Best Practice”

Shepherd University seeks to establish its first full-time study abroad office and create partnerships with Anahuac University in Mexico, Osaka University of Commerce in Japan, and University of Havana in Cuba. In the implementation stage of the program, Shepherd envisions sending approximately 10 first-generation/low income students in any discipline, offering music and theater courses in Cuba, liberal arts courses in Mexico, and business courses in Osaka. 


St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, Missouri

Proposed Destinations: China, South Korea, India

Project Title: “Proposal to Increase Pharmacy Student Involvement in Study Abroad Programs”

St. Louis College of Pharmacy seeks to expand geographic diversity of study abroad opportunities by partnering with Peking Union Medical College Hospital in China, Chung-Ang University in South Korea, and Goa College of Pharmacy in India. This proposed program will enable rural, male students in the pharmacy profession to learn, experience, and compare two different medical systems. Some features include local hospital visits and internship opportunities, which will allow the future healthcare professionals to gain cultural competency in the highly diverse field of pharmacy.


State University of New York (SUNY) Cobleskill, NY

Proposed Destination: Mexico

Project Title: “Collaborative Online International Learning and Study Abroad Graphic Design (and Agricultural Business) in Mexico”

State University of New York (SUNY) at Cobleskill proposes to create an innovative program with its partners at Universidad La Salle, Mexico using the collaborative learning opportunities platform to provide graphic design and agriculture business courses. This blended in-person and online program will provide students majoring in graphic design or agriculture business an opportunity to work in designing products and marketing materials for area farms. This project will culminate in a two-week cultural excursion and academic program in Mexico where they can see their impact firsthand.


University of North Texas, Denton, TX

Proposed Destinations: China, Ireland

Project Title: “Eagles Abroad: A Flight Path for Expanding Study Abroad Access”

Objective: To create and maintain strong partnerships with institutions in China and Ireland an engage African-American males and students in diverse science majors.

The University of North Texas proposes the Eagles Abroad Initiative – a hybrid study abroad model that combines faculty-led and direct enrollment program in the fields of kinesiology, biology, business and psychology.  Eagles Abroad will promote to underrepresented students, specifically African American males, and provide the option to study kinesiology and biology at East China Normal University or business and psychology at Maynooth University in Ireland. Eagles Abroad aims to equip students with professional skills, such as self-reliance, adaptability, confidence and intercultural communication.


University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Proposed Destinations: Hong Kong, Ghana, China, India, Cuba, Netherlands

“Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) International Field Placement Program”

Project Title: “Expanding International Field Placements”

Objective: Expand study abroad opportunities to social work students, a traditionally underrepresented discipline in study abroad.

The University of Pittsburgh will provide students pursuing a BASW an opportunity to take upper division courses with a study abroad component. The university’s International Field Placement will explore field placement agreements with institutions in Ghana, Hong Kong, China, India, Cuba and the Netherlands and will establish agreements with at least three of these countries. Junior and senior students will have the opportunity to gain skills of cross cultural competence and self-awareness of personal biases in preparation for working in the diverse field of healthcare and social services.


Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Proposed Destinations: South, East or West Africa

Project Title: “The Study Abroad Expansion Project”

Objective: Expand the institution’s study abroad offerings to a new geographical region in STEM fields.

Virginia Polytechnic and State University proposes to establish a STEM exchange program with institutions in South, East or West Africa. The curriculum mapping program will allow the institution to explore and create partnerships with University of Ghana, University of Cape Coast, University of Zambia, University of Dar Es Salaam, or University of the Free State, and to expand its study abroad offerings to students of color. Students will participate in STEM projects, hands-on agriculture, research, and teaching elementary schools. The program aims to create a more inclusive environment for economically underrepresented students to access key cultural exchanges.


Windward Community College, Honolulu, HI

Proposed Destinations: United Kingdom, New Zealand  

Project Title: “Foothold Abroad Initiative”

Objective: Establish its own study abroad program and create and maintain strong international partnerships in the UK and New Zealand

Windward seeks to launch its own study abroad program – Foothold Abroad Initiative  – by partnering with the University of Essex in the UK, and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in New Zealand to create two new short-term programs designed specifically for Windward students in any discipline. This dually-designated Asian American Native Americans/Pacific Islander Serving Institution and Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Serving Institution will target its economically disadvantaged student population living near resorts of Waikiki and Honolulu, and intends to have approximately 40 students participate in the first year.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

Proposed Destinations: Panama, Ecuador, Costa Rica

Project Title: “Expanding Opportunities for Project-Based Learning in Latin America”

Objective: Provide junior and senior STEM students the opportunity to study in the three non-traditional regions of Latin America

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and their partners propose a program for junior and senior students in biology, biotechnology, fire protection engineering, environmental and sustainability studies seeking to complete the institution’s required “Interactive Qualifying Project” and “Major Qualifying Project”. These projects are team-based and carried out in cooperation with external partners over the course of seven weeks. Most of these project centers are in the U.S. and Europe. Through this grant, WPI will strengthen partnerships in three Latin America countries, in order to expand students’ opportunities to experience the rich tropical biomes and species diversity of Panama, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.