Friday, October 28, 2016

Data-Driven Decision-Making to meet Institutional and Organizational Generation Study Abroad Goals

Earlier this week I was at the IIE Generation Study Abroad 2016 Summit in Washington, DC and I attended many great sessions.  For me, the most informative and valuable session was the Data-Driven Decision-Making: Documenting Study Abroad's Impact on Academic & Career Success session presented by Lisa Loberg of California Lutheran, Ann Hubbard of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and Gary Rhodes of California State University of Dominguez Hills.

To be sure, I have a strong interest in and respect for the research side of the field.  I firmly believe that making decisions to advance study abroad on your campus or in your organization should be informed by data and research results.  Some of the questions that guided the presentation and discussion follow:

  • What are the most compelling findings?
  • How do we make them common talking points?
  • How can we use these data more effectively to show that study abroad is not only beneficial, but essential?
  • How can the case for study abroad be more powerfully made to administrators, trustees, faculty, students and families?

Numerous research studies in the field have demonstrated that study abroad has a positive impact student academic and career success.  All three of my colleagues presented strong evidence on the positive impact of study abroad and were very engaging during their talks.  If you have a chance to attend a future conference session that Lisa, Ann or Gary are presenting at I highly recommend joining their session!

What study abroad data and research results have you found to be most useful in helping you advocate the benefits of study abroad to students or institutional leadership/decision makers?

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