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Interview with Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Oklahoma

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

 Interview with Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Oklahoma. 

 Submitted by the 2016-2017 Athletes Task Force


Michael Meade, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Oklahoma, agreed to answer some questions for the Athletes Task Force of Diversity Abroad. 


Why is study abroad important? What do you think students can learn from international education?  Study abroad is important because it gives student-athletes an opportunity to explore the richness of other cultures, languages, traditions and history. This experience complements their learning in the classroom.

Did you have education abroad opportunities as an undergraduate? If so, how did it impact your college experience?  I did not complete a formal study abroad experience as an undergraduate. However, I did participate in a European tour with a men's choral group while at Notre Dame. It was a month-long experience during which I was able to experience cultures in seven different countries and also learn about my own family history during my time in Ireland. I actually located family in County Kerry during my extended stay there. That was an unforgettable moment.

Have you been abroad as a professional?  If yes, where?  I have not been abroad as a professional, but I am definitely interested in future opportunities. 

What would you say is the general support level for student-athletes to study abroad while at the University of Oklahoma?  Is there support from the top down at both the university and athletics levels?    The Athletics Department provides tremendous support for student-athletes interested in study abroad, as does the university’s administration from the President down. In addition to the coaches being receptive to this experience, the department also provides financial support through the NCAA Student Assistance Fund for student-athlete well-being needs. 

As a rule, are your athletic advisers encouraged to mention study abroad to the student-athletes during advising sessions?  Athletics academic advisers encourage student-athletes to consider study abroad based on their interest and designated academic program. Additionally, our Foreign Language Center coordinator meets with student-athletes interested in study abroad to determine the best plan of action and type of program, and provides guidance through the application process.


Has there been an increase in the number of athletes studying abroad from OU during the past five years?  Yes, a significant increase. Between 1993-2012, approximately 10 student-athletes participated in study abroad programs at OU.  Between 2013 and 2016, an additional 59 students completed study abroad programs. In 2017 alone, 30 student-athletes are participating in study abroad.


Do you find it easier for some sports to study abroad compared to others?  Student-athletes in most sport programs are able to participate in study abroad at some point during the summer. Depending on the students' seasons of competition, some participate in May while others choose programs that are offered in either June or July. Almost all student-athletes have the opportunity to participate in the summer or after they have completed their eligibility.

Do you think coaches and administrators would be more apt to promote study abroad if there were an athletic component to the program?  Coaches are receptive to students interested in study abroad opportunities. Generally speaking, an athletic component is not essential, provided they make responsible, healthy decisions during their experience.  

Do you think student-athletes would be more likely to study abroad if there were an athletic training/competition component?  While many student-athletes have an interest in study abroad programs that focus on a topic related to sport, that certainly is not the priority for most students.

In general, do you feel there is support among coaches for their team members to go on study abroad or is it impossible to generalize about this?   I believe coaches are supportive of student-athletes interested in studying abroad. I have not heard of any head coaches that are opposed to students interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. 

Has Athletics publicized any high-profile student-athletes who have studied abroad?  If yes, in what ways and which sports?   Student-athletes participating in study abroad opportunities are recognized during our annual Scholar Athlete banquet in April. Additionally, the Athletics Communications staff has written articles regarding student-athletes' study abroad experiences in recent years. We certainly plan to continue this effort as we see this as a valuable opportunity for all college students.  

Do you know if the idea of study abroad for student-athletes is mentioned to recruits?  Study abroad opportunities are mentioned during prospective student-athlete recruiting visits. Study abroad is highlighted during prospect tours of the Prentice Gautt Academic Center.

Are there things you think should be happening on campus to promote study abroad for student-athletes that are not happening at this time?  The focus on study abroad at the University of Oklahoma is impressive. The number and variety of options makes such an opportunity accessible for the vast majority of students across campus. The Athletics Department appreciates this support.

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Reflections on the NACE 2017 Conference

Posted By Christopher LeGrant, Friday, July 7, 2017

Preparing the Next Generation of Global Leaders.  For us at Diversity Abroad, this means making sure students from underrepresented backgrounds have access to global experiences that will allow them to thrive in later stages of life.  But what role do we have in supporting students throughout the entire continuum of the study abroad process, especially when they return home? Recruiters and hiring managers are now recognizing some of the connections between global education and top talent. As educators, we need to actively facilitate these connections for students before, during and after a global education program to give them the best chance to succeed. 


To this end, myself and our CEO & Founder, Andrew Gordon attended the NACE conference in Las Vegas between June 6-9, 2017. For those who are not familiar, NACE (the National Association of Colleges and Employers) holds an annual conference that connects career services professionals to recruiting specialists and the business affiliates that serve this community.  As many readers of this blog are aware, Diversity Abroad team members are very active in industry wide conferences and summits for education abroad (including hosting our own conference). However, this was our first time attending NACE in a formal capacity so it was a great opportunity to learn about the intersections of our two fields and to strengthen connections with career service departments and employers that are looking to recruit diverse talent to their organizations.


One of the things that struck me during the first day is that the “siloing” of institutional departments in higher education is real. At our exhibit booth, I was approached by career service professionals who worked for institutions that were members of the Diversity Network but were unaware of their membership status. To some extent, this is not entirely unexpected.  We have long spoken about this siloing effect, acknowledging that many study abroad offices can often feel like islands on their own campuses. However, encountering this phenomena during the conference only reinforces that it’s an issue: career service and study abroad professionals that could be pooling their resources and talent to strengthen the links between global education and career mobility are simply not talking to each other.  

A second revelation is that many of the challenges career service departments are currently experiencing are very similar to those found in study abroad. Time and time again, I was told by career service professionals about issues with recruiting, advising and supporting students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Again, this should not be entirely unexpected as the challenges we face concerning diversity and inclusion in our specific fields are reflective of systemic challenges in our society. We also know how global education can help prepare students for working in the 21st century and much of the thought leadership and professional development endeavors we work on in the field can be adapted to address the challenges facing both departments on campus.  

As always, Diversity Abroad looks to address these issues as holistically as possible by connecting directly with students as well as with our colleagues across the academy.  One of our goals for the remainder of 2017 and beyond is to develop a fully utilized career center on DiversityAbroad.com, connecting students with not only internship and graduate school programs but to actual job opportunities. This career center will also make resources available to students to help them better leverage their global experiences in a competitive job market.  Within the Diversity Network, we are continuing to focus on facilitating connections and professional development through the Diversity Abroad Conference, online short courses and our in-person and virtual workshops. Ultimately, attending a conference like NACE helps us align our goals more closely to that of the student: to complete their education and start a successful and rewarding career.  We hope to see you again at NACE 2018!

Tags:  career 

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The Passport Tour (TPT) Annual Report at a Glance

Posted By Trixie Cordova, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Engaging Students On Campus

This year, The Passport Tour (TPT) brought Diversity Abroad to college campuses across the U.S. to engage with 2,000+ students about the benefits of going abroad. By bringing our unique resources, scholarships, and expertise directly to students, we are able to address the barriers impacting students’ ability and interest to go abroad, dispel common study abroad myths, and encourage them to pursue global opportunities, regardless of how they identify. The Passport Tour has impacted more than 20,000 students since launching in 2008, and has been one of Diversity Abroad’s signature student outreach programs. To learn more about how TPT is organized, read our blog entry here.

While on tour, students are invited to tell us more about themselves to help us better understand why diverse and underrepresented students are not going abroad, and still only make up less than 30% of all study abroad participants. Students are asked how they identify, what their concerns are about going abroad, and what regions and program types they are most interested in pursuing. Across all campus types, our goal is to reach students who have had no prior experience abroad; such as those attending first year seminar classes, enrolled in TRiO or other Student Support Services programs, or at institutions without established study abroad offices.

By collecting this information, we are able to assess both how successful we are in reaching underrepresented students; we also increase our own awareness of student concerns as they pertain to one’s ethnicity, financial status, area of study and regional interest, to name a few.

The Passport Tour Stats At-a-Glance

As our 2016-17 tour came to an end, we analyzed our data and developed a number of interesting findings about the students we reached. Below are just a few metrics we found most compelling:

At least half of the students we connected with on TPT this year identified as Black, which includes but is not limited to students self-identifying as African American, Haitian American, Jamaican-American, African, or other. 20% of the students we met identified as White, an increase from previous tours. We believe this correlates to our increased focus on reaching students in rural areas across states such as Oklahoma and Michigan.

Of course, finances remained the number one barrier cited for students interested in going abroad, with 35% citing finances as at least one barrier in their decision to go abroad. The following chart further verifies that this holds true, regardless of whether or not students are Pell Grant recipients; a typical indicator of high financial need.

This graphic indicates that first generation college students typically will not know someone - such as friends or family members - with previous study abroad experience. More often than not, study abroad alumni cite an older sibling, cousin, or friend as the inspiration for their participation in a study abroad program.

Finally, what has consistently emerged in our data collection for the past three years is a trend that indicates students’ interest in ‘heritage seeking’ regions. Although Europe consistently remains the primary regional interest for students across all ethnicities, second to Europe aligns with how they identify. For Asian students, this means Asia; for Black students this means an interest in Africa and the Caribbean; for Latino students an interest in Central and South America.

Diversity Abroad at NAFSA17

For the second year in a row, Diversity Abroad was excited to present these findings at the national NAFSA conference, hosted this year in Los Angeles.

The images above were compiled into an infographic shared during the poster session, Diversity Outreach in International EducationTo view the full infographic on data collected during the 2016-17 Passport Tour click here.

Tags:  Student Engagement  The Passport Tour  tpt  Underrepresented Students 

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Diversity Abroad looks forward to seeing everyone at NAFSA 2017!

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

For over a decade, Diversity Abroad has led the field toward inclusive excellence in global education. Now more than ever, this work is necessary as we strive to increase student access and participation in global programs, and ensure that the next generation of diverse global leaders are equipped with the skills necessary to excel in our increasingly interconnected world.

Stop by Diversity Abroad’s Booth #1954

We invite you to learn more about Diversity Abroad programs, resources, and upcoming learning opportunities at the annual NAFSA conference in Los Angeles, May 29 - June 2. Stop by Booth #1954 to meet with Diversity Abroad staff, learn more about best practices, tools, and inclusive methods for increasing participation of diverse and underrepresented students.

Schedule a Meeting with the Diversity Abroad Team

To schedule a meeting, please feel free to reach out to Diversity Abroad staff directly:

Poster Session


We are also excited to be dual-exhibitors during the poster session, "Increasing Diversity Outreach in International Education" on Thursday, June 1 from 2-3:30p. Stop by to learn more from our posters:


AID Roadmap: Comprehensive Assessment for Inclusion in Education Abroad

If we believe that education abroad as a documented high impact practice can be transformational -- personally, professionally, and academically -- for students, then the outcome of our efforts must be that greater access actually leads to greater transformation for all students. How can Education Abroad Offices move beyond the tacit commitment to diversity & inclusion efforts, and develop an inclusive climate that both welcomes students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds and also effectively supports their successful participation and transformational learning throughout? Stop by the poster session to learn more about Diversity Abroad’s innovative approach to assessing the overall climate of inclusion throughout the education abroad process through the Access, Inclusion, and Diversity (AID) Roadmap.

Diversity Abroad's Passport Tour: An Innovative Practice for Diversity Outreach

Stop by to learn more about the impact of The Passport Tour (TPT), the longest running Student Services program from Diversity Abroad. Now in it’s 9th year, our unique national student outreach tour allows us to directly engage with 2,000+ students across a variety of institution sizes and types in the U.S. Our poster will provide details about TPT, how it is organized, and how you can get involved. We’re excited to also present a creative infographic that breaks down the diversity of students we sought out to engage with during this tour, and to provide further insights into students’ barriers to study abroad; as well as how those barriers are impacted by racial/ethnic identity, financial need, prior family/friend experiences’, and more.

What’s New at Diversity Abroad?

As you are preparing your NAFSA Annual Conference schedule, don’t forget to include time to learn about the new initiatives at Diversity Abroad:

Global Institute for Inclusive Leadership
South Africa: June 18-25, 2017
New Zealand: January 14-21, 2018

An intensive, 8-day interactive workshop designed for international education, student affairs, education abroad, faculty development, and diversity and social justice program professionals who are interested in gaining skills and resources and building networks to better support their global education and diversity-related work.

Diversity Abroad’s Short Course Series

These 30-minute, accessible e-learning opportunities are designed and facilitated by experts in the fields of diversity, inclusion, and international education to provide professionals with insight and practical tools to support and advance inclusive excellence in global education.

6th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference (April 7-10, 2018 in Miami, FL)

Submit a session proposal to present at the conference. Call for proposals opening soon!

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Diversity Network Member Highlight: Semester at Sea

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 24, 2017

Institution name

Semester at Sea (SAS)


Fort Collins, CO


Institutional Profile

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? 

Since 2014


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.

Tags:  members 

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