Summit for Learning Abroad
We are pleased to announce the fourth annual Summit for Learning Abroad sponsored by the Learning Abroad Center and Global Programs and Strategy Alliance at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. This event will provide an opportunity to have a dialogue about strategies on a variety of topics related to education abroad and campus internationalization. The format will be highly participatory and will engage campus stakeholders and international education professionals. We look forward to hosting what we hope will be a series of annual conversations and sharing of models for success.
2013 Workshop Details
August 4 - Optional dinner
August 5, 6 & 7 - Summit
August 7 - An optional Learning Abroad Center Program Review will be offered in the afternoon when program teams will give information on all Learning Abroad Center programs.
$500 per person (Guests of the Learning Abroad Center)
$400 per person (Affiliates of the Learning Abroad Center)
Reduced price of $400 available for offices sending multiple staff members, affiliates or non-affiliates. Contact BJ Titus, for more details.
Quotations from participants
"Highly applicable to my organization’s work and really excellent insight on the current generation of students!"
"Even after 25+ years in the profession, I learn a lot. This was my second time in attendance and I would consider a third. WELL DONE!"
"Thanks for a great conference! You did an amazing job of highlighting the strengths of your office and the wide range of talented individuals who make it all happen"
Registration Deadline July 5, 2013
The Commons Hotel: within walking distance to Summit location (ask for U of M rate)
Days Inn: within walking distance to Summit location (ask for U of M rate)
University Inn: within walking distance to Summit location (ask for U of M rate)
Hotel Minneapolis Metrodome: On West Bank of U of M Campus. Provides shuttle for guests (ask for U of M rate)
Learning Abroad Center holds summit to highlight best practices by Dan Gilchrist
The people at the Learning Abroad Center at the University of Minnesota don’t mind
answering questions–University students who are interested in going abroad have
lots of them–but a few years ago they found themselves answering a lot of questions
from their colleagues at other institutions, who wanted to know more about the U of
M’s highly regarded programs and practices.
The need to provide a more efficient and comprehensive way to present its work led
the first LAC Summit in 2010. The summit invited international education experts
from across the country to learn more about what was happening at Minnesota and
to meet with colleagues in a more personalized setting than was possible at national
study abroad conferences.
“We needed to serve the community and to alleviate the many questions our staff
was getting,” said Bradley J. Titus, associate institutional relations director at
LAC. “The summit format serves everybody better than a large number of ad hoc
phone calls and visits from our colleagues at other institutions.”
Jason Kinnear, assistant director of study abroad at the University of Missouri, was
one of 25 study abroad professionals, mostly from large public universities, who
attended the 2012 Summit at the U’s Campus Club in Coffman Union.
“We’ve come to see how things are done here at the University of Minnesota for
guidance, encouragement, and ideas and also just have a dialogue with colleagues,”
he said. “This is a unique and focused opportunity to get more than just a snapshot.
To come and experience the breadth of things and to see a wide variety of the pieces
of the puzzle at the U of M is really an important thing.”
Kinnear also attended an optional third day session on internationalizing
the curriculum. Curriculum integration, in which study abroad professionals,
faculty, and academic advisers collaborate to internationalize the undergraduate
experience, has been a priority at the U for the past decade. The practical result is
that students are able to fit a relevant international experience into most majors and
courses of study, even in areas like engineering and the hard sciences, which have
more proscribed course sequences.
As someone starting out in the field of international education, Anna Fairbairn,
specialist for international projects at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign,
was appreciative of the chance to network with colleagues from across the country
and to take an in-depth look at the U of M’s learning abroad programs.
“We look at Minnesota as the pinnacle of the field,” she said. “As Martha [Johnson,
assistant dean for learning abroad,] was saying earlier, I think Minnesota has a
model–not necessarily the model–but I think it’s very helpful to look at a model to
help us understand our own work.”
Fairbairn, who participated in a U of M study abroad program in Kenya while
she was an undergraduate at Illinois, was also at the summit to learn more about
developing study abroad programs and how to better brand her university’s web
“I’m interested in how they develop programs, how those programs are structured
with learning outcomes and how those programs are structured with learning
outcomes and how they show they reach those learning outcomes,” she said. “I also
have a role in the public face of our office via the web, and Minnesota has taken the
lead in branding a making sure its image and voice is consistent. That’s something
I’m interested in learning from.”
Mary Dando, director of study abroad at the University of Colorado-Boulder, is a
longtime study abroad manager who also found value in the 2012 Summit.
“I am like a broken record talking about the University of Minnesota to my
staff–‘let’s do what Minnesota does’ or ‘here’s what Minnesota does,’” she said. “I
planned my summer around this event. Everything we do from a study abroad
director viewpoint is being discussed here today.”
Dando said the field of study abroad continues to evolve. Funding remains a primary
challenge in creating and maintaining high quality study abroad programs that
students can afford, especially in light of most states’ reduced commitment to public
Students are also expecting a broader choice of programs, she said.
“I think it’s important that we expand our view to internships, service learning
and independent research,” she said. “That’s a big change for us, because most of
our advisers have been in on traditional study abroad programs, but that’s not
necessarily what students want today.”
In light of higher tuition and a down economy, students also look at education
differently than they did 10 years ago.
“They see it more as a commodity-and consequently students are looking for value
much more than they did before,” she said. “It’s not necessarily education in the
broad sense we are talking about, but also professional training and opportunities
that will allow them to graduate in four years.”
For his part, the U’s Bradley Titus was pleased with the attendance and the
engagement of his colleagues at the 2012 conference.
“A conference like this allows us to drill down into some of the nitty-gritty areas,” he
said. “For example, we shared some of the data we at the U learned from watching
students use the web to learn about study abroad. Students were ignoring the
program search results on our webpage that were highlighted with a background
color and labeled ‘sponsored,’ because they thought our page was like Google, where
sponsored links are highlighted but not always the most useful.
“At the same time, our colleagues had a chance to discuss the bigger issues that our
study abroad programs are facing. It was a great exchange of ideas that will help
students today and in the future.”