URI College of Education awarded U.S. Department of State IDEAS Program grant to build study abroad capacity

Grant will expand College’s study abroad programs for education students to learn in underserved countries.

KINGSTON, R.I. — Aug. 1, 2023 — The U.S. Department of State’s IDEAS program has selected the University of Rhode Island’s Feinstein College of Education as the recipient of a $34,862 grant award to expand opportunities for students from the college to study abroad in Colombia and Sierra Leone, West Africa.

URI’s College of Education is the first institution in Rhode Island to receive the IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) award.

The grant will be used for URI students preparing to be teachers and education administrators, ensuring that the students reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. and safely study abroad in more diverse destinations around the globe.

“Our goal with these programs is to offer URI students the opportunity to be immersed in languages and cultures of countries that are represented in Rhode Island’s public schools. These programs allow our students to earn a minor in global education, which will benefit the culturally diverse urban K-12 population because our URI teacher candidates will be equipped with the knowledge to support them. These experiences, and the minor, set URI teacher candidates apart,” said Danielle Dennis, dean of the URI College of Education.

Through these programs, students will analyze educational practices, social issues and policies within the global context through an equity lens, comparing international education with regard to race, class, gender, and inclusion, as well as cultural exchanges and teacher education.

“I envision the development of sustainable systems and structures for diverse faculty-led study abroad offerings that provide opportunities for all students, specifically for students who have been historically excluded,” said Rabia Hos, URI associate professor of TESOL/Bi-lingual and Dual Language education.

Colleen Rossignol, coordinator of global education and partnerships for the College, said that the College is also building partnerships with non-governmental agencies and higher education institutions in Colombia and Sierra Leone to co-design service-learning programs based on community needs.

Hos and Rossignol, co-authors and principal investigators for the IDEAS grant,

are using the program as a launch pad to develop the college’s international study-abroad programs, and infuse more global teaching competencies into teacher education at URI.

URI is one of 34 U.S. colleges and universities in 28 states to be awarded an IDEAS grant.

The selected grant proposals were aimed at developing new international partnerships, train faculty and staff, internationalize curriculum, engage diverse students in study abroad, broaden the destinations where U.S. students can study and create virtual and hybrid exchanges.  

The IDEAS program contributes to the State Department’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts to engage the American people in foreign policy. 

“Increasing and diversifying U.S. students going abroad for educational opportunities, as well as diversifying the places where they study, is a State Department priority,” said Lee Satterfield, assistant U.S. secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. “This year’s recipientsreflect the true greatnessofAmerica – our diversity – as almost 25 percent represent two-year institutions, 40 percent represent minority-serving institutions, and 25 percent represent rural-serving institutions.” 

Since 2016, the IDEAS Program has awarded 179 grants to 173 U.S. colleges and universities in 49 states and territories to create, expand, and diversify U.S. study abroad programs in 71 countries across all world regions.  In addition to the IDEAS grants, the program offers opportunities for international educators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity-building activities. 

IDEAS is a program of the U.S Department of State with funding provided by the U.S government and supported in its implementation by World Learning, a nonprofit organization focused on international development, education and exchange programs. For a full list of 2023 IDEAS grantees, as well as information on upcoming IDEAS webinars and workshops, visit www.studyabroadcapacitybuilding.org