IES Abroad 2015: A Year in Review

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Ashley Houston
January 28, 2016
IES Abroad's 2015 Year in Review
As we welcomed in the new year (and our Spring 2016 students), we reflected on 2015 and the many exciting and inspiring things that happened at IES Abroad. Here are just some of the many highlights in honor of #ThrowbackThursday:
  • 65th Anniversary: On September 19th, we celebrated our 65th Anniversary. In honor of this milestone, we are interviewing famous IES Abroad alumni in a campaign called 65 Years | 65 Faces. The interviews highlight how study abroad has impacted notable alumni both personally and professionally. Noteworthy features include former Secretary of State and current University of California President Janet Napolitano, writer and Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Irving, and more!
  • 50 Years in Nantes: In 1965, we opened our Nantes Center, and in April 2015, more than 40 of our Nantes alumni returned for a reunion weekend to kick off a year of celebration.
  • 25 Years in Beijing: We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our Beijing Center, and alumni from all classes are welcome to join us in Beijing from July 1-3, 2016 for a special alumni weekend.
  • Forum on Education Abroad QUIP Recognition: In 2010, we became the first organization to be QUIP (2A) recognized, and today we remain the only organization in this elite category. Our QUIP Interim Report was approved in late 2015. We are proud to continue to be in substantial conformity with the Forum’s Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, and demonstrating continued commitment to providing the highest quality programs.
  • Familiarization Trips: Our 2015 Familiarization Trips to IES Abroad Barcelona in June and both IES Abroad Paris Business & International Affairs and IES Abroad Milan in March gave Members, Associate Members, administrators, coordinators, and faculty members the opportunity to take an in-depth look at what we offer abroad.
  • Advisor Workshop Abroad: This year’s workshop enabled nine advisors the opportunity to visit our Berlin and Freiburg Centers, learn more about advising for discipline specific programs, and get to know IES Abroad more personally. 
  • $2.5+ Million: We awarded more than $2.5 million in financial aid and scholarships in 2015—the most awarded in our history. For 2016-17, we’ll offer more than $3 million!
  • We updated our financial aid program for the 2016-17 academic year. Starting in Fall 2016, our financial aid program will now offer:
- An increase in the automatic Public University Grants, from $1,500 to $2,000
- More semester need-based aid, up to $5,000
- More summer need-based aid, up to $1,000, including full-time summer internships
- More donor-funded scholarships, ranging up to $10,000
  • GCM Grosvenor Study Abroad Scholarship: Established by GCM Grosvenor, this new scholarship will provide $25,000 a year in study abroad scholarships for the next four years.
  • New Online Payment Option: We unveiled a new way for students to access invoices and submit online payments.
  • #GivingTuesday: We participated in #GivingTuesday, a global day of charitable giving, for the second year in a row. More than 90 donors gave in support of IES Abroad scholarships—the highest number of gifts we have ever received in a single day—meaning more scholarships for more deserving students!
  • Affiliation: We announced a new strategic affiliation with The Study Abroad Foundation (SAF), a not-for-profit based in Indianapolis, Indiana. 
  • Partnership: We partnered with Middlebury Interactive Language on their new French Language Academy in Québec City. 
  • Consortium: We welcomed 10 new members to our Academic Consortium in 2015:
- Framingham State University
- Bloomsburg University
- California Lutheran University 
- Meredith College
- Russell Sage College
- University of Tampa
- Westmont College
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry (ESF)
- Tuskegee University
  • Sponsorships: Demonstrating our support for the study abroad field, we co-sponsored the inaugural Somewhere Over the Rainbow Conference, IIE’s inaugural Summit on Generation Study Abroad Summit, Lessons from Abroad Conferences, the Diversity Abroad Conference, NAFSA National Conference, the Forum on Education Abroad Conference, the Minority-Serving Institutions Global Education Symposium, and the University of Pennsylvania Model United National Conference.
  • Innovation: We exhibited at the first-ever Virtual Study Abroad Fair, hosted by CollegeWeekLive, the Institute of International Education, and the U.S. Department of State.
  • Refugee Support: Our Centers abroad took an active role in the European Union’s refugee crisis—particularly our Vienna Center.
  • Dr. Mary M. Dwyer Received Honorary Degree: IES Abroad President and CEO Dr. Mary M. Dwyer received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree from Sewanee – the University of the South.
  • Dr. Michael Steinberg, Executive Vice President for Academic Programs, was honored by the Forum on Education Abroad with the Peter A. Wollitzer Award.
  • Joe Sevigny, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, was selected to participate in the 2015 Baden-Württemberg Seminar. Joe was one of 15 U.S.-based international education professionals selected to participate in the seminar, and the only participant from a study abroad provider.
  • 2nd Study Abroad Film Festival: Congratulations to Kyle Rodriguez (Buenos Aires, Spring 2015 | Occidental College), whose film, It’s Okay, won first place in our second IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival! (Check out our 2016 Call for Submissions)
  • Leadership Awards: Three prestigious leadership awards were given out at our Annual Conference to recognize study abroad professionals’ substantial contributions and achievements to the field:
- The Lifetime Achievement Award: Rob Hallworth, Director of Study Abroad at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
- The Professional Development Award: David Taylor, Director of Global Abroad Programs at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
- The Volunteer of the Year Award: Amy Lancaster, Dean of International Programs at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina. 
  • IES Abroad Faculty: Here’s a round-up of our 2014-15 Faculty Award Winners
  • Silver Trumpet Award Winner: Our Study Abroad Film Festival was honored with the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Silver Trumpet Award.
  • GoAbroad Innovation Awards: We were finalists for four GoAbroad Innovation Awards categories:
- Innovation in Diversity: University of Texas at Austin Customized Program: Cape Town Maymester Program for Traditionally Underrepresented Students
- Innovation in Marketing & Digital Media: 2014 Study Abroad Film Festival
- Innovative Student Video: Head-banging Around Europe by Andrew Brummer
- STA Travel Start the Adventure Award: Gretchen Cook-Anderson, Director of Diversity Recruiting and Advising
  • Ambassadors of the Year: Congratulations to Alyssa Suhm (Beijing, Spring 2013 | Villanova University) and Nikki Varitimidis (Rio de Janeiro, Spring 2013 | University of South Carolina), who were named 2015 Ambassadors of the Year.
  • Blogger of the Year: The talented Kimberly Webber (European Union, Spring 2015 | University of Puget Sound) was named 2014-15 Blogger of the Year for her insightful video blogs.
  • Photo Contest: We received the most votes ever (almost 12,500!) for our Spring and Summer 2015 Photo Contest.
  • 12 for 12 for 12 Programs: We launched our new 12 for 12 for 12 programs, offering a more affordable study abroad option to students—12 credits for 12 weeks for $12,000. These programs in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Rome, and Siena will begin this fall.
  • Price Reductions: We reduced 35 of our program prices for Spring and Summer 2016 in the hopes of making our study abroad programs even more accessible for students.
  • Centers
- Our new Nice Center on the French Riviera opened
- Our Paris Business & International Affairs Center moved to a new location in the 15th arrondissement
- Our Madrid Center moved down the street to the Colegio Mayor Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe 
- From new classroom furniture to roof-top terrace enhancements, we've gave our Rabat Center a facelift 
- Our Centers in Berlin and Barcelona received technology updates
  • New Center Directors: We welcomed three new Center Directors this year:
- Megan Markey, IES Abroad Dublin 
- Matthew Burton, IES Abroad Sydney
- Caleb Foale, IES Abroad Tokyo
  • New Programs: We launched nine new programs and three new internships for Summer and Fall 2015.
  • 96% Parent Approval Rate: Our annual parent survey showed that 96% of parents would recommend their students’ IES Abroad program, and 21 of our Centers received a 100% approval rating!
  • Embark to Excel Virtual Conference: We co-hosted the first virtual conference on study abroad, diversity, and global leadership in collaboration with Diversity Abroad. More than 200 attendees joined us for the full-day conference, and 2,000+ visitors joined in for at least one session. The webinars for all sessions are available if you missed out.
  • Membership Survey Results: Our 2014-15 Membership Survey was the first-of-its-kind to measure diversity efforts in study abroad, and can be used by institutions to advocate for additional campus resources to support diversity in study abroad.
  • HACU Conference: Two of our Diversity staff members hosted a workshop at the 29th Annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Conference in Miami this October.
  • HBCU Partnership: We added Tuskegee University, part of the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU), to our Consortium. We are proud to be partnered with nine HBCUs designated by the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
  • Revamped Program Finder: Our Program Finder received a facelift last fall, enabling students to find and narrow programs by more categories, and compare programs side-by-side.
  • Improved Mobile Experience: We enhanced our website so it looks even better on mobile devices to maximize students’ online experience.
  • Virtual Tours: We launched virtual tours for London and Buenos Aires this year. Get a sneak peak of what students experience with us abroad! 
Here are a few things you can look forward to in 2016:
  • New programs:
FALL 2016 – Our new 12 for 12 for 12 Programs
  • Familiarization Trips: In Spring 2016, staff and faculty from Consortium Member and Associate Member schools will visit Dublin (March), Rome (April), and Shanghai (May).
  • Advisor Workshop Abroad (AWA): Our third annual AWA will be held in Spring 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to the overviews and site visit agenda, the foci of the workshop this year are curriculum integration and advising students.
  • Save the Date: Our Annual Conference will take place October 5-7, 2016, in Chicago (a week earlier than normal).
We hope you’re as excited about 2016 as we are, and we hope to see you at various conferences, fairs, and events throughout the year. 
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Ashley Houston

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