Semester at Sea (SAS)
Fort Collins, CO
Small (under 5,000 students); MSI
Why did your institution join the Diversity Abroad Network?
SAS joined the Diversity Abroad Network so that we could gain access to tools and resources to help us better support participants in our program who identify with underrepresented backgrounds. We wanted to make sure all that of our staff that engages with our program participants are knowledgeable and empowered to support our participants throughout the study abroad program with us. We also wanted to be able to collaborate with peer organizations to discuss case studies and share successful initiatives.
How long has your organization/institution been a member?
What Diversity Network resource has been most useful for you and your colleagues in advancing diversity & inclusive excellence in global education?
The Diversity Country Climate Notes have been very useful, especially since our program travels to multiple countries during the voyage. Having a starting point on how to start to prepare underrepresented students for travel in certain countries has been invaluable. We make these notes available to participants throughout their voyage so that can always have a central place of reference. The webinars have also been very helpful, and generally focus on new and emerging topics.
How has membership with the Diversity Network helped your institution make global education more accessible to students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds?
Having a program profile listed on the Diversity Abroad website has had the most impact on our student engagement. Students who visit the Diversity Abroad website are likely to identify with an underrepresented identity, so having SAS’s profile in partnership with Diversity Abroad/Diversity Network helps students know that they will likely be considering participating in a program that will take the steps necessary to support their needs and experiences while studying abroad. Additionally, just the general increase in knowledge available to our staff has helped us when advising students during the pre-voyage/program preparation period.
Please describe any innovative initiatives related to diversity and inclusion in global education that your institution is currently undertaking.
Our institutional diversity committee is currently working on several initiatives to help promote diversity and inclusion on our program. We are in the final stages of implementing a Special Accommodations Housing Initiative to help better support and accommodate the needs of students who are transgender, transsexual, intersex, and other diverse gender identities and expressions and allies. We are also planning to launch a Diversity Peer mentoring program in order to connect alumni from underrepresented backgrounds with prospective students from similar backgrounds to help share personal, peer-related study abroad experiences. We are also exploring more ways to keep our diverse alumni more engaged after their voyage.