Butler University held its first study abroad fair in recent memory this fall. A faculty member promoting his program in London reported that there had not been a study abroad fair in his 30-year time at Butler.
According to Calie Florek, a Study Abroad Advisor at Butler’s Center for Global Education, 40 percent of students study abroad during their time at Butler University, sending roughly 200 students abroad for a semester each year and 350 every summer.
“The number of faculty members involved in the creation of customized courses abroad has increased in the past three years, nearly tripling the number of students who go abroad on faculty-led programs,” says Jill McKinney, Butler University’s Director of Study Abroad, and member of IFSA’s NAC Executive Committee. “Furthermore, the types of study abroad programs through providers have expanded in both location and creative academic focus. Therefore, hosting a study abroad fair seemed to be good way to allow students to see all their options, and maybe even plan multiple times abroad! Nearly 300 students came to this first study abroad fair, which highlighted 17 faculty-led programs and 13 study abroad providers.”
In addition to having a presence at the fair, IFSA maintains a close academic partnership with Butler University, who ensures that our programs are held to a high level of academic rigor, administers transcripts for IFSA programs, and collaborates alongside IFSA in the field of higher education. IFSA also works with Butler to design and offer custom programs.
“Butler University has been a proud partner of IFSA for 30 years,” says McKinney. “IFSA was founded in 1988 at Butler University and over time, the two organizations have maintained a close and mutually beneficial connection.
“The university takes our role seriously, reviewing IFSA programs and courses prior to launch and offering academic rigor and integrity,” says McKinney. “The relationship with IFSA is integral to the fabric of the strengths and ideals at Butler. Representatives from the university serve on IFSA advisory panels, the National Advisors Council Executive Committee, and the Board of Trustees.”
“IFSA and Butler’s relationship is symbiotic and so unique,” elaborates Florek. “We rely on IFSA’s expertise in certain areas of the world to produce great programs for our students. We know when our students go on IFSA programs that the Indy office staff and the on-site staff take such great care of our students during this transformational part of their life.”
Butler University and IFSA view study abroad as a high impact practice, as identified by the AAC&U, as it shapes student’s futures and fosters their educational career.
“Built into the fabric of Butler University is an emphasis on international education,” says McKinney. “On campus, our faculty intentionally created a CORE curriculum that academically requires all students to engage with globally-focused content, through our Global and Historical Studies requirement, our foreign language requirement, and our new Social Justice and Diversity requirement. Students know from their first academic advising appointment that they will encounter international content during their four years at Butler.
“Additionally, the university is currently steered by the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan whose mission is, in part, to be ‘an innovative leader in the creation and delivery of transformative, student-centered learning experiences that prepare graduates to make a meaningful impact on the world,’” says McKinney. “As a result, this institutional commitment is evident in a robust offering of study abroad opportunities that even prospective students know they will have available to them at Butler.”
IFSA was proud to participate in Butler’s first study abroad fair. They join the hundreds of institutions that utilize a similar approach to promote study abroad each fall. IFSA attends more than 200 fairs coast to coast between August and November.