New study abroad director wants to grow programs

Posted: Wednesday, 12 May 2010

TROY—Troy University’s new study abroad director believes relationships already in place across the globe will jumpstart growth of the study abroad program.

“Troy University was one of the first universities in the United States to enter the process of internationalization and study abroad allows TROY students to get abroad but also to connect to the world,” said Orlando Pacheco, who assumed his duties in April.

And the best way to connect TROY students to the global marketplace is through first using relationships already in place with universities outside the U.S.

“We can build on the relationships we already have – such as in the UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia and others locations, and then move from there into helping faculty develop new programs,” he said.

Pacheco, a native of Costa Rica who is completing a doctorate at the University of Pittsburg in international comparative analysis, earned his masters degree in political science at the University of Louisville and a graduate degree at the Latin American College of Social Sciences. He completed his undergraduate degree in international relations at National University in Costa Rica.

He joins TROY from Clayton State University where he was an assistant professor of education and associate director for International Programs. Prior to his stint at Clayton State, he was associate researcher and managing director of the Institute for International Studies in Education at the University of Pittsburg.

“Our most important goal for study abroad is that our students learn about cultures and be internationally competent,” he said. “Our graduates need to be able to deal and operate in the international environment and study abroad enhances their professional performance.”

“We want our students to be prepared to do business and maneuver in the context of another culture whether it is in theater, business, or other disciplines,” he said.

In addition to program development, Dr. Curt Porter, Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs, said Pacheco would also focus on planning, logistics and safety issues associated with international study.

“We expect to see a qualitative difference in our students in 10 years because of study abroad,” he said. “Cultural competence is a weak area in our students today and they tend to be uncertain outside the Deep South, so it’s important for them to travel abroad.”

In the near term, Porter and Pacheco expect to see two permanent study abroad programs hosted by each college, with a variety of temporary program offerings on a yearly basis.