A Central Position

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What is the strategy in a nutshell?

In 2012, Belmont University created a new senior international officer position – Associate Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education – with the goals of expanding study abroad and global education, and increasing the international profile and reach of the institution. Prior to this, faculty participation in study abroad was limited to a small group of humanities and business professors, and the successful Massey College of Business graduate study abroad program. Over time, the Associate Provost used the institution’s current data to compare gaps and opportunities between undergraduate and graduate participation in learning overseas, centralized study abroad processes across the colleges, and expanded faculty and student participation across the university.

How was the strategy carried out?

Belmont University’s Massey College of Business implemented a study abroad option in 1997. Since its inception, the graduate business study abroad initiative has been facilitated by the Massey College of Business faculty and staff, separate from the larger institution. The initiative had a positive impact for students and faculty, but since there was no centralized office for international initiatives, no data was collected or shared outside of the Massey College of Business. 

The creation of the Associate Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education position in 2012 established a connection between the Office of Study Abroad (OSA) and the College of Business (among others). Even with the creation of the Associate Provost position, the operation of the graduate business initiative remained largely independent from the OSA. However, two small but important changes were implemented, ensuring quality programming and data collection: all itineraries are now reviewed by OSA staff, and all participant information is submitted to the centralized office. Access to data from the Massey College of Business initiative has allowed the Associate Provost to accurately report on the expansion of study abroad at Belmont University and served to demonstrate the resources, support, and expertise that the OSA staff can provide to other colleges and schools at Belmont University.

So, what’s the impact of this strategy?

Study Abroad has become a highly popular, high-impact practice for Belmont University students. In addition to the Massey College of Business, graduate programs in other disciplines are beginning to explore the potential of international education, with graduate faculty seeking information and support from the OSA. In 2012, 321 Belmont undergraduates studied abroad. By 2019, the institution reported approximately 1,000 undergraduates studied abroad. Belmont has twice been ranked fifth in the nation for faculty-led programming and, in 2019, was ranked 17th for student participation across all institutions (Open Doors). Several Massey College of Business undergraduate faculty have led short-term programs with business-themes—destinations include China, Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Ireland. The Honors Program, now assigned to the supervision of the Associate Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education, has a revised curriculum with required, embedded semesters abroad.

Any helpful context about implementing this strategy on your campus?

Structurally, it’s important to note that the Massey College of Business graduate study abroad initiative began within one college, where it remains. The only change to its facilitation has been that itineraries must be reviewed by OSA and a list of participants must be submitted to OSA. With the hiring of a new position, a senior international officer, and establishing a global education staff for expanding international reach, new opportunities have emerged for partnership between OSA and the Massey College of Business. 


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