We’re excited to congratulate our very own Rob Hallworth on his election to the Forum on Education Abroad’s Forum Council!
Currently the Vice President & Deputy Director of Academic Programs at IES Abroad, Rob has long been a leader in the field of study abroad. He has served on several of NAFSA: Association of International Educator’s National and Regional Teams, the Forum on Education Abroad’s Trained Facilitator Team, and he has presented more than 35 times. Rob has also served on IES Abroad’s Academic Council, Board of Directors, Institutional Membership Committee, Task Force on Diversity in Study Abroad, Marketing Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Program Planning Committee, and was elected Chair of the IES Abroad General Conference. In 2015, Rob was awarded the IES Abroad Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to the study abroad field. Rob is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his B.A. in History. He completed an M.A. in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University and studied abroad at L’viv State University in Ukraine.
Part of The Forum on Education Abroad, the Forum Council is an elected group of 15 study abroad professionals who work with Forum Staff to produce member programs, services, and benefits. Rob began his three-year term on the Forum Council earlier this month, and we were happy to catch up with him to learn about his new role on the Forum Council, his study abroad career, and more.
IES Abroad: What drew you to a career in study abroad?
Rob Hallworth (RH): I went to graduate school for Russian Studies and thought that my career path would be in foreign relations. I finished my Master's right around the time the Cold War was ending, and federal funding for Russia-related projects started to dry up. I took a job as a study abroad adviser at my alma mater, the University of New Hampshire (UNH), for what I thought would be a year or two, and I absolutely loved what I was doing. I remained in the field at UNH, Salisbury University and The George Washington University (GW) for the next 20 years before joining IES Abroad in January of this year.
IES Abroad: Tell us about what your involvement has been with the Forum to date. What are you most looking forward to in your three-year term on the Forum Council?
RH: I am looking forward to working on the Forum Council. Each member has duties related to a subcommittee. I won't know which subcommittee I'll be a part of until the Council meets in mid-July, but all of them are interesting and important to the Forum's work.
I've been involved with the Forum on a number of different levels over the past 10 years or so. My involvement accelerated after joining GW. Since 2007, I have conducted a dozen workshops on the Standards of Good Practice for the Forum, presented or chaired six sessions at their conferences, conducted a webinar on the Forum's Code of Ethics, and hosted the 2012 Beyond the Basics of Health and Safety Institute at GW.
IES Abroad: Throughout your study abroad career, you’ve been involved in IES Abroad (and we’re so happy to have you here!), what drew you to our various committees and ultimately your current role?
RH: I have been sending students on IES Abroad programs since working at UNH in the late 1990s, so I have always been familiar with the high-caliber programs that IES Abroad offers. I have been involved with program provider governance bodies for many years as it's a unique way for a university representative to have an influence on program development, while gaining insight into how decisions are made and priorities set.
IES Abroad offers many such opportunities and once I started to get involved, I just continued to do so in a number of different capacities until I was eventually elected Chair of the General Conference. That gave me the opportunity to participate in a number of ways, including the Board of Directors, the Academic Council, the Strategic Planning Committee, and the Program Planning Committee, to name just a few. When the opportunity arose to join IES Abroad, it was an easy decision as I already knew the organization and its tremendous staff and leadership team quite well.
IES Abroad: What has the transition been like to move to “the other side of the desk” (from school to provider)?
RH: After 20 years at universities, it has been a bit of an adjustment. It helps that I have worked closely with IES Abroad and am familiar with our programs and procedures. As someone who has worked extensively at universities (both public and private), I think my perspective can be a useful one, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow in my new role.
IES Abroad: What do you think are the “hot topics” in the study abroad field right now?
RH: Some topics, such as health and safety, are always going to be hot as they need to be first and foremost in our program planning and operations. Other topics that are attracting a lot of attention include the continuously growing demand for internships, providing accessible study abroad opportunities to underrepresented groups of students, and how global political trends will affect student mobility in the United States and, really, all over the world.
IES Abroad: Where is your favorite place to which you have traveled abroad, and where would you like to go next that you haven’t been to before?
RH: I have been very fortunate to be able to see many wonderful parts of the world, but I believe Paris is my favorite. It is so rich in history and culture, not to mention being the most beautiful city in the world (in my opinion).
As for where I'd like to go, despite the fact that I studied Russian language, history, and literature for a number of years, studied abroad in Ukraine and have traveled to most of Eastern Europe and various parts of the former Soviet Union like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, I have never been to Russia. I need to get there at some point soon.
IES Abroad: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
RH: Wow. It's hard to pick only one that is most important, but I would say that it is crucial to remember that even though I have been working in study abroad for 20 years, the experience of each student is that student's first experience with study abroad; it's my responsibility to do what I can to make it as educational and enriching as possible.
Thank you, Rob!
Want to know more about our Advisors and Faculty? Check out the IES Abroad Advisors and Faculty page.