the univeristy of texas at austin

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Creating Access to Global Education Symposium

CAGE -- Creating Access to Global Education Symposium 2015 is in the planning stages.  

This year's event will take place Friday, September 25, 2015, and the tentative focus will address creating access and mobility to and from Latin America.  More details to come.  Please review event plans from 2013 for an example of the symposium framework.

CAGE 2013

The first day of the symposium takes place on Friday, September 20, 2013 at The Texas Union Ballroom on campus (UNB 3.202) and focuses on strategies to increase diversity in study abroad through panels and discussion featuring a mix of faculty and staff from UT Austin and visiting experts. The symposium will provide an important forum for UT Austin’s faculty, academic advisors, and staff to foster dialog and mutual understanding on our campus of the barriers which prevent equal study abroad participation among our students. Presentations by industry leaders and academic partners on relevant topics will create a unique opportunity for participants to learn and discuss best practices around equity and access in education abroad. Participants can expect to learn about the role they can play in increasing access to study abroad and can exchange ideas and expertise with participants from other organizations and universities as well.

Study abroad participation increases students’ chances for success throughout their academic careers, including better academic performance and a higher likelihood of graduation.  Ultimately, an international experience can improve job prospects for future graduates. For these critical reasons, the International Office has made it a priority to provide equal access to these opportunities among groups traditionally under-represented in study abroad.

CAGE Presentations

Welcome: Study Abroad at The University of Texas at Austin

Session 1: Academic Integration of Study Abroad

Session 2: Engaging First-Generation College Students in Study Abroad

Session 3: Males Students and Study Abroad | Session 3 Hand-outs

Session 4: Advising and Programming


Please fill out a brief survey to provide your feedback on the symposium.


Registration for UT Austin faculty and staff is free. The registration fee for non-UT Austin participants is $50, which can be paid via TX Shop.

Bios & Resources

Click here for presenter biographies.

Click here for resources for out-of-town guests.

CAGE Schedule

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 - The Texas Union Ballroom - UNB 3.202

8:30am             Registration


9:00-9:30am     Welcome - Dr. Heather Barclay Hamir, Director of Study Abroad, UT Austin International Office


9:30-10:45am   Session 1 - Academic Integration of Study Abroad

Presenters: Margaret Storm McCullers (chair), Curriculum Integration Coordinator, Study Abroad; Dr. Michael Anderson, Director, International Relations & Global Studies, Melissa Sassi, Program Coordinator, Study Abroad; Nathan Vickers, Senior Academic Advisor, Department of Government

Description: As the university works to raise four-year graduation rates by 2016, the academic relevance of study abroad coursework is critical. Collaboration between Study Abroad and academic departments on curriculum integration projects serves as a primary strategy to removing academic barriers to study abroad through promotion of a select group of programs offering courses that meet major requirements. Intentional study abroad program design further expands opportunities for students to study abroad as an integrated part of their degree plan.

This session shares insights from key participants of successful curriculum integration projects over the past two years at UT Austin and highlights new program development, including the new semester plus exchange program model, as a means to align study abroad with degree plans.



Session 2 – Engaging First-Generation College Students in Study Abroad

Presenters: Mona Syed (chair), Program Coordinator, Study Abroad; Michelle Tolan, Field Director for Latin America, Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University; student panel

Description: While all students stand to benefit from global academic experiences, first-generation college students tend to have skills and traits that positively impact the study abroad experience. At the same time, this heterogeneous student population is less likely to have familial support for participation and is more likely to be financially and academically risk averse.

This session highlights emerging best practices at UT Austin and IFSA-Butler which foster higher participation among first-generation college students through new partnerships, programming, funding, and student support services.  A panel of first-generation college students demonstrates how successful campus collaborations can facilitate access to study abroad for this population.

12:30-1:30pm Lunch Keynote: Seven Ways to Diversify Study Abroad Programs

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Leonard Moore, Associate Vice President, UT Austin Division of Diversity & Community Engagement

Description: The keynote address will explore the seven key components one needs to attract a racially-diverse cohort for a study abroad program. This talk will be based on the UT Beijing Social Entrepreneurship Maymester Program that included 38 undergraduate students during the summer of 2013. Of the 38 students, 32 were African American or Latino.


Session 3 – Understanding the Decision to Participate: Insights into Men and Education Abroad

Presenter: Dr. James M. Lucas, Assistant Dean of Global Education and Curriculum, Michigan State University

Description: Although male students are not under-represented in many aspects of higher education, they have historically exhibited significantly lower rates of participation in education abroad when compared to their female peers. As educators seek to provide all U.S. college students with a global perspective, it is important to understand why such a large population is missing education abroad opportunities. The issue of male students also intersects with other under-represented identities, such as athletes, STEM students, and racial-ethnic groups.

This session will share research on male engagement in college, as well as a mixed-methods study conducted at Michigan State University. Participants will engage in dialogue around the research and will focus on practical actions they can take in their own work to reach out to and engage male students.



3:15-4:30pm Session 4 – Best Practices in Advising & Programming to Foster Diversity in Study Abroad


Presenters: Monya Lemery (chair), Program Development Team Leader, Study Abroad; Dr. Aileen Bumphus, Director of Gateway Scholars Program, Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement; Curtiss Stevens, Program Coordinator, Study Abroad

Description: Removing disparities in study abroad participation among under-represented students requires collaborative programming and advising strategies that acknowledge the experiences and concerns of the students. After attending the 2011 CAGE symposium, the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, in partnership with Study Abroad, began taking small steps which have led to promising results.

This session highlights programming and advising strategies that have fostered diversity in study abroad participation. Through tailored programming and advising, panelists illustrate how thoughtful efforts from various stakeholders across campus can better serve the needs of the diverse University of Texas student body.

5:00-7:00pm Symposium Networking Reception - Texas Union Underground

This casual, end-of-symposium reception will coincide with the Fund for Education Abroad Bowl-A-Thon designed to raise funding to create a $5,000 Central Texas study abroad scholarship.There will be refreshments and the opportunity to cheer on bowlers and network with symposium participants.

The purpose of the scholarship is to provide a study abroad opportunity in a non-traditional destination to an under-represented student enrolled in a Central Texas institution. If you are interested in bowling for the cause, donating, or doing your own fundraising, please contact Riane Corter for further instructions ( or visit the fundraising page here. All levels of participation are welcome!

If you need accommodations for the symposium, please email Margaret McCullers or call (512) 475-8769 five business days in advance of the symposium.

Presenter Biographies

Dr. Michael R. Anderson is the Director of the International Relations and Global Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, where he also serves as a Lecturer. His research interests focus on international organization in the Pacific region and trans-Pacific intellectual cooperation in the twentieth century. Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. from the Department of History at UT Austin in 2009. In August 2013, he traveled to France as the director of the first-ever study abroad program designed specifically for IRG majors, "UT in Paris." He is at present working on a textbook for M.E. Sharpe provisionally entitled The Political and Economic Foundations of Global Studies.


Dr. Heather Barclay Hamir has served as Director of Study Abroad in the International Office at The University of Texas at Austin since 2008. In this role she oversees office operations, develops policy related to study abroad activity at the university, and works with faculty, staff, and students to achieve the office’s vision of equal access to education abroad opportunities for a diverse population of students.  Heather completed her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Higher Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and holds masters’ degrees in College Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies from Oregon State University.  Her dissertation research examined the positive relationship between study abroad participation, retention, and degree completion at UT Austin – findings which now guide the development of strategic partnerships and programming at the university. Heather is an active member of several international education organizations and currently holds elected positions on the Forum on Education Abroad’s Forum Council and the Academic Consortium Board of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).  Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin, Heather served as Director of Study Abroad & Exchange Programs at Central Washington University in Washington State.

Dr. Aileen Bumphus is the Executive Director of the Gateway Scholars Program in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE), which is one of the units in The Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. In her role, she oversees all programming and academic support components of the program, which is designed to maximize the academic success and social connections of new first-generation and underrepresented students at UT Austin. Her program served over 300 students last year and will double in size for the upcoming 2013-14 academic year. She is a strong advocate for study abroad and has been collaborating with the UT Study Abroad office to ensure that students in her program have complete access to the many resources available to enhance the likelihood that they study abroad during their college experience. As a first-generation college student and the only one in her family to attend college, she understands first-hand the challenges facing first-generation college students. Dr. Bumphus served on the planning team to launch the first-ever Study Abroad experience in LCAE. As a result, the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence successfully took a record number of students to Beijing, China during the 2013 spring Maymester.

Monya Lemery is the Study Abroad Program Development Team Leader in the International Office at The University of Texas at Austin. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the coordination and development of faculty-led programs at the University. She supervises a team of Program Coordinators who coordinate programs offered by the International Office, and she liaises with faculty and coordinators throughout the University who offer programs by their department, college or school. Her team is involved in designing several faculty-led programs specifically geared towards students underrepresented in study abroad. Monya coordinates a series of Diversity Workshops for staff development within the Study Abroad section in order to improve the office’s service toward an increasingly diverse student population.  Monya holds a Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management with a specialization in International Education from the School for International Training and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Lewis & Clark College.  Prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin, Monya served as the Latin America Regional Director, IE3 Global Internships Program for the Oregon University System and the Assistant Director of the International Degree Program at Oregon State University.

Dr. James (Jim) Lucas has worked in a variety of capacities at Michigan State University for the last 13 years, including work as an instructor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and in the Office of Study Abroad. Jim currently works in the Office of Undergraduate Education, part of the Provost Office, on issues related to campus internationalization, intercultural development, and global education. In this capacity, Jim consults with campus faculty, staff, and departments about the undergraduate curriculum and helps these stakeholders think about ways to connect courses and curricula to the institutions learning outcomes, assessment methods to evidence this learning, and experiential opportunities that enhance the undergraduate experience. In cooperation with the Office of Study Abroad, Jim coordinates MSU’s first-year seminar abroad program, which provides incoming MSU students the opportunity to have an initial, short-term international experience before starting classes at MSU. Jim has taught programs in Ireland, New Zealand, and Dubai and helped create programs in locations such as Japan, Italy, Brazil, and Cuba. Beyond his current position, Jim also teaches two classes on campus and leads a summer program to Australia related to sustainability. He also consults with professional organizations and universities on issues related to campus internationalization, study abroad academics, and diversity issues related to study abroad. Jim recently won the 2013 H. Paul Roberts Award for his service to study abroad in the College.


Margaret Storm McCullers is the Study Abroad Coordinator of Curriculum Integration and Special Projects in the International Office at The University of Texas at Austin. In this role, she is responsible for managing curriculum integration projects with academic departments to increase academic access to study abroad. She also coordinates several initiatives designed to increase access to study abroad for underrepresented students, including scholarship programming exclusively for first-generation college students. Margaret served on the 2013 Diversity Abroad Conference Planning Committee and is currently a member of the Forum on Education Abroad’s Advocacy Committee – Diversity Working Group. In 2012, Margaret was awarded the UT Austin Academic Counselors Association Taking Initiative and Creating Positive Change Award for her work on curriculum integration. Prior to joining UT Austin, Margaret worked at the University of Georgia coordinating international programming for honors scholars, where she co-led trips to Costa Rica, England, Fiji, and Jordan. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in higher education administration at UT Austin.

Dr. Leonard N. Moore, 42, currently serves as the associate vice-president for academic diversity initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin, and he is a full professor in the department of history. The Cleveland, Ohio, native received his undergraduate degree in 1993 from Jackson State University and his Ph.D. in 1998 from The Ohio State University. In 2007 he was recruited to the University of Texas at Austin. On the administrative side he manages a large portfolio of academic programs through three centers: The Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence; the Longhorn Center for Civic Engagement; and the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships. He also teaches two courses: Race in the Age of Obama, and History of the Black Power Movement, both of which have enrollment of over 500 students this semester. Professor Moore’s professional interests have recently shifted to the area of social entrepreneurship and economic development. This summer he launched a study abroad program in Beijing with 38 students, 32 of whom were either African American or Latino, and in 2014 he will take a group of students to study economic development in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. He believes that low-income, high-density communities will only thrive when engaged citizens launch innovative and creative ventures in these depressed areas. He has been married for 12 years and he and his wife have three children ages 11, 9, and 7.

Melissa Sassi has been a Study Abroad Program Coordinator for faculty-led programs at The University of Texas at Austin for almost six years. During this time, she has helped developed team policies and procedures in order to more effectively serve faculty and students. She has coordinated programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Melissa comes to Austin with expertise in North Africa and the North African diaspora, having worked in France and North Africa from 2001 to 2007. Melissa studied abroad at the University of Jordan and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public affairs at UT’s LBJ School.

Curtiss O. Stevens is a Study Abroad Program Coordinator in the International Office at The University of Texas at Austin where he is responsible for collaborating with departments on campus and international partners to provide innovative, academically-relevant programs and exceptional services to students. He also oversees exchange and affiliated study abroad programs in Spain and France. Curtiss joined the UT Austin International Office in July 2011, after 10 years of living in Europe. In Spain, he was an assistant director of admissions and an ESL instructor for several English academies, and was also a professional basketball trainer. His teaching and administration experiences have been at The University of Texas at Austin, Valparaiso University, Western Michigan University, Indiana University, and Purdue University. He earned a Master of Arts in Geographic Education and Research at Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography at Valparaiso University.

Mona Syed is a Study Abroad Program Coordinator in The University of Texas at Austin International Office and is responsible for managing exchange and affiliated programs in the Middle East and Asia. She currently leads the Freeman Initiative for Internships in Asia and coordinates alumni mentoring initiatives in the Asian region. In addition, Mona is a cohort leader for the 2013 First Abroad Scholars. In this capacity she provides guidance to 45 first-generation college students as they explore study abroad opportunities. Prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin, she worked as a college instructor and coordinator for an international experiential learning program for pre-service teachers at Indiana University Bloomington.  Mona earned a Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Comparative and International Education from Indiana University Bloomington.

Michelle Tolan is the Field Director for Diversity Access at the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA-Butler). In this role, she manages outreach to diverse student populations, liaises with relevant US university stakeholders, and maintains IFSA-Butler's institutional education to better serve students from historically underrepresented demographics. As chair of the IFSA-Butler’s National Advisory Committee scholarship working group, Michelle designed IFSA-Butler's newest scholarship innovations, Fill the GAP(Global Account Program) and the First Generation College Student Scholarship Program. As a supplement to these scholarship programs, and as a resource to advising offices, she also created IFSA-Butler's "First Generation College Students" and "Fundraising Study Abroad" Toolkits. Prior to her role in diversity access, Michelle was the Field Director for Programs in Latin America and Spain at IFSA-Butler, and continues to serve as primary university liaison for Spanish-speaking programs. A first generation college student herself, Michelle holds an MA in Hispanic Literature.

Nathan Vickers has served as a Senior Academic Advisor in the Department of Government at The University of Texas at Austin since 2003. Supporting one of the largest single departments on campus, Nathan works with many students to help them integrate study abroad into their degree plan to ensure the courses they take abroad will fulfill degree requirements. In 2012, he played a crucial role in the Government-Study Abroad curriculum integration project, which resulted in an academically-relevant study abroad by major guide for students. Nathan served as the President of the UT Austin Academic Counselors Association in 2012-2013 and was recently awarded the organization’s 2013 Service to the Advising Profession Award. Nathan earned a Master of Science in Academic Advising from Kansas State University.

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