Kennesaw State among top 10 in class for education abroad

IIE's "Open Doors" report ranks KSU eighth among master's level universities…

Georgia (Dec 10, 2014)

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 10, 2014) — For the third year in a row, the Institute for International Education has ranked Kennesaw State University among the top 10 master’s-level U.S. institutions for student participation in education abroad programs. The University was ranked eighth in the country, with 766 students studying abroad during the 2012-2013 academic year. 
IIE released the rankings in November as part of its 15th annual "Open Doors" report, which surveys approximately 3,000 accredited universities. According to the report, a record 289,408 American students studied abroad during the 2012-2013 academic year – a 2 percent increase from the previous year. 
Kennesaw State's ranking reflects several years of increased focus on international education. In 2006, Kennesaw State ranked 36th in the Open Doors report, with 335 students participating in education abroad programs. By 2009 — the year Kennesaw State first appeared on the top 10 — that number had grown to 618 students. With 766 students today, education abroad enrollment has more than doubled among Kennesaw State University students in less than a decade.
Several factors have contributed to this increase, says Iyonka Strawn-Valcy, director of education abroad and exchanges. She attributes the greatest increase to the introduction of the Global Learning Scholarship in 2007. Introduced as part of the University’s five-year Quality Enhancement Plan from 2007-2012, the Global Learning Scholarship makes funds available to all Kennesaw State University students in good academic standing to help defray the costs of studying abroad. Awards range from $600 to $2,100.
“This scholarship has enabled students who otherwise would not be able to fund an education abroad experience to participate,” Strawn-Valcy said. “It has also enhanced awareness of study abroad opportunities for KSU students.”
She also cited the support of collaborating faculty members and colleges, the work of the education abroad faculty senate committee formed in 2011, and increased training and support for the Education Abroad Office staff as reasons for increased student participation.
The Division of Global Affairs, which houses the Education Abroad Office, is also encouraging students to  enroll by creating new education opportunities to attract students.
“Building upon dozens of close international partnerships, the Division of Global Affairs is developing new and innovative models for students to study, conduct research and participate in internships around the world, particularly within developing economies and societies,” said Lance Askildson, Kennesaw State's vice provost for global affairs and chief international officer. 
For example, Askildson noted, the Division of Global Affairs is launching the University's first international branch campus in Montepulciano, Italy, which will offer coursework for degree programs in the humanities, international business, architecture and the arts.
Kennesaw State's consistent ranking in IIE’s top ten list encourages University officials to keep the tradition going. 
“International education and engagement is not simply an aspiration for students at Kennesaw State University,” Askildson said. “It’s an expectation.” 
Click on Open Doors U.S. Study Abroad Data for additional education abroad data. 
— Patrick Harbin


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit