The Center will work across three focus areas – Program and Partnerships, Global Learning and Access for Underrepresented Communities – to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and provide more targeted funding for international learning opportunities across the board.
Speaking exclusively to The PIE at the PIE Live Europe conference, Courtney Temple, the IIE’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer, said the center’s work will give the IIE an opportunity to “be an organizer and have a concrete movement around access and equity.”
“We wanted to create an umbrella where we could focus more on measuring our progress,” Temple said.
“We had programs like the one with Dickinson College — and other projects — but we thought if we could centralize it under the center and fund it, we’d be able to make a better impact.”
In the first area of focus, the center is currently rolling out its partnership with Dickinson College, which originally began in 2020. Newer joint initiatives will now fall under the umbrella of the program and part of the partnership, Temple explained.
“They have a very high percentage of individuals involved in international exchange – the partnership has always been there, but we wanted to take it a little further with the expertise that they have and that the IIE has globally.
“We wanted to create an umbrella where we could focus more”
“Together we present a workshop that appeals to diversity, equity and inclusion and access to higher education for a global lens,” she explained.
The workshop focuses specifically on intersectionality for higher education professionals, with experts from the IIE network based around the world contributing to and funding the IIE, and is commissioned by Dickinson and led in collaboration with college colleagues.
“If we can educate individuals who have an impact on international exchange, then we’re actually opening up access because what they take away from that course will be reflected in the programming they create.”
In addition, the center will serve as an umbrella for the IIE American Passport Project – which aims to grant 10,000 passports over the next ten years to students who would not normally have access to study abroad.
Temple, who also appeared at PIE Live on a panel discussing diversity, equality and inclusion, explained to delegates that the cost of a US passport, which costs up to $160, can be “disproportionate”.
Passports are officially awarded by IIE partner universities who submit first-year students who are eligible, such as those in the socio-economic gap. IIE funds this program and works with partner universities on who is selected each time.
At least 40 will be selected in each cycle.
“The passport is the first thing that opens up their world to study abroad, so we’re starting at the beginning of the journey because you have to get individuals into the game before you can really make a wholesale change,” Temple said.
While all three arms of the Center are linked, the Global Learning section will be largely research-based for now, specifically focusing on language acquisition, Temple told The PIE.
The center will focus on researching language acquisition as a barrier to global learning, study abroad and even as a barrier to future employability across all fields.
“The passport is the first thing that opens their world to the possibility of studying abroad”
“What does language acquisition look like and how do you start studying abroad?
“We’re not just talking about the idea of studying abroad in an English-speaking country; we say, let’s focus on language acquisition because it opens up the world to students in a way that benefits study abroad.”
In addition, it will explore the idea of engaging more first-generation students in study abroad programs.
The idea focuses on recommendations for best practices in upper eds for designing programming that benefits these students and opens their world to study abroad.
The last piece of the puzzle, which is the support of underrepresented communities, will be connected to the ethos and practice of the entire center.
Additionally, Temple will serve as the center’s executive sponsor, while Lindsay Gee Calvert has been selected to lead the center as its full-time director.