Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thank you to David J. Smith for bringing domestic student exchange to the conversation on global initiatives in Getting to “E Pluribus Unum”. As president of the nonprofit National Student Exchange organization and a former NSE campus coordinator, I shared the following comments.
National Student Exchange was founded in 1968, a time when our nation was searching to understand its identity, history, and how differences fit into the idea of American culture. What began as three institutions exchanging seven students has grown into a premier network of 160 colleges and universities exchanging 2,000 students annually throughout the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
Initiatives to enhance global engagement often overlook the diversity of North America in their quest. Scholarships and fellowships that promote international education are rarely available for domestic study away. Domestic exchanges seldom satisfy core or general educational requirements for global engagement or cultural studies, despite their cultural breadth.
Cultural agility can be greatly enhanced crossing state and provincial borders, not just oceans. NSE member campuses report domestic study away as a high impact practice supporting student satisfaction and persistence. Increasing populations of underrepresented and first-generation students are choosing NSE study away, emphasizing the need for access and choice in these opportunities. As noted by Sobania and Braskamp (2009), recent college graduates are more likely to have a post-college career with diverse colleagues from their own country than from other parts of the world.
NSE campuses range in enrollment from 600 to more than 50,000 students. In addition to AAU Research I universities, NSE member campuses include:
12 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)
21 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI)
7 Urban 13 universities
14 Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)
As noted, succeeding in our political and global reality requires professionals who can operate effectively and empathetically in cross-cultural and international environments. National Student Exchange and domestic study away programs are not simply study abroad alternatives or preparatory opportunities; they are academic and personal experiences to be celebrated and encouraged for the dimension they bring to college students, degree programs, our workforce, and communities.
Sobania, N. & Braskamp, L. A. (2009). Study abroad or study away: It’s not merely semantics. Peer Review 11 (4).
It’s the end of 2016 and by most accounts, many are ready to see it in the rearview mirror. As conflicting as this year has been, I had wonderful opportunities for travel and forging a new professional path. It was a year of challenges, sure, but it included great time with mentors, friends, and family.
And so onward… we rouse the chase, and wake the slumbering morn of 2017. See you there!
Today, I began a new chapter in my career as president of the National Student Exchange (NSE). A not-for-profit education consortium with 170 member campuses throughout the United States and Canada, NSE facilitates the academic exchange of 2,200 undergraduate students annually.
Why encourage study away?
- 58% of students go to a college within 100 miles of their hometown
- 72% of students stay in-state for college
- Only 11% of students choose a campus 500 miles away or further
We have a great big, beautiful country (and continent) full of people, culture, and adventure. Encourage your students to get out there and see it.
August 21, 1995 was the first day of the fall semester at Iowa State University. In addition to being the beginning of a great academic year, it was also the first day at Iowa State for the inaugural class of students in the Hixson Opportunity Awards and was my first day as director of the program.
It has been a joy to welcome twenty-one classes of Hixson Scholars to this amazing university. Iowa State has been a fantastic place to work and I have loved being part of such a dedicated community of students, colleagues, and alumni.
I will step away from my daily role with the Hixson Program at the end of July to become president of the National Student Exchange consortium. I am lucky to continue as a member of the Hixson Program Advisory Board and guest speaker in Hixson Seminar.
My dear friend and assistant director, Allison Severson, will take the reins of the Hixson Program. Allie joined us as a grad student in 2010, and then full time in 2011. She will become director of the Hixson Program and Iowa State NSE on August 1. Allison is the perfect choice to lead the third decade of the Hixson Program. Our students will be in good hands.
Join us to celebrate on Wednesday, July 20 from 2-3:30 PM in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center atrium. There will be cake!
A while back I hinted at a new opportunity that would be headed my way. After months of discussions and negotiations I am very pleased to announce that I am the new vice president of National Student Exchange (NSE). The NSE appointment is half time allowing a continuation of current responsibilities with my university.
NSE is a not-for profit education consortium that provides exchange and study away opportunities to students enrolled at its 170 member colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Established in 1968, NSE has provided exchange opportunities to more than 110,000 students. I helped to initiate the program on our campus in 1997 and have been the NSE Coordinator for 18 years. In this position, I have served on NSE’s governing board, mentored new coordinators, and have been a regular presenter on assessment and best practices at NSE’s annual placement conference.
Of course, an opportunity like this could not happen without partnership and support from my university. I am very grateful to my colleagues and supervisors who have helped me navigate this new leadership adventure. I am certain we will find many rewards.