2018 Symposium Sessions

Concurrent Workshops:

Study Abroad & Employability: Helping Students Connect the Dots

Ann Hubbard, AIFS Study Abroad

Anne Haberkern, Portland Community College

The topic of study abroad and employability has been getting a lot of attention. Students do report outcomes from learning abroad that are valuable to employers.  Are there small steps we can take in our program designs to help provide opportunity for skill development; and are there ways that we can help students identify and articulate their skills in ways that employers will appreciate?   Recent reports on learner outcomes, employer’s top-sought skills and programming ideas will be presented.  The session discussion will focus on practical ideas to understand the benefits and overcome the communication gaps of this phenomenon.

Learner objectives:

  • Gain an awareness about the topic of skill development reported as a result of studying abroad.
  • Understand what employers report as the top-valued skills and their relation to intercultural competence.
  • Learn programming ideas that increase student awareness about skill development in studying abroad and aid in articulating them in ways that employers will appreciate.

Building Group Cohesion with Intention

Dawn Williamson, Portland State University School of Social Work

Amy Knutson, MSW Candidate, Portland State University

Conflict is a natural and necessary component of any group learning experience. An essential step not to overlook in course planning for any study abroad programs is the recognition of the group forming its own identity.  Preparing in advance for observing and influencing the group dynamics by building group cohesiveness allows for the healthy development of the group as you traverse the waters of not only the international experiences but also your own students’ group dynamics, informal leadership and peer developed norms that often evolve within the group when traveling and learning together. 

This workshop takes into consideration the developmental stages of group forming and norming, the individual and group identity and growth throughout the learning experience together. Through hands-on activities used at each stage of the group’s development, some cautions and red flags will be addressed with some ideas for clear communication and problem solving from the workshop facilitators as well as participant involvement.  There will also be some ideas for specific language and cultural group activities that can be adapted to the specific setting of the course country.

This is a hands-on experiential workshop.  All supplies will be provided with the awareness that most activities can be easily accommodated with the use of very limited supplies allowing for application in various international locations and settings.

By the conclusion of this workshop, participants will have a reminder of why it is important to focus on the development of group cohesion early on and what could potentially affect the smooth flow of their study abroad courses.  They will have 3 – 5 experiential activities demonstrated that could be used at the various times during the course: Prior to departure, at the beginning of the in-country experience, during or in the middle of the course, and at closure or upon returning to the country of origin. 

Concurrent Sessions (Block A):

The Freshman Year Experience: Creating Opportunity for Study Abroad

Giustina Pelosi, CEA Study Abroad

Ryan Larsen, Western Washington University

Preliminary research looking at the impact of study abroad on first-year students shows that studying abroad increases retention rates, increases participation in campus activities, and positively impacts grade point averages.  So, why aren’t more of us creating study abroad opportunities specifically geared towards the Freshman Year Experience (FYE)?  This session will provide an overview of the Freshman Year Experience with a presentation of lesson’s learned.  Participants will work is small groups to discuss obstacles and possible solutions. 

From Cuba to Colombia: A Long Term Strategy to Impactful and Academically Rigorous Study Abroad Experiences

Jose Gonzales, Belmont University

Marieta Velikova, Belmont University

This session is targeted for faculty members and administrators wishing to understand how to take a long term approach to study abroad program development. The presenters have taken a long term- approach to building a portfolio of programs that over a decade have focused on exploring the interactions of political, economic, social and entrepreneurial forces of the countries they visit. Every program, looks primarily at how economic development and entrepreneurial mindset play out in each country they visit. After a decade, they have built an extensive knowledge and experience instead of a country specific focus.  The session will focus on the three pillars of a successful program: location, logistics format and syllabus, including assignments, grading and assessment. Moreover, it will provide attendees with insights on how to build successful faculty team that works well together.

Finance, Focus and Fun: Budgeting, Preparing & Recruiting for Faculty-led Programs

Maureen Brady Coyle, IES Abroad

Eduardo Contreras, University of Portland

Jen Hamlow, Portland State University

Offering perspectives from a third party program provider, a small private university, and a large public university, this session will share successful models for faculty-led program financing and planning, discuss ways to frame the program to fit academic goals and outcomes on campus, and focus on fun ways to engage and recruit students for the program.  The presenters will highlight best practices and incorporate practical tips, tools, and timelines to run a faculty-led program successfully.

Concurrent Sessions (Block B):

Equal Footing: How to Implement Good Practices in Equitable Campus-Community Partnerships

Chris Miller, Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development

Julio Cesar Nino

Patrick Kennedy, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

We will highlight equitable community-campus partnerships supporting international development that also educate students as socially responsible global citizens. We aim to reshape faculty-led university programs as community-engaged experiences dedicated to advancing learning and knowledge for social change and call on academics to create and sustain a global movement of participatory and collaborative societies. Using lessons from community organizations in rural Peru and throughout the developing world, we will explore successful models of equitable north-south collaboration.

In this session, participants will review theory and practice on responsible education abroad and work in groups to discover how to overcome common barriers in order to implement best practices for community inclusion in their upcoming programs. By creating a space for active listening and critical dialogue between various organizations that are committed to co-educating and collaborating for social change, we can begin to address the gaps between theory and practice.

Targeting Diversity: Strategic Approaches to Marketing and Delivering Your Faculty-Led Programs 

Darin Smith-Gaddis, CAPA The Global Education Network

This session will discuss a variety of processes, thought leadership, and other tools and ideas to help deliberately build diversity, equity and cultural intelligence into course recruitment. Discussion topics will include ideas for building key allies from within and without your organizations to develop and enhance your custom offerings while helping you align the many moving parts of successful faculty-led programming for diverse student bodies.


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