FAQs for Strengthening Study Abroad: Recommendations for Effective Institutional Management

August 11, 2009

About the Report
What are the purpose, scope, and focus of the report?
The report, titled Strengthening Study Abroad: Recommendations for Effective Institutional Management, is a set of recommendations written by presidents and senior administrators for their colleague presidents and senior administrators. It highlights four areas of specific management challenges that institutional leaders must confront: building institutional commitment; establishing a study abroad infrastructure; providing adequate resources; and ensuring clarity and accountability. The report recommendations are a set of guidelines intended to promote campus discussions of effective institutional management of study abroad.
What is the report intended to accomplish?
The report's recommendations are intended to start conversations on the institutional management of study abroad on university and college campuses. The report's recommendations can be used as criteria to review programmatic policies and procedures and begin the discussion to effectively strengthen and integrate the institution's study abroad program. Ideally, these discussions will bring together education abroad professionals, senior administrators, and other campus stakeholders.
Next Steps
What are the next steps?
The report is endorsed by NAFSA's Board of Directors and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). Discussions are underway with these six associations to share the report with their members. One presentation has already been scheduled at the AACC Conference in April 2008.

A Presidential Forum on institutional management of education abroad will be held at the NAFSA Conference on Tuesday, May 26. The forum will feature representatives of the task force and presidential associations.

The Education Abroad (EA) and International Leadership (IEL) knowledge communities have developed a task force to develop resources and tools to support members in initiating and engaging in discussions on institutional management of study abroad on their campus (e.g. Power Point, Collegial Conversation, annual conference session).
What can university study abroad professionals do now?
  • Review your own policies and procedures to see how well they reflect the task force recommendations.
  • Review the examples of tools and strategies from various institutions that illustrate and support the application of the report's recommendations on the resources Web page and contribute examples from your institution. Senior administrators and education abroad professionals welcome samples to review, and the report is enriched by a variety of samples from various institutions.
  • Bring the report to the attention of the senior administrators on your campus. They may well receive the report from other sources at another time - more than one reminder of it is helpful to them.
  • When the opportunity presents itself, encourage a dialogue on your campus about the report. As the report points out, the discussion should include not only study abroad, but other campus stakeholders such as institutional counsel, student services, and faculty deans.
Task Force - background, mandate, and membership
When and why was the task force formed?
The task force was formed in August 2007. It had two meetings during the fall of 2007 and published its report on January 16, 2008.

The mandate of the task force: to recommend core principles, values, and behaviors for senior campus administrators to consider as they develop policies and practices to guide the management of the study abroad function. In developing recommendations the task force considered four principles:
  1. serving the best interest of the student
  2. advancing the institution's commitment to learning through international experiences
  3. fostering the education integrity of the institution
  4. preserving the financial stability of both study abroad programs and the
  5. institution-as-a-whole
Why did NAFSA form this task force and give it this mandate?
Study abroad is an integral part of institutional efforts to provide the highest quality educational experience for students at U.S. universities and colleges. The growth of study abroad as an integral part of the campus experience brings new challenges for university and college presidents, senior administrators, and education abroad professionals. By convening the task force and producing the report, NAFSA had an opportunity to address the larger institutional management issues related to study abroad in a way that would get the attention of campus leaders and provide a credible resource to help campus leaders understand the importance of study abroad on their campuses.
Who was on the task force?
The task force was chaired by John Hudzik, vice president for global engagement and strategic projects at Michigan State University and NAFSA's president-elect, and its membership reflects the breadth and diversity of U.S. higher education.

View the members of the task force.