The Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State Community College, has received a $20,000 grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to promote and encourage study abroad opportunities for students through faculty and administrators.
The Student Engagement, Retention and Success Initiative grant will fund a training program for study abroad best practices at TnCIS’ annual conference in November. TBR is the governing body for the state’s 13 community colleges, including Pellissippi State, as well as for six universities and the 27 colleges of applied technology.
“The idea of this grant is to provide faculty and administrators from each of the TBR institutions with the latest training in studying abroad,” said Tracey Bradley, executive director of TnCIS. “This will allow those leaders to share with others and their institutions the best-practices approaches to encouraging students to consider study abroad as a part of their academic experience in college.”
The training will bring in experts from the Forum on Education Abroad to present on several standards of international education, including student recruitment and preparedness for studying abroad, student selection, and academic advising for study abroad. According to Bradley, The Forum’s study abroad training is considered the national standard.
“We want to make sure our own efforts not only meet but exceed that of the Forum,” Bradley said.
The training is meant to provide baseline knowledge of study abroad experiences to the people who most often encourage students to consider studying abroad.
“Having well-trained faculty and administrators has been part of the success we’ve had in Tennessee with study abroad,” said Bradley. “This training will help us continue and build on that success.
“Study abroad is one of the most empowering experiences in a student’s educational career, one that almost all students describe as ‘life changing,’” Bradley said. “Data nationwide has shown that students who participate in a study abroad experience are more likely to graduate from college, and recent studies have shown that students at two-year institutions who are academically low-achieving are the most impacted. Their likelihood of success and graduation improve vastly.”
TnCIS organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. More than 400 students and 60 faculty from across Tennessee participated in 19 study abroad trips organized by TnCIS in 2014.
For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280.
For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.