IIE Networker - Fall 2006 - (Page 16)

Feature Leading the Way Toward True Global Engagement A Challenge to American Colleges and Universities By Sanford J. Ungar the first-year class of two years prior. But we also had reason to be cautious. This was, after all, to be the first incoming class since we had announced that we were making a rather bold—and risky— move: that beginning in the fall of 2006, every incoming undergraduate would be required to study abroad at least once in order to graduate. Sanford J. Ungar, President of Goucher College The Uncertainty of Being First We knew that the other part of our announcement—that we would help offset the cost of overseas travel by giving every undergraduate a special voucher of at least $1,200—would assuage some people’s concerns. And the initial response was overwhelmingly positive. The New York Times wrote a story about our initiative, as did Inside Higher Ed, The Baltimore Sun, and a number of other national and regional publications. Colleagues in the world of higher education applauded us, as did many of the students and parents to whom we spoke. But we were out there alone. The only other college that requires study abroad is Soka University, a young and small institution, founded on Buddhist principles and located in California. No national liberal arts colleges require study abroad of all their students. No major universities do, either. We had no precedent to fol- A few days before May 1, the date by which all matriculating students must mail their enrollment deposits to Goucher College, I passed out scraps of paper to the members of my senior staff and asked each one to predict the number of deposits we would have in hand by the time all the mail for the season came in. Nervous glances were exchanged, numbers scrawled, papers passed. Everyone knew our target for the incoming class—the magic number of first-year students that would ensure the budget lines added up, residence-hall beds were filled, and so on—and all of the predictions exceeded that number by at least a little bit. They were, I would say, cautiously optimistic. And we had reason to be optimistic. Early numbers suggested that we were on track to match the record-setting size of low, no basis for comparison by which we could judge our success or failure in this new endeavor. The initial rush of good press and enthusiasm, when it began to subside a bit, left in its wake many questions. Some of our faculty voiced skepticism that study abroad could be incorporated neatly into the curriculum of their majors. Others in the community wondered if students in some of our more time-intensive programs—our rigorous science and dance programs, for example, or athletes— would find time for international study in their busy schedules. Our own questions about implementation were echoed in an article in The Wall Street Journal about colleges and universities across the land that were raising fees and setting caps for participation in their study abroad programs, in order to offset tuition revenue lost as large numbers of students left campus to travel and study overseas. The president of one major liberal arts college in the Midwest, in what almost seemed like a point-by-point response to our announcement, wrote a column for his college’s alumni magazine explaining all of the reasons why his institution had decided to limit the number of students who could study abroad in any given semester—and why he would not consider requiring it.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2006

IIE Networker - Fall 2006
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
Leading the Way Toward True Global Engagement: A Challenge to American Colleges and Universities
The Lincoln Commission and the Future of Study Abroad
Destination India: Opportunities and Challenges for Expanding Study Abroad in a Nontraditional Location
Heritage-Seeking and Study Abroad: A Case Study
State Department Resources
Short-Term Programming
Community College
GLBT Issues
Branch Campus
Central and Eastern Europe
Freshmen Study Abroad
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Fall 2006