U.S. Institutions of Higher Education Win Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad Grants

USA Study Abroad, within the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is pleased to announce the grant recipients of its 2019 Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad small grants competition. The program 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 22 U.S. higher education institutions were awarded funds in 2019 to create, expand, and/or diversify study abroad on their campuses. For summaries of grant projects from previous years, visit https://studyabroad.state.gov/domestic-capacity-building-initiatives.

Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska
Program Title: Study Abroad in the Circumpolar North
Destinations: Sweden and Finland
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management; Infrastructure (including engineering and urban planning); Public health
Description: The goal of the “Study Abroad in the Circumpolar North” project is to increase and diversify undergraduate student participation in international education activities in the Circumpolar North, specifically Sweden and Finland. Faculty and staff development, collaboration with international partners, and consultation with Indigenous Elders will prepare faculty at APU to develop a new, multidisciplinary study-away program that is relevant to Alaska Native students and students in academic programs of critical importance to Alaska, such as Public Health.

Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Destination: Kenya
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management
Description: Augustana University plans to create a new position to research university needs and facilitate the creation of study abroad programs targeting underserved groups to less traveled locations. The first course to be developed will be in partnership with Augustana biology and education faculty and Mudhiero Secondary School, in Siaya District Western Kenya.   

Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, North Carolina
Program Title: South Africa 2020: Transformative Learning through Community Engagement
Destination: South Africa
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Entrepreneurship and innovation; Democracy & human rights (including refugees and trafficking in persons); Public health
Description: CPCC in partnership with Davidson County Community College (DCCC) aims to develop a two-week, faculty-led study abroad program to Cape Town, South Africa. The activities will include creating a study abroad marketing plan, hosting a series of study abroad workshops and cultural events on South Africa, developing curriculum for Humanities courses, and conducting a site visit to evaluate and confirm local partners in South Africa. This study abroad program also have a special emphasis on minority males and students enrolled in business, nursing, and zoo programs.

Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Program Title: Experiencing Postsecondary Learning Overseas through Relevant Education (EXPLORE)
Destination: Belize
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Closing the skills gap (including manufacturing, high-tech sectors, human resources, business, management, education)
Description: The EXPLORE project’s goal is to expand CVTC’s capacity to offer study abroad opportunities to students in two-year occupational programs. The plan will incorporate activities to increase the institution’s capacity to administer study abroad programs through a combination of professional development and networking, exploration of study abroad prospects in relevant geographic regions, and faculty-led development of study abroad experiences within occupational programs.

Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Description: Dillard University aims to increase and diversify the population of US students studying abroad by creating its first dedicated Study Abroad Program Office (SAP) to engage greater and more diverse student and faculty participation. They will establish a dedicated study abroad program office and hire a dedicated SAP staff member to coordinate and consolidate campus SAP efforts.

Fairleigh Dickinson University
Location: Teaneck, New Jersey
Program Title: Diversifying Study Abroad by Increasing the Participation of STEM Majors
Destinations: Germany, Austria, Costa Rica, Korea
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Cyber issues; Energy and natural resources; Infrastructure; Public health
Description: The objective of this project is to diversify study abroad at FDU by increasing participation of underrepresented STEM students and expanding opportunities for them to study abroad in less frequently visited destinations. FDU will accomplish this by developing four new short-term faculty-led study abroad programs designed to meet the needs of STEM majors. These programs will be developed by teams of STEM faculty from four academic clusters with each incorporating a U.S. foreign policy priority. Each new program will be hosted by an international partner in a country less frequently visited by FDU students.

Frederick Community College, Frederick, Maryland
Program Title: Building Institutional Capacity for Diverse International Trips
Destinations: Africa, Asia, or South America
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Cyber issues (including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, technology); Entrepreneurship and innovation; Public health
Description: While the College has supported study abroad programming over the past decade, just 60 undergraduate students (primarily Liberal Arts majors) have traveled to only three locations abroad: Russia, France, and, more recently, Costa Rica. This project will allow FCC to expand and diversify its current offerings and increase students’ access by providing faculty with the incentive, professional development, and other resources to develop sustainable and accessible study abroad programming in disciplines that are both high-enrollment programs of study at the College and have been identified as U.S. foreign policy goals, including cybersecurity/technology, innovative entrepreneurship, and public health. The College also seeks to diversify its study abroad programming by developing student opportunities to study in global regions of Africa, Asia, or South America, where the College has never sent undergraduate students.

Gallaudet University, Washington, DC
Program Title: An Interactive Guide to Accessible Education Abroad for Deaf, Deafblind, and Hard of Hearing College Students
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Closing the skills gap (including manufacturing, high-tech sectors, human resources, business, management, education)
Description: Gallaudet University will gather and disseminate “best practices” in providing access to college students who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing (d/db/hoh) to increase their participation in study abroad. Providing publicly available resources developed through this project will also strengthen the capacity of colleges and universities nationwide to overcome obstacles that currently hinder these students in making global learning a part of their college experience.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas
Program Title: Expanding Study Abroad Opportunities for Science and Career/Tech Ed Students Focusing on Global Sustainability
Destinations: Canada, Costa Rica, Martinique, and Morocco
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Energy and natural resources; Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management management
Description: Johnson County Community College will develop and launch four new study abroad programs exploring sustainability initiatives across the globe. The project will involve sending seven JCCC faculty members from across disciplines on exploratory trips to Quebec, Canada; San Jose, Costa Rica; Martinique; and Rabat, Morocco. During these exploratory trips, faculty will establish partnerships with sustainable agriculture farmers, government agencies, non-government organizations focusing on renewal resource management, and educational institutions.

Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
Program Title: Establishing a Study Abroad Coordinator Position within The Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine to Bridge International Research Faculty and Teaching Faculty for Study-Abroad Development and Sustainability
Destination: Romania and Kenya
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Entrepreneurship and innovation; Closing the skills gap (including manufacturing, high-tech sectors, human resources, business, management, education); Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management; Women’s empowerment
Description: Mississippi State University will create a Study Abroad Coordinator position within the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM). The aim of this position is to grow student participation in exchange programs, dual degree programs, international partnerships, and faculty-led study abroad. Through the creation of this new targeted position and the development of new and engaging programs, MSU will have the opportunity to grow study abroad in DAFVM colleges to enhance course offerings, institutionalize the study abroad recruitment and enrollment processes, and provide lasting impact to create a trajectory of achieving the goals of having 25% of DAFVM graduates participating in an international experience.

Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois
Program Title: Expanding Institutional Capacity to Deliver More Study Abroad Options to Non-Traditional Students
Destination: Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania
Description: The project will strengthen the Office of International Program’s capacity to inform and engage underrepresented and low-income students about study abroad opportunities and acquire funding for outbound mobility. NIU will also establish institutional partnerships to meet student demand for opportunities aligned with NEIU’s African and African American Studies program (AFAM), and enhance recruiting of African-Americans and first generation college students, who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad.

Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Winchester, Connecticut
Destination: France and Spain
Description: NCCC will develop a study abroad capacity building program that would introduce both students and faculty to the opportunities and benefits of studying abroad and also develop a Study Abroad Coordinator position. This project will also develop Virtual International Experiences (VIEs) for faculty and students which will be course modules that faculty in any discipline can use in their courses. Faculty from Northwestern will be paired with faculty from institutions in France and Spain. Together they will use interactive lessons that students from both countries can participate in both formally and informally to learn about each other’s culture.

Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
Program Title: The Global Scholars Program
Destinations: Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, or Spain
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Public health; Women’s empowerment
Description: The Global Scholars Program, an emerging effort to internationalize the undergraduate curriculum and to expand and diversify study abroad for undergraduate students. The Global Scholars Program will offer students majoring in any discipline a pathway to internationalize their education by completing their core coursework with International and Diverse Perspectives designated courses, participating in study or internships abroad, and culminating in an internationally focused senior capstone. This first phase of the Global Scholars Program will include, the creation of the Global Scholars First Year Seminar (FYS) and coordinate a Global Explorations faculty-led short-term travel course for first-year students.

Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, New Jersey
Program Title: Global Field Experiences
Destinations: Argentina, UAE, Costa Rica, Martinique, India, Italy, Nepal
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Entrepreneurship and innovation; Energy and natural resources; Economic development & trade policy; Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management; Infrastructure (including engineering and urban planning); Public health; Women’s empowerment
Description: Ramapo College will expand their recently created “Global Field Experiences.” These two-credit courses that 7-10 days of travel during Winter or Spring Break in addition to structured assignments and activities before, during, and after the international component to create meaningful learning experiences. Expanding this program will increase the percentage of students who study abroad. First year students have shown a keen interest in international Alternative Spring Breaks and would benefit even more from Global Field Experiences. Students in majors that leave few opportunities to study abroad will also be able to take advantage. Of particular interest are students for whom longer study abroad options are cost prohibitive. Ramapo College hopes to encourage all such students to take part in a Global Field Experience with the expectation that this will give them the opportunity to enhance their curriculum with a global experience encourage them to participate in a longer-term study abroad program during their college career.

Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas
Program Title: Lobos sin Fronteras
Description: Less than 0.1% of the undergraduate students at Sul Ross State University study abroad each year. To increase the number of students, particularly Hispanic students, who study abroad, Sul Ross will create an affordable, faculty-led study abroad program within the core curriculum. Sul Ross will work towards establishing core curriculum courses that embed a study abroad component, international study sites to host study abroad programs, and workshops for faculty and students that show the benefits of study abroad.

Temple College, Temple, Texas
Program Title: Guatemala Spanish Study Abroad
Destination: Guatemala
Description: Temple College has taken groups of students on one-time international trips with fine arts faculty and science faculty; however, this project will help to establish a biennial study abroad program for Spanish students to travel to Guatemala, earn credit in Intermediate Spanish, participate in volunteer opportunities, and spend a month abroad. Minority students, which are the majority of the Spanish language students, are part of our target student population for our study abroad program.

The Carolina Cluster (Benedict College, Claflin University, and Voorhees College)
Location: Columbia, Orangeburg, and Denmark, South Carolina
Program Title: The Carolina Cluster’s Cultural and Career Pathways International Study Initiative
Destination: Sub-Saharan Africa
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Closing the skills gap (including manufacturing, high-tech sectors, human resources, business, management, education)
Description: The Cultural and Career Pathways International Study Initiative’s goal is to increase the student population’s cultural intelligence and marketability in the international economy by providing them with increased international experiences that are integrated into their curricula. In an effort to internationalize Cluster Member institutions, this initiative initially focuses on strengthening Cluster Members’ study abroad offices, increasing international partnerships, and providing professional development to increase faculty study abroad engagement.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, Tennessee
Program Title: Feed the 9.7 Billion: Preparing US Students to Meet the Greatest Global Challenge
Destination: Argentina
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Economic development & trade policy; Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management
Description: A new faculty-led course focused on food security in Argentina for students in underrepresented majors will be developed, partnering with several Argentine higher education institutions and governmental and non-governmental agricultural organizations abroad. Argentina is a living laboratory in which to teach students using experiential learning techniques to understand global food security, sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, and policy development, focusing on many issues that are also important to Tennessee and the U.S.

Trustees of Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Program Title: Expanding a Study Abroad Program to Africa for Rural Indiana Students to experience different cultures and learn about Public Health Issues in Africa
Destination: Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and Zambia
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Public health
Description: The School of Public Health-Bloomington faculty and IU Bloomington Hutton Honors College (HHC) have started a study abroad program for students to understand the interconnectedness between culture and health on the African continent to see firsthand, how Africans take care of their health and the cultural underpinnings of the methods they use to solve their health problems. While the faculty-led study abroad program is currently to Ghana, the grant will allow IU to train more faculty to expand the faculty led program to four more African countries and give more students an opportunity to fulfill their academic and personal dreams of learning firsthand about health in African countries.

University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Program Title: Study Abroad Academic Advisors Fellows (SAAF) Program
Destination: Africa, Asia, and Latin America
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Democracy & human rights (including refugees and trafficking in persons); Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management
Description: While UA has experienced tremendous growth in overall student mobility in recent years, still 72% of students chose to study in Europe and most programs focus on language, culture, and international relations. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in partnership with the Capstone International Center (CIC) and Colleges throughout the UA campus is pursuing efforts to diversify study abroad opportunities particularly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Study Abroad Academic Advisors Fellows program will focus on building the awareness, knowledge, and understanding of academic advisors regarding study abroad programs. The project’s goal is to train advisors to better guide students with a special emphasis on those historically underrepresented in study abroad programs, including first generation students, African American students, and Hispanic students.

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Program Title: Global Changemakers: Approaching Social Innovation at Home and Abroad
Destinations: Chile and Spain
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Entrepreneurship and innovation; Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management
Description: This pilot project, focused on the foreign policy goal of food security, will increase and diversify undergraduate study abroad allowing students to study food security issues in Northwest Arkansas and the Catalonia region of Spain. Undergraduates in the fields of Agricultural Economics, Business Management, Engineering, and International Studies will participate in project-based learning with 16 local community partners in Arkansas and in Spain. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a program model that can serve as a platform to expand the faculty and community partner networks related to food security and for approaching additional global issues the University of Arkansas has identified as priority areas for the state, including healthcare access, job skill development, sustainable housing, and public transportation.

University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Program Title: Georgia Global Pathway Program
Foreign Policy Goal(s) Addressed: Entrepreneurship and innovation; Energy and natural resources; Food security/sustainable agriculture/natural resource management
Description: UGA will create the Georgia Global Pathway Program (GGPP). As research suggests that, in order to impact the study abroad decision process particularly among underrepresented student groups, early engagement in a manner responsive to diverse students is important. By working through college access programs within secondary schools as well as discipline-specific pathway programs at UGA, the GGPP will represent a cost-effective and efficient path to impact, increase, and diversify undergraduate study abroad participation among rising college freshmen by providing early information to diverse students and their families. Strategic partnerships will launch in the school districts of multiple counties with key feeder schools for both UGA and the University System of Georgia, providing this early access to students admitted to UGA and other University System of Georgia institutions. GGPP will develop reusable modules for admitted-students to be delivered as part of existing access programs within partner school districts, training of educators in those districts, a cross-cultural mentorship program for admitted freshmen, and support for cross-cultural learning and study abroad information within UGA’s own college pathway programs in the foreign policy strategic areas of business (entrepreneurship) and agriculture (food security).