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Wofford ranks among leaders in nation for study abroad

Mesha Arant_New Delhi 382x255
2010-11-15

Ranking continues in top 10 among baccalaureate institutions

 

(PHOTOS: Top, taken by Mesha Arant in New Delhi, India.  Below, Mary Elston Heaner helps her host family grind coffee beans in Managua, Nicaragua.)

 SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College is ninth among the nation’s top 40 baccalaureate institutions for undergraduate students studying abroad for credit, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today (Monday, November 15, 2010), confirming the college’s commitment to its students becoming global citizens.

Wofford, which consistently has ranked in the top 10 over the past 15 years, is one of only two South Carolina colleges included in the baccalaureate list, and one of only three in all the lists in the report – 40 doctorate institutions, 40 master’s institutions and 40 baccalaureate institutions. The rankings are based on the number of students studying abroad and the number of degrees conferred, to get the estimated percentage of student participation in study abroad programs for credit.

The Open Doors 2010 report is published annually by the Institute of International Education with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The report is based on the academic year 2008-09. For the first time in the 25 years that the data has been tracked, the total number of U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit did not increase. However, the report found that there were notable increases in the number of U.S. students going to study in less traditional destinations. Fifteen of the top 25 destinations were outside of Western Europe and 19 were countries where English is not a primary language.

“We have seen a higher level of student engagement among students who have studied in non-traditional destinations, according to our NSSE (National Study of Student Engagement) research,” says Dr. Ana Maria Wiseman, dean of international programs. “We are excited about the trends that indicate that our students are selecting quality programs that provide high-impact experiences as identified by NSSE, such as direct enrollment options, service-learning and guided research in less commonly selected destinations."

Mary Elston Heaner_Nicaragua 150wideWofford students participating in non-traditional programs in 2008-09, Wiseman says, opted for a semester in China, Fiji, Latin America, Ghana, Japan, Morocco, Russia, Senegal and Thailand. “Furthermore, our students participated in faculty-led as well as language immersion and service-learning Interim (January term) programs in Chile, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru and South Africa during January 2009.”

Since 2008, more than 1,000 Wofford students have studied abroad in 64 countries on all seven continents.

Dr. David S. Wood, dean of the college, notes that Wofford is committed to preparing its students to engage the world. “We continue to face an enormous and important challenge in preparing our nation’s future leaders for a globally connected, competitive and interdependent world,” he says. “Our faculty, staff and board of trustees have committed us to meeting that challenge, and that commitment is continuously reflected in our rankings in the Open Doors study. Our faculty have innovative and bold approaches to enhancing the educational experience here at Wofford, and our students are rising to the task of engaging the world. We can see it by these numbers, and by their success in these programs.”

Wofford encourages and assists students wishing to study abroad through scholarships and financial aid packages.

“We continue to be successful in our study abroad participation partly because of our intensive ongoing orientation program that includes thorough advising, various workshops and other events,” says Amy Lancaster, assistant dean for academic administration and international programs. “We encourage students to set intercultural, linguistic, academic, and other personal goals to maximize their study abroad experience. We also stress reflection as part of the process, so students are regularly considering what they are learning while working toward a common goal of global citizenship.”

In addition, Wofford faculty are encouraged to study abroad through the Milliken Faculty Seminars Abroad. In 2009, 13 faculty and staff members went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and this year, another 19 traveled to Shanghai, China. Still another group will travel to Granada, Spain, and Rabat, Morocco, in January 2011, and to Bahia, Brazil, in 2012.

For more on Wofford’s Study Abroad program, go to http://www.wofford.edu/internationalprograms/.

For more about the Open Doors 2010 report, got to:
http://www.iie.org/en/Who-We-Are/News-and-Events/Press-Center/Press-Releases/2010/2010-11-15-Open-Doors-US-Study-Abroad