2019-20 Annual Report – Study Abroad


The Office of Study Abroad at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock encourages students to expand their educational experiences and intellectual perspectives by participating in a Study Abroad experience. Through study abroad programs, students actively participate in new cultures and experience critical, first-hand engagement with global challenges, which in turn, help them become effective and influential leaders in our global society. UA Little Rock Study Abroad seeks to engage the diverse UA Little Rock student population to become intentional learners who have a heightened sense of global awareness.

Summary Narrative

1) Enhance recruitment and retention efforts to increase enrollment

Study Abroad has united with Student Orientation and Transitions and Ask UA Little Rock to form the Trojan Transition and Assistance Center.  This unit will work with the other Enrollment Management units to get students from the point of admission to census date through outreach campaigns and programming.

2) Strengthen student-friendly operations and customer service

We worked with students in the Computer Science Department to choose a new application management system for study abroad students.

3) Improve diversity and inclusion efforts to provide a safe and inclusive environment for students

One of the main goals of the Office of Study Abroad is to increase participation in international experiences by underrepresented students, and in Fall 2019, we excelled at this goal. This cohort consisted of 5 students of color, 3 of the 5 were male, and 3 of the 5 were STEM majors.

4) Align financial and human resources to operate more effectively and efficiently

The Office of Study Abroad ended our 5 year contract with Terra Dotta, the study abroad application management system, to move to a cheaper, more student and staff friendly option.

5) Promote student development, engagement, and leadership

Study Abroad posted 12 information sessions during this academic year and had approximately 30 attendees. During these sessions, we utilized study abroad alumni to present on their study abroad experience. These sessions were well received by prospective study abroad students and will be continued in the future.

Study Abroad staff presented 15 times to classes, student organizations, and groups as requested.

At A Glance

After a blockbuster fall semester, the Office of Study Abroad had a tumultuous spring and summer, due to the negative impacts on international travel due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

  • The Office of Study Abroad had 70 students participate in an international experience summer 2019, fall 2019, and spring 2020.
  • Of these 70 students, 6 participated in an international internship, 28 participated in a faculty-led program, and the remaining 36 participated in an individual experience.
  • We had 30 students who were planning to participate in a spring break program, but those were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Students studied abroad in 17 different countries, with Spain being the most popular.

Assessment 1


Increase student participation in international education experiences by 3% in 2019-20.

Type of assessment (learning outcome or operational)


Activity or experience being assessed

Students participating in a study abroad experience.

Assessment artifacts


Time period assessment was done

July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020


During Summer 2019. Fall 2019, and Spring 2020 70 Students Studied Abroad.

Our Fall 2019 student cohort was special. All 5 students who studied abroad were non-white, 3 of the 5 were male, and 3 of the 5 were STEM majors. These are all underrepresented student populations in study abroad, so we are elated at this accomplishment.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, spring 2020 study abroad was prematurely cancelled, spring break 2020 study abroad was cancelled, and summer 2020 study abroad was cancelled. These are traditionally our most popular semesters for students to study abroad. The global pandemic took a major toll on our study abroad participation.

Continuous improvement process

We have reviewed and updated our risk management portion of our student handbook and our emergency response guide for any future pandemic related program cancellations. This was completed in summer 2020.

We will update our pre-departure orientation materials for future semesters to include more in depth information on program cancellation, mental and physical health while abroad.

WHEN: Fall 2021

Stateholder involvement / Communication plan

Participation numbers and statistics are shared via annual reporting, as requested by the VCSA, and to the Open Doors Report of the Institute for International Education.

Assessment 2


Restructure and enhance strategic marketing plan to recruit and enroll students into a study abroad experience

Type of assessment (learning outcome or operational)

CAS: Practical Competence

Activity or experience being assessed

Fall 2020 study abroad experiences

Assessment artifacts

Student Interviews

Time period assessment was done

January 1, 2020 – Marach 30, 2020


Our graduate assistant interviewed 5 students who had previously studied abroad about their experiences with the study abroad office.

The students were asked :

  1. In what ways can the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Study Abroad Department encourage more minority students at the university to travel abroad?
  2. What can the Study Abroad Department at the University of
    Arkansas at Little Rock do to break down barriers for minority students to study abroad?

Here are the five most important domains found in interviews and the more specific themes found in each.

Domain 1: Support. One interview question sought to find ways in which the Study Abroad Department could encourage more minority students to study abroad. One of the key findings from this study was that minority students valued the support they received from the Study Abroad staff.

  • Theme 1: Minority students who studied abroad received support from the Study Abroad staff at UA Little Rock. When asked about the support of the Study Abroad staff, one student said, “Emily and Leslie were both a big help. I would feel overwhelmed about all the things I had to get done, on top of my day to day school work. I could set up an advising appointment, and Emily would make things clearer, and I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed.”
  • Theme 2: Study Abroad students received support from past students who have traveled abroad. Minority students who were getting prepared to study abroad found comfort in confiding and seeking advice from other students who had traveled abroad. One student said that the best part about the Study Abroad sessions was that, “when you go the sessions and they have student speakers, it got me excited and it was more relatable hearing stories from one of my peers. I also got to talk to them after the sessions, and we would exchange contact information ifI had more questions”

Domain 2: Breaking Barriers. One of her interview questions sought to determine how the Study Abroad Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock can break down barriers for minority students to travel abroad.

  • Theme 1: Stay away from tokenism. Being able to make changes in getting minority students to travel abroad is a necessity. Only having one or two people to represent minorities is easy to pick up on. One study abroad alumni expressed that, “whatever you all do I hope you steer away from tokenism. It is easily picked up on. Like, there are ways to promote without being all this is my one Latina x student or my one black student that studied abroad, see it’s not only white people. Do the work to reach minority students so that it can become inclusive to all minorities.”
  • Theme 2: Minority Ambassador. One study abroad alumni talked about how having a minority ambassador would be great, and not just for a specific program, but one for study abroad in general around campus. He said, “I think the Study Abroad office could use a minority ambassador. Not one that is for one of the program providers, because those are higher priced trips anyway. Maybe have a work-study student that recently went abroad, that way he or she can work all the tables, help with the fair, and they would know how to reach minority groups to promote study abroad as a whole, and not just one specific program.”

Domain 3: Process for Pre-Departure. During the interviews I sought to find out more information about how helpful the pre-departure process was for minority students.

  • Theme 1: Focus more on safety. No matter how much research you do, you will never be fully prepared or know what to expect. Safety is the main concern for all students traveling abroad. One alumni described how having more knowledge on weather and racism in a country could help students mentally prepare for what they may have to deal with. She said, “you know just being told it is hot there, it’s cold, or it rains isn’t enough. We should have been told you need to have your rain boots because it floods easily. You should always carry your umbrella because it will start raining, and rain every day, even if it is only for five minutes.” “Then there just needs to be a focus on racism when it comes to minority students. You know, I didn’t experience it but people I made friends with did. When you asked me this question I was like we didn’t really talk about how we may run across racism in this country, or what it would look like. I just think informing students who it can happen to would be good for pre-departure orientation.”
  • Theme 2: Good information. One student talked about how the pre-departure orientation gave her good information and allowed her to connect with other students. She says, “the predeparture orientation gave a lot of good information. Some of the things brought up there I didn’t research myself so I was glad to get it. I liked that I got to meet other people that were studying abroad at the same time as me. We started group chats, and some of us became friends and kept in contact while we studied abroad.”
  • Theme 3: Country centered. Some students felt that pre-departure orientation should be country focused. One student said, “pre-departure was useful. I think I would have got more out of it if it was only about the country I was studying in, instead of all the countries”

Domain 4: Encouraging more minority students to study abroad. During the interviews I wanted to get insight from minority students on what they felt needed to be done by the Study Abroad Department to encourage more minority students on campus to travel abroad.

  • Theme 1: Go to minority organizations to promote (Greek life, Muslim club, Hispanic club). One student talked about how using other minority students to promote study abroad would encourage more minority students to want to do the same. One student said, “I think they should use minority organizations to promote study abroad. You know they could reach out to Greek life, the Muslim club, I’m in the Hispanic club, and a lot of Hispanics around the school don’t know about studying abroad, or they think they can’t afford it.”
  • Theme 2: Advertise cheaper programs. When it comes to advertising for study abroad programs, partner programs are generally expensive. One student said, “When you go to the Study Abroad fair you see all the expensive programs and you think I can’t afford that, unaware that there are cheaper and more affordable programs available. I chose a cheaper program, and the program I chose was even cheaper than the semester here at UA Little Rock”
  • Theme 3: Add affordability in Marketing and Advertising. One of the Study Abroad alumni talked about how there was a need to promote studying abroad being affordable. He said, “when advertising the most important thing is the money. That’s mainly what we care about and what we look at first, is it affordable? So when it comes to marketing they need to focus on affordability. They could even compare a semester abroad and a semester at UA Little Rock for their advertising.”

Continuous improvement process

We are working on a student ambassador program that will seek out minority students to participate.  This program will be utilized to coach students throughout the study abroad process. 

We are constantly updating our pre-departure orientation to include new, fresh, and relevant material based on student feedback. 

WHEN: AY 2022 (when study abroad begins again

Stateholder involvement / Communication plan

We have the permission of our GA to share this information on our website, in our annual report, and in any forum that we are requested to.  She successfully graduated from the Clinton School for Public Service in May 2020.

Assessment 3


Launch a study abroad alumni/ambassador program.

Type of assessment (learning outcome or operational)

CAS: Interpersonal Competence

Activity or experience being assessed

Previous study abroad experiences

Assessment artifacts


Time period assessment was done

July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020


This program is in the initial phases of launch.

  • Due to COVID-19, we have had to put this program on hold, but have made some initial strides in engaging study abroad alumni for recruitment, marketing, and student support.
  • We had planned to send out the survey after the 12 students returned from spring 2020 study abroad and the 30 students returned from spring break 2020 study abroad. Since these programs were cancelled, we elected not to send out the survey.

Continuous improvement process

We are utilizing study abroad alumni to mentor students through the application and program selection phase.  We regularly connect students with others who have studied abroad via email, social media, and phone.  Once study abroad begins again, we will revise and resend the survey to study abroad alumni to gather interest in launching this program.

WHEN: Once study abroad begins again post-pandemic

Stateholder involvement / Communication plan

Information will be shared in annual report and on study abroad website.

Priorities for Next Year

  1. Work with our study abroad alumni to establish the best way to market study abroad post-pandemic. We will update our marketing plan, marketing pieces, and information sessions to reflect the new concerns of traveling internationally. 
  2. We will start utilizing a new application management system.
  3. Review and establish policies and procedures for study abroad withdrawal, financial aid, and health and safety.