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UW-Eau Claire recognized nationally for education-abroad programming

| Julie Poquette

UW-Eau Claire’s Center for International Education and Intercultural Immersion office have been recognized by The Forum for Education Abroad for meeting the forum’s Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad.

The Forum for Education Abroad is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the standards development organization for the field of education abroad. UW-Eau Claire has joined a select group of higher education institutions that have successfully completed the Forum’s QUIP quality assurance program and received QUIP recognition.

“The Center for International Education has long been committed to best practices in the field of education abroad, so it’s exciting to see that strong commitment and many years of work validated by the Forum on Education Abroad,” said Colleen Marchwick,  interim lead in the Center for International Education. “The work of the CIE and Intercultural Immersion office has led to UW-Eau Claire’s recognition as just one of 20 organizations worldwide with QUIP recognition. We are proud to say that UW-Eau Claire is the first public institution and the only master’s-granting public university to receive QUIP recognition.”

UW-Eau Claire’s self-study team began the process toward QUIP recognition in January 2016, said Cheryl Lochner-Wright, senior study abroad coordinator in the Center for International Education and the self-study team lead. Other team members were Courtney Brost, study abroad coordinator; Shanti Freitas, intercultural immersion coordinator;  Jenna Krosch, study abroad coordinator; and Heather Pearson, associate director of admissions.  

The team's work included a comprehensive assessment of current practices against each of the nine standards of best practice and involved focus groups, a self-study and peer review. Focus areas included ensuring promotion and advising strategies serve changing student demographics, removing financial barriers to student participation, and implementing more ways to integrate intercultural learning into students’ pre-departure, study-abroad and re-entry experiences.

In late October, a team of peer reviewers visited UW-Eau Claire and met with an extensive list of faculty, staff and students involved in various ways with study abroad. After the reviewers' visit, they submitted a report and the self-study team wrote an institutional response. Following a review of all documents, The Forum's review panel recently notified the UW-Eau Claire team of its recognition.

“The QUIP process was a great impetus for discussion and collaboration between CIE and the immersions staff, as well as with other campus stakeholders involved in the international education process,” Lochner-Wright said. “It helped us identify benchmarks that both offices can refer to as we continue to improve our policies and practices. The process helped us identify areas for improvement and inspired us to act on some of them immediately. The peer review report provided additional suggestions and recommendations, and CIE and immersions staff are already meeting regularly to begin to implement some of the suggestions.”

In its letter notifying the self-study team of UW-Eau Claire’s QUIP recognition, Forum for Education Abroad review panel noted that UW-Eau Claire’s Center for International Education and Intercultural Immersion staffs are “a very ambitious group working in a challenging and changing environment.”

“The CIE and immersions staff accomplish a great deal with very little,” the letter continued. “Both are dedicated to constant improvement, even in the face of drastic budget cuts. The earnest desire ‘to do more and better’ for students is evident in the self study. The two offices appear well run, resourceful, and open to feedback. Ms. Lochner-Wright and her team are to be commended for a job well done.”

Caption: Photo by Leen Wadi, taken during India Globalization faculty-led immersion trip during Winterim 2017.