Strategic Plan 2017-2021
Past, Present and Future
The Forum on Education Abroad has matured structurally, operationally, programmatically, and financially. Compared to its beginnings as a start-up organization, everything is larger—the membership, programs and services, the staff, the budget and attendance at the conferences. Then and now, world events present global challenges that underscore the ever-greater urgency for international and intercultural understanding, especially that afforded by first-hand experiences abroad. The Forum is fortunate that alongside its growth is a strong determination to retain the adventurous spirit and commitment to dialogue that marked The Forum’s beginning sixteen years ago. The strategic planning process had the advantage of consulting with The Forum’s founders, many long-time members and new members, and mid-career professionals to ensure that the planning process remained grounded in the enduring values that helped form the association while adapting for the future. As you read the strategic plan we hope you will see its connection to The Forum’s original values, an understanding of the present, and an excitement about the future.
Students, Member Institutions and the Field of Education Abroad
The Forum is dedicated to serving its member institutions and organizations, and the professionals who work in them. At the same time, The Forum recognizes it has a role to play as an advocate for the field of education abroad. And, of course, The Forum’s work ultimately supports student learning, growth and development. The strategic plan seeks to strike a balance in serving its members, the field and students abroad. As you read the plan you will notice how these constituencies are kept in view.
The Standards of Good Practice, Excellence and Aspiration
The development of the Standards of Good Practice is a cornerstone achievement of The Forum. The Standards also set a high bar. The Forum is challenged to retain the value of the Standards as a measure of excellence in the continually-evolving field of education abroad knowing that for some members fulfilling all that the Standards call for remains aspirational. We hope as you read the plan you will detect a “both-and” approach that will express itself in services and programs which can serve all The Forum’s members.
Build on Prior Investment and Innovate
The Forum is in a position to build on its past accomplishments, programs, resources and services for the membership. As the field of education abroad evolves, this plan seeks to allocate The Forum’s resources, which are not unlimited, to support both established services and programs and innovative activities that will advance the quality and recognition of the value of education abroad.
So, as you read the plan, we anticipate you will understand the goals The Forum has set out and the dynamics that informed the strategic planning process.
The Forum’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 outlines both new and ongoing initiatives and activities. The plan seeks to expand and improve many signature activities, resources, events and programs to meet the needs of a growing and diversifying membership. At the same time, new initiatives will keep The Forum on the cutting-edge of the education abroad field to help its members meet the challenges ahead.
- Create new ways to provide thought leadership for the field.
- Increase the number and range of discussion-based gatherings on critical topics.
- Organize critical dialogue groups built around substantive topics.
- Produce more topical and thematic publications on trends and issues in the field of education abroad.
- Invite thought leaders and experts in a variety of fields to inform and take part in these efforts.
- Enhance the spirit of dialogue and discussion at Forum Conferences, Standards of Good Practice Institutes and other events.
Education, Training, Outreach and Professional Development
- Expand topics and audiences for workshops and trainings and offer these in conjunction with experts in other fields when appropriate.
- Engage new audiences to build an expanded community of practice around non-credit education abroad activities.
- Broaden the range of resources and training to support best practices and the work of education abroad professionals within their organizations and institutions.
- Expand participation in the Quality Improvement Program (QUIP) and promotion of member institutions and organizations that have been recognized for meeting the Standards of Good Practice.
- Increase enrollment of participants in the Professional Certification Program.
- Expand the Inclusive Excellence Initiative to include revisions and updates to the Standards. Offer new workshops and trainings to guide members in achieving Inclusive Excellence in education abroad.
- Implement effective ways to provide data and resources to members according to their specific institutional or organizational type.
- Investigate career implications for students who have studied abroad.
- Expand Forum membership among institutions and organizations that are currently underrepresented, especially non-U.S. universities, community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and businesses and organizations that provide support services for education abroad.
- Equip members to promote The Forum’s vision and values and to maintain a strong voice and engagement in The Forum’s work.
- Expand the range, depth and access of member resources to meet the needs of the diversity of member institutions.
- Create innovative ways for The Forum to empirically document, articulate and disseminate the value of education abroad.
- Expand means by which The Forum serves as the voice of education abroad for its members, in international higher education, in the media, and for the public at-large.
- Support U.S. members through state-level advocacy efforts that serve their interests.
- Expand The Forum’s role as a strong advocate for education abroad within the United States and internationally.