It’s Been a Great Year for the Diversity Abroad Community: Reflections on 2016
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Posted by: Erica Ledesma
2016 was an exciting year for the Diversity Abroad Network and we are taking a moment, while 2017 is still in its infancy, to reflect on some of what we accomplished over the last year. We recognize that our capacity to create lasting impact in our field is multiplied through the reach of our professional network consortium, so, as we look back, we want to express our gratitude to our members and partners.
Membership & Partnerships
While Diversity Abroad as an organization found its beginnings in 2006, the Diversity Network was initiated a short time later in 2010. The professional consortium -- consisting of educational institutions, government agencies, for-profit and non-profit organizations -- brought on 65 new institutional members during 2016, bringing the total number above 200. Membership with the Diversity Abroad Network demonstrates dedication to advancing diversity and inclusive good practices that increase access, achieve equitable diversity and foster inclusive excellence in global education. Also noteworthy in 2016 is a new collaboration between Diversity Abroad and the Department of State to create equitable access to global education at U.S. colleges and universities.
Professional Learning & Development
One key aspect of our work at the Diversity Abroad Network is to provide learning and professional development opportunities to assist our colleagues in achieving goals related to diversity & inclusion in global education. To this end, Diversity Abroad offered 3 regional workshops in 2016 (San Francisco, Greece, & Boston) in addition to a number of custom onsite trainings. Designed around core categories of Diversity Abroad's Access, Inclusion, and Diversity (AID) Roadmap for International Education, these workshops include essential knowledge and resources for implementing diversity and inclusive good practices throughout the education abroad process. Regional and custom workshops also provided meaningful networking opportunities for dozens of participants. Also in 2016, Diversity Abroad stepped into the elearning world with our Diversity & Inclusive Advising eLearning course. Since its inception, more than 70 learners have completed the course.
2016 represented a time of significant growth within the Diversity Abroad team. By the end of the year we had added 3 full-time (Manager of Operations, Manager of Learning & Assessment, Community Engagement Coordinator) and 1 part-time (Marketing & Events Assistant) positions for a total of 7 staff members. This additional human resource capacity has and will continue to allow Diversity Abroad to lead the field in our shared efforts to ensure that the next generation of students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds are prepared to take on the global challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
Moving the Conversation Forward
In its third year, Diversity Abroad is delighted to host 10 Diversity in Global Education Task Forces comprised of a record 55 professional colleagues. Task Forces provide critical guidance and support to Diversity Network initiatives, and contribute to the development of new and valuable resources for the field of international education such as webinars, conference presentations, articles, and advising manuals.
In collaboration with our professional colleagues across the country, the Diversity Abroad Network offered 6 webinars and community discussions throughout 2016 to highlight key issues and areas of potential advocacy for our field. Titles include:
Making your institution more DACA-friendly and “undocu-friendly”
Race Matters: An Open Dialogue on Supporting Black Students in Education Abroad
Leveraging Education Abroad to Promote Academic Success
Breaking down administrative and social barriers to improve access for first gen students
Hiring & Diversity: A Reconsideration of the Eligibility Requirements for Entry-Level Administrators.
Developing scholarships for increasing diversity
Contributions to the Field
Each year we host the Annual Conference Diversity Abroad Conference, the most comprehensive national forum on issues of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion in global education. In 2016, the 4th annual event was held in Atlanta, GA, and convened a record 350 professional attendees. The 2nd Annual Global Student Leadership Summit brought together almost 50 diverse and underrepresented returned students to focus on the skills essential to being a successful leader in a diverse and global society. Also in 2016, the Inaugural Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Summit on Global Education welcomed more than 75 attendees to share best practices to expand capacity for internationalization efforts at the nation’s MSI’s. Read a summary of the 2016 events here.
In addition to the 4th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference, Diversity Abroad staff members presented with colleagues at more than 10 professional conferences during the 2016 calendar year, including titles such as:
It Takes a Village: Building a Support System for Diversity Abroad (CIEE, 2016)
Underrepresentation, Intersecting Identities, and Systemic Change (Forum, 2016)
Diversity, Access, and Inclusion: Moving the Dial on Education Abroad (AIEA, 2016)
In 2016, Diversity Abroad award $96,000 in Scholarship funds to students traveling in 2016-2017. In addition to scholarship funds, Diversity Abroad visited 43 campuses in 2016 as part of The Passport Tour (TPT), a nationwide campus-based initiative designed to introduce study abroad resources and opportunities to students, faculty and administrators, particularly from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. These visits yield 2575 student contacts with the following breakdown: 38% first generation college students & 60% Pell grant recipients.
We are inspired by what we’ve been able to accomplish, together with our members and partners, in 2016 and we look forward to even greater things in 2017!