2020 IFSA Conference

IFSA Conference 2020

Watch our video to learn more about the academic nature of the IFSA Conference

Imagining Our Reach:

Elevating the Enduring Impact of Education Abroad

The 2020 IFSA Conference will explore the enduring and multifaceted impact(s) of education abroad on the students, institutions, and communities we serve. As a high-impact educational practice, our field often cites the research connecting global learning with student success, but are we imagining together just how impactful education abroad could be for our students if we structured opportunities with greater intent? What benefits could materialize if we approach our work with deliberate focus on students’ futures, and what could that mean for the communities, partnerships, and collaborators we can involve in our work?

Come prepared to engage in a wide range of topics exploring the long-term effects of education abroad. Examine how study abroad professionals can influence future student outcomes through programming, structures, and support and leave considering new challenges and concrete ideas to pilot.

Conference Approach
The IFSA Conference challenges you to explore one theme in depth, using an interactive workshop style to engage around the primary aspects of the topic. Conference days are varied, with short Ed Talks highlighting one perspective, and Lightning Rounds offering you the opportunity to choose between several sessions. Through it all, we connect, collaborate, and contribute to learn with and from you.

Plenary Speaker

Debra Humphreys, Ph.D.
Vice President of Strategic Engagement
Lumina Foundation

Dr. Humphreys will explore the critical importance of education on students, societies, and global communities facing the economic, political, and environmental issues of our time.

Dr. Debra Humphreys is a national leader in higher education and philanthropy with 30 plus years of experience working on policy, advocacy, curriculum and faculty development, liberal arts education, diversity, inclusion, and student success.

As Vice President of Strategic Engagement at Lumina Foundation, she leads the foundation’s strategic communications and stakeholder engagement efforts, deploying a wide array of research-based approaches to influence the national dialogue about higher education. Dr. Humphreys also has developed a body of work focused on linking reform efforts related to quality education and reforms that advance equity in student success. Prior to her work at Lumina, she served more than 20 years in a variety of leadership positions at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

For her entire career, Dr. Humphreys has led efforts to redefine quality in higher education to ensure continued support for the sector and its capacity to serve as both a public and private good and as a catalyst for economic vitality, and informed democratic participation and engagement. She has published widely on higher education policy, institutional reform, collaborative leadership, diversity and equity in higher education, the changing nature of the workplace, and women’s studies. Dr. Humphreys holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University.

Call for Ideas

Collecting critical thought and direction from the smartest colleagues we know (you) is our first step in co-creating the conference we all want to attend.

Whether you’re ready to present your idea or just want to share a concept you’d like to see included, we’d love to hear from you. Some key questions to consider are:

• How can our efforts maximize the enduring impact of education abroad?
• What are the long-term implications of education abroad for all constituents?
• How can the support structures we offer amplify return on the investment?
• What innovative program designs deliver lasting outcomes?
• How can study abroad be a career stepping stone?

Please submit your ideas on the enduring impact(s) of education abroad. We appreciate all fully-formed session proposals, as well as the “Have you thought about…?” and “You know who would be great for this…?” responses.

Submit your bright idea(s) by Dec. 18, 2019.

Top Reasons to Present at the IFSA Conference
The IFSA Conference is known for its multidimensional curation around one theme and provides presenters with the opportunity to:

• Contribute thought-leadership and shape thinking around a challenging topic for our field
• Share best practices with colleagues from around the U.S.
• Inspire and challenge assumptions in an environment that welcomes intellectual risk
• Be challenged to present innovative session formats like a Lightning Round or Ed Talk
• Enhance professional branding and profile

Selected presenters will receive free conference registration, meals, and complimentary hotel accommodations for two nights at The Alexander (non-local presenters only).

Details & Registration

Conference Dates
July 22 – 24, 2020

Online registration for the IFSA Conference opens Feb. 1, 2020

Hotel Information

The Alexander Hotel
333 South Delaware St.
Indianapolis, IN

Visit the hotel website to explore the hotel’s amenities and see its unique focus on art and design! The conference rate of $199 plus tax per night is available at The Alexander reservations website through June 22, 2020. For attendees interested in reducing individual hotel room expense, please contact us about sharing a double room with another attendee.

There is no registration fee for the IFSA Conference and meals are provided. Attendees are responsible for transportation and accommodation.


Check back frequently as we work to build the Conference agenda with session titles, session descriptions, and presenters over the upcoming months.


1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Registration
International Meet & Treat
with Resident Directors
2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Welcome & Kickoff Activity
3:30 – 4:45 p.m. WORKSHOP
5:00 – 6:30 p.m. PLENARY SESSION
Dr. Debra Humphreys
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Dinner
8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast with Resident Directors
8:45 – 9:15 a.m. ED TALKS
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. WORKSHOP
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 – 11:45 a.m. IFSA Updates
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Networking with IFSA
2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Break
2:15 – 2:45 p.m. LIGHTNING ROUNDS
(Choose 1 of 3 options)
2:45 – 3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:15 – 3:45 p.m. ED TALKS
3:45 – 5:00 p.m. WORKSHOP
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. The Alexander Art Tour (optional)
6:30 p.m. Reception & Dinner
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2020
8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 – 9:15 a.m. ED TALKS
9:15 – 10:30 a.m. WORKSHOP
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 – 11:15 a.m. LIGHTNING ROUNDS
(Choose 1 of 3 options)
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Connect. Collaborate. Contribute. 
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch & Departure

Reactions & Reviews


The IFSA conference provides many opportunities for deep discussions about how we can work together to increase the value and impact of education abroad for all of our students. The conversations I have at this conference provide me with ideas and motivation to continue to strive to make education abroad the best that it can be.
—David Wick, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Accessible, practical, perfect time of year, and you’ll leave with tools and knowledge you can implement right away or within the year.
—Michael Rainaldi, Oberlin College

This was my first education abroad related conference and I was extremely impressed with the friendliness and willingness to engage of everyone at the conference. I loved being able to walk up to a table of complete strangers at mealtimes at the IFSA conference, ask if I could join, and have a really interesting conversation.
—Lina Heaster-Ekholm, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

IFSA Conference 2019

Check out all the details of the 2019 IFSA Conference including sessions, presenters, special activities, and photos.