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UT Austin Recognized For Diversity and Inclusion in Education Abroad Programs

  • Jun 7, 2021

The University of Texas at Austin has been recognized by the Institute of International Education (IIE) for making study abroad more accessible and inclusive to all UT students. Since 2015, UT has strategically focused its efforts on increasing mobility to Latin America and has more than doubled student participation in the region.

IIE launched Generation Study Abroad (GSA) in 2014 as a five-year initiative to create a space for the international education community to provide resources and make a commitment to increasing and diversifying the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade. GSA Commitment Partners joined the initiative by committing to bold, ambitious actions in support of study abroad on their campuses or at their organizations. The campaign became a global movement, forming the 800+ strong GSA Commitment Partner network representing a variety of U.S.-based and international partners, including national governments, higher education institutions (HEIs), study abroad organizations, education associations, and more.

“We are deeply honored to have been recognized by IIE for our long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion in education abroad,” said Sonia Feigenbaum, senior vice provost for global engagement and chief international officer. “The IIE Seal of Excellence celebrates UT Austin’s continued commitment to expanding access to education abroad opportunities for all Longhorns.”

UT received the IIE Seal of Excellence for its strategic commitment to the Generation Study Abroad initiative and achieving its institutional goal of doubling the number of UT students studying abroad in Latin America in 2020. The Texas Global Education Abroad team accomplished this with several initiatives, designing faculty-led programs in Latin America, strengthening exchange partners and institutions in the region and opening new opportunities in Latin America to a wide range of UT students and faculty. Education Abroad also allocated scholarship funds to support students going to Latin America and raised awareness of opportunities with marketing campaigns.

“When we started the initiative in 2015, we had around 600 students studying abroad in Latin America and committed to doubling that number in five years,” said Heather Thompson, Director of Education Abroad. “By 2020, 1,300 students had studied abroad in the region, surpassing our original goal.”

With the IIE Seal of Excellence, IIE annually has recognized the U.S. institutions that have met their GSA pledge goals helping to make study abroad more accessible and inclusive for all students. During IIE’s final evaluation of the initiative conducted in 2020, 19 U.S. institutions were identified as having achieved their pledged goals – joining a total of over 100 institutions that have received the IIE Seal of Excellence. In the recently published report, A Commitment to Building a Global Generation: The Five-Year Impact of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative, IIE highlights key programmatic efforts and partner achievements, including these outstanding institutions, framed by an analysis of data collected over the life of the initiative. In addition to evaluating the impact of this initiative, it offers an opportunity to continue building on the momentum of study abroad growth from 2019. 

The 19 U.S. colleges and universities recognized by IIE for meeting their Generation Study Abroad commitments in 2020 are: Belmont University; Central Michigan University; Christopher Newport University; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Fairleigh Dickinson University – Metropolitan; Heidelberg University; Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Howard University; Millersville University of Pennsylvania; Ohio Northern University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Stevenson University; University of Findlay; University of Kansas; The University of Texas at Austin; University of Tulsa; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Wake Forest University; and William & Mary.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is a world leader in helping people and organizations leverage the power of international education to thrive in today’s interconnected world. As a not-for-profit with 17 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE manages 200+ programs with participants from 180+ countries. Each year, tens of thousands of people participate in IIE-managed programs. IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training, and leadership development programs.

Stay connected with IIE in our collective effort to advance diversity, inclusion, access, and equity for the next #generationstudyabroad.