JWU, Salve Regina commit to grow study abroad participation
SALVE REGINA UNIVERSITY and Johnson & Wales University have committed to substantially increasing the number of their undergraduate population that studies abroad at some point in their college careers.
NEWPORT – Salve Regina University and Johnson & Wales University have joined the Institute of International Education’s new five-year Generation Study Abroad initiative.
In joining the initiative, Salve Regina has committed to a study abroad goal of 65 percent undergraduate participation rate over the next five years. This would nearly double the current rate at Salve Regina by engaging about 300 students in international opportunities annually.
Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic careers, according to the institute.
In Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University is also participating in the initiative, University spokeswoman Madeline Parmenter said. The university also is looking to double its current rate of students studying abroad, which in 2011-12 amounted to 487 students.
The involvement is part of JWU’s strategic plan for 2017, Parmenter said.
While Salve Regina has exceeded the national rate, university leaders believe there is room to expand such opportunities.
“We look forward to the benefits of participating in the national dialogue around this initiative and benefiting from the experiences of other institutions, as well as sharing our own successes,” said Sister Jane Gerety, Salve Regina president. To reach the university’s ambitious goal, Gerety said she will first form an ad hoc committee of faculty, staff and students to inventory barriers to study abroad participation and work with all constituents to remove them, where possible.
Salve Regina ranked 17th nationally in undergraduate participation in study abroad in 2012, the institute reported in its annual “Open Doors Report.” The university’s Office of International Programs reports that currently about 180 undergraduate students participate in international study abroad programs annually.
“The numbers tell part of the story and growing participation rates is important,” said Erin FitzGerald, director of International Programs, “but the impact on students’ lives and student learning is the real heart of the story. We have witnessed how study abroad re-shapes students’ academic and career choices and results in a more globally engaged segment of our student population. Generation Study Abroad is exciting and worthwhile to us because of the potential it will unleash in our student population at Salve and nationwide.”