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Initiatives in 2006 to Increase Student Diversity in Education Abroad

David Comp
International Higher Education Consulting

Academy for Educational Development (AED)

Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad

On May 2, 2006 the Academy for Educational Development (AED) organized a Colloquium on
Diversity in Education Abroad at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Colloquium was
held as part of the AED Center for Academic Partnerships new Education Abroad Initiative
<>. The AED Education Abroad Initiative is lead by consultant Carl
Herrin of Herrin Associates. The goals of the AED Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad
were to1:

1. To advance the understanding of the underlying factors that cause certain groups of
students to be underrepresented within the education abroad population;
2. To bring together a new constellation of interested stakeholders among higher
education generally and international educators specifically to review, discuss, and
recommend solutions to improving diversity in education abroad; and,
3. To initiate a new national effort to successfully address diversity in education abroad in
the immediate future.

The Colloquium proceedings are scheduled to be published in late fall of 2006. Additionally, the
keynote address by Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran, President of Kalamazoo College, as well as a
power point presentation and handout from the Colloquium are available online at

The AED Advisory Council on Education Abroad

Eyamba G. Bokamba – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Joseph L. Brockington – Kalamazoo College
Wayne Decker – University of Arizona
Margery A. Ganz – Spelman College
Devora Grynspan – Northwestern University
Judith T. Irwin – American Association of Community Colleges
Nicole Norfles – Council for Opportunity in Education
Norman J. Peterson – Montana State University
Susan M. Thompson – University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Institute of International Education (IIE)

Advisory Council on Increasing Diversity in Education Abroad (IDEA Council)

The three goals of the AED Colloquium on Diversity in Education Abroad were obtained from the AED
Center for Academic Partnerships Education Abroad Initiative website for the Colloquium at

On August 29, 2006 the Institute of International Education (IIE) announced the establishment of
the IIE Advisory Council on Increasing Diversity in Education Abroad (IDEA Council) to
IIENetwork members and the greater international education community. The goals of the IDEA
Council will focus on analyzing current practices in the field, publicizing and marketing efforts and
on financing study abroad opportunities. IDEA Council members will also work on identifying
new methods of reaching underrepresented students to make study abroad a reality for all students.2

IIE Advisory Council on Increasing Diversity in Education Abroad (IDEA Council)

Carole Artigiani - Global Kids, New York

Ambassador Charles Baquet, III - Xavier University
John Covington - Pueblo School District 60, Colorado
Margery Ganz - Spelman College
Evelyn Guzman - Brooklyn College of The City University of New York
Julian Johnson - Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, New York
José Mercadé - Glendale Community College
Nicole Norfles - The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education;
Helen Ochs - Hanover College
Kelli Pugh - Wayne State University
Christine Vogel - AFS Intercultural Programs USA
Brian Whalen – Dickinson College and The Forum on Education Abroad

How Diverse is Education Abroad – Demographic Data

The recent initiatives of both the Academy for Educational Development and the Institute of
International Education along with other major efforts such as the Project for Learning Abroad,
Training, and Outreach (PLATO) lead by Gary Rhodes at Loyola Marymount University which are
dedicated to increasing diversity in education abroad are leaders in this effort. The demographics
of U.S. students abroad have changed little since the Institute of International Education began
collecting this data for the 1993/1994 Open Doors Report. The following table provides a clear
picture of the diversity within education abroad over the past twelve years.

Historical Data Profile of U.S. Students Abroad3

Race/Ethnicity 1993/94 2004/05

Caucasian 83.8% 83.0%
Asian-American 5.0% 6.3%
Hispanic-American 5.0% 5.6%
African-American 2.8% 3.5%
Multiracial 3.1% 1.2%
Native American 0.3% 0.4%
Total U.S. Students Abroad 76,302 205,983

Description of IDEA Council’s goals and focus obtained from the August 29, 2006 edition of
IIE.Interactive sent to IIENetwork members.
Open Doors 2006, <>

Further evidence of the lack of diversity among U.S. students abroad is provided in the following
comparative data table.

Comparative Data by Percentage of Students4

U.S. Higher
U.S. Students U.S.
Race/Ethnicity Abroad Population
2004-2005 2000
Caucasian 83.0% 66.1% 75.1%
3.5% 12.5% 12.3%
5.6% 10.5% 12.5% **
Asian American 6.3% 6.4% *** 3.7% ***
Native American 0.4% 1.0% **** 0.9%
Multiracial 1.2% Not Available 2.4%
No Response X X

*Excludes Nonresident alien data

** U.S. Census data provides separate data on Hispanic/Latino populations
*** Includes Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations
**** Includes American Indian/Alaska Native populations

While the numbers of underrepresented students heading abroad for a portion of their higher
education are increasing each year the overall percentages have remained virtually the same.
Professionals in the field must make a concerted effort to increase the diversity of our students
heading abroad with a minimum goal of mirroring the demographics of U.S. higher education

© 2008 David J. Comp

Sources: U.S. Census 2000, <>; Open Doors 2006,
<>; National Center for Educational Statistics - Digest of
Education Statistics, 2005 <>.