The Office of Education Abroad serves as a resource for students interested in exploring how study abroad can fit into their degree programs and for faculty looking to increase their international engagement through international program and partnership development. OEA promotes activities and programs designed to increase intercultural understanding -- both on-campus and in the development of effective international partnerships -- and to facilitate access to opportunities for global engagement.

Areas of Impact

  • OEA’s primary goal is to promote and support opportunities for all UWG students to gain the benefits associated with study abroad -- greater maturity and the ability to adapt to change, enhanced ability to communicate across cultures, and greater awareness of the responsibilities of global citizenship – all as part of an academic experience that will move them towards degree completion and prepare them to compete in the globalized marketplace.
  • Supporting study abroad programming also means supporting faculty: we provide training and guidance for faculty program leaders, and we offer professional development opportunities for faculty interested in enhancing their global awareness, internationalizing their teaching portfolios, or building their connections to foreign universities.
  • The office also manages the university’s portfolio of partnerships with institutions around the world so as to support student and faculty exchange opportunities. We engage with a variety of campus partners to improve communication, streamline and clarify processes and enhance awareness of the benefits internationalization brings to our campus.

Strategic Plan Rationale:

This strategic plan sets out the goals of the Office of Education Abroad as they align

  • with the ethos of Engage West – which emphasizes strategic planning, cross-divisional cooperation, clarity of processes and communication;
  • with guidance from the University System of Georgia and;
  • with national standards of good practice from the Forum on Education Abroad.

The strategic plan that follows, which uses the University strategic plan as its organizing principle, sets out specific focal points of development that will allow our campus internationalization activities to proceed with greater efficiency, with more clarity of purpose and process, and with greater recognition of the scope of globally-focused work by members of the campus community.

I.   UWG Strategic Plan, Strategic Imperative 1:
Student Success: Enhanced Learning, Access, Progression, and Development

OEA Primary Goal: Promote development of clear support structures – academic, logistical and psychological -- for study abroad students before, during, and after their programs. These support structures will recognize the unique nature of study abroad programming and provide opportunities for support and reflection that help students to maximize the potential for growth through experiential learning.

Supporting Actions:

  1. Enhance and disseminate clear advising information to allow students and advisors to understand how study abroad programs of various types (faculty-led, consortium, exchange) can fit into a student’s degree program.
  2. Work with campus partners to expand awareness of the unique needs of students studying abroad so as to enable current campus resources to engage and serve that population effectively.
  3. Enhance pre-departure and re-entry programming, including orientations and workshops along with potential co-requisite coursework, so as to maximize students’ ability to prepare for and process the experience of studying abroad.

Aligns with:

Forum on Education Abroad Standards of Good Practice:

  • Standard 2. Student Learning and Development: The organization’s mission, goals, and operations prioritize student learning and development.

  • Standard 4. Student Selection, Preparation, and Advising: The organization maintains fair and ethical recruitment and selection processes, adequate student preparation and advising, and ongoing student support.

II.  UWG Strategic Plan, Strategic Imperative 2:
Academic Success: Academic Programming and Faculty Support

OEA Primary Goal: Develop methods of encouraging broader faculty participation in study abroad and related internationalization activities so as to enhance global engagement on campus and to encourage the exploration of global perspectives within the curriculum.

Supporting Actions:

  1. Develop strategies to expand participation in study abroad to new faculty and disciplines via workshops, incentive grants, and circulation of consortial teaching opportunities.
  2. Advocate for recognition of work related to study abroad within the appropriate categories of teaching, research, and service for faculty and within appropriate established areas of review for staff.

Aligns with:
USG Office of International Education Recommendations:

  • Provide resources for faculty participation in international education activities.

III.     UWG Strategic Plan, Strategic Imperative 3:
Successful Partnerships: Building Engaged, Mutually Beneficial Collaborations

OEA Primary Goal: Support strategic development of partnerships with foreign universities to encourage bilateral student exchange, faculty exchange, research, and curricular development.

Supporting Actions:

  1. Work with academic units interested in developing partnerships to assess the fit between campuses, feasibility of projects, and sustainability of student and faculty/staff exchanges.
  2. Coordinate with relevant offices to provide clear information to partner campuses and their students regarding applications and support, visa processes for visiting scholars, availability of programs, and related matters.

IV.   UWG Strategic Plan, Strategic Imperative 4: Operational Success: Effectiveness and Sustainability

OEA Primary Goal: Advocate for campus internationalization and for recognition of faculty work, including moderation of workload for departmental staff and program leaders related to study abroad.

Supporting Actions:

  1. Streamline and centralize procedures related to study abroad, including logistical and financial development, and execution. This will reduce workload on faculty program leaders and staff in academic departments. It will also allow the institution to maintain clearer compliance with standards for program development, risk assessment, staff training and financial management.
  2. In consultation with academic units, faculty governance structures, the Division of Business and Financial Services and UWG’s legal office, develop recommendations on faculty compensation models for study abroad teaching faculty and program leaders, so as to support compensation models that are fair and equitable and that comply with BOR guidelines.

Aligns with:

USG Office of International Education Recommendations:

  • Ensure that all Study Abroad staff obtain Title IX training.
  • Ensure that the Senior Study Abroad staff on your campus obtain continual and relevant risk management training.

Forum on Education Abroad Standards of Good Practice:

  • Standard 6. Policies and Procedures: The organization has well-defined and clearly- articulated policies and procedures that govern its programs and practices, ensures that they are fairly and consistently implemented, and conducts regular reviews to assess their effectiveness.
  • Standard 7. Organizational and Program Resources: The organization ensures that its programs are adequately funded and staffed.