University expanding study abroad efforts

Posted: Thursday, 27 March 2014

TROY - Troy University has committed to international student education through joining the Institute for International Education's "Generation Study Abroad" initiative.

The move comes as part of IIE's attempt to double the number of U.S. students studying abroad by 2019.

"We began the deliberate process of internationalization of Troy University more than 20 years ago, concentrating on growing our enrollment of international students, which at that time numbered on 40," said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., Chancellor. "Troy University has made building stronger study abroad programs a key priority for of our strategic plan and IIE's Generation Study Abroad Challenge comes at an opportune time for our University."

Currently, slightly more than 2 percent of the University's students participate in study abroad opportunities, and TROY's Director of Study Abroad Dr. Orlando Pacheco said the goal by 2019 was set for at least 9 percent, the pledge made as part of the initiative.

Helping the University achieve that goal is the newly created Chancellor's Award for Global Competitiveness, that provides $750 in scholarship funding to qualifying students who participate in the study abroad program at TROY. Under the IIE's initiative, that funding could grow through Institute-sponsored grants of $10,000 per year for outstanding performance by Challenge member institutions.

The University has, in recent years, committed to emphasizing a culture of the "globally prepared student." It has established multi-discipline study abroad programs in each of its five colleges and has encouraged faculty to incorporate international engagement in the tenure and promotion process.

TROY is also taking steps to broaden its partnerships with universities abroad both in student and faculty exchanges, and by participating with other U.S. universities in programs such as IIE's Brazil International Academic Partnership Program in 2014.

"Troy University is establishing a program to break down the barriers to study abroad, which will result in substantial growth of the number of Trojans who gain this valuable international experience," Dr. Hawkins said. "Our University welcomes the opportunity to be included in the Generation Study Abroad Challenge."

Known as Alabama's "international university," almost 13 percent of the Troy Campus' enrollment – about 900 students – comes from 70 nations and speaks 80 languages. In addition, the University operates teaching sites in six nations outside the U.S., including sites in Vietnam where there are more than 1,000 TROY students.