Western Kentucky University

Media Relations

New Grant Supports Diversity in WKUs Education Abroad Programs

The Diversity Abroad Grant is a collaboration between the offices of Study Abroad and Global Learning, Enrollment Management, Institutional Diversity & Inclusion and International Programs. The offices pooled resources to provide $40,000 for grants to support diverse and underrepresented students who want to pursue credit-bearing education abroad.

“As WKU internationalizes and grows its study abroad numbers, it is critical that all members of the WKU community, and especially traditionally underrepresented groups, have the opportunity to study abroad,” Chief International Officer Craig T. Cobane said. “The DAG is one of several initiatives to diversify the WKU students studying abroad.”

Students eligible for the DAG include underrepresented minorities, such as African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians/Alaskans. The grant is open to all majors and on all WKU campuses.

Following their education abroad experience, recipients of the Diversity Abroad Grant are responsible for completing service projects. These projects are designed to complement their education abroad experiences and increase the diversity of students studying abroad while enhancing the recipient’s leadership and communication skills.

“An international education experience can be absolutely transformative,” said Addie Cheney, Coordinator of International Programs.  “Students return with increased confidence, heightened academic motivation.  According to research, all students, but especially at risk students benefit from studying abroad and are more likely to be engaged on campus, to be retained, graduate, and to go onto graduate and professional schools.”

Richard Miller, WKU’s Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, said it is important for today’s students to have the opportunity to study abroad to enhance their educational experiences.

“Underrepresented student populations, in particular, being given the opportunity to grow and learn from immersion in different cultures, will benefit from this essential educational component to their preparation for inclusion into a diverse and competitive work and social environment,” Dr. Miller said.

The DAG is one of several initiatives that connect diversity, education abroad and retention. Last week faculty and staff from across campus participated in workshops by the Diversity Abroad Network that focused on effective cross campus collaboration and advising, recruiting and marketing strategies.

During spring break, Saundra Ardrey in Political Science and Lloren Foster and Andrew Rosa in Diversity & Community Studies will lead students to Trinidad. The program, titled Explore Trinidad: African American Experience Abroad, has secured substantial student participation, most of who have applied for DAGs.

Since the program began in the fall, more than 20 students have submitted grant proposals, Cheney said. Deadline for proposals is March 15. For more information on the Diversity Abroad Grant, visit http://www.wku.edu/studyabroad/.

Contact: Andrea Cheney, (270) 745-3036.

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