Innovation Awards 2011: Winners & Finalists

1. Innovation in Marketing

IES Abroad: “[redefined] Campaign”

Born out of a desire to differentiate themselves from the competition through a fresh and inspiring message, IES Abroad’s “[redefined]” campaign has been part of all of IES Abroad marketing materials this year. In addition, it was used in outlets new for IES Abroad: bus ads, a banner ad in a metro station in D.C., and a movie theater ad shown in four cities. To strengthen the “[redefined]” message, IES Abroad encouraged student involvement by providing “[redefined] signs” to all students. The signs feature a blank line and the word “[redefined],” allowing students to write how their college experience has been redefined by study abroad. Many students have contributed pictures of themselves holding the signs and sharing how study abroad has changed them.

University of North Texas International Global Learning & Experience Center: “Marketing Campaign”

The University of North Texas’ Global Learning and Experience Center worked with their campus media coordinator to design a unified marketing campaign for study abroad and other international education opportunities. The design concept utilized university-wide branding characteristics and reaffirmed the burgeoning sub-brand of Global Learning and Experience, particularly with use of the tag line “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” and brand statement “Go where you want to be.” These were included on summary program listings, print advertisements, brochures, letterhead, safety checklists and website backgrounds. The centerpiece of the campaign is six outdoor pieces depicting former study abroad students wearing T-shirts containing a phrase that describes their international experiences, standing in front of a compelling photo of their study abroad location. These were made into life-size vinyl “clings” with front and back views and installed on large windows in major campus buildings. The campaign also ran as print ads in the campus newspaper and as videos depicting the same students. The campaign was originally targeted at 34k+ UNT students and will launch for non-UNT students in 2011-2012.

2. Innovative New Program

CEA Global Education / University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC): “Culture & Identity Studies”

CEA Global Education and University of Maryland, Baltimore County‘s “Culture & Identity Studies: Explore Gay Paris” program offers a Gender Studies course that explores the formations and constructions of gay and lesbian identities as they’ve been framed in Paris, particularly since the end of the 19th century. Students study how the categories of race, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, class, ethnicity and immigration crosscut sexual identity and sexual citizenship. Throughout the semester, they participate in the building of the intellectual superstructure of the course by creating and utilizing two physical maps: gay Paris and lesbian Paris. These maps pinpoint and reflect gay and lesbian urban spaces, community centers and locales in the contemporary city space, both geographically and temporally. Students live in the Marais district and are immersed not only in French culture, but in Gay French culture. They also have the opportunity to participate in the March des Fiertes LGBT, or LGBT Pride March.

Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) / San Francisco State University (SFSU): “Perpignan Project”

The Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) Perpignan Project offers students the opportunity to act as foreign correspondents for a month. The participants aren’t tourists or even simply students, they’re living and working as journalists in the community, getting to know the local people, customs and traditions. Students study international reporting and multimedia journalism skills, as well as French language and culture, in Perpignan, France and then report on the host community using the skills they’ve learned. Last summer students, working with local interpreters, filmed a pastry chef creating a traditional wedding cake, interviewed a European Parliament minister, spent a day with a snail farmer, observed as a crew worked to transform a crumbling 18th century fort into a modern arts center and shared their stories. The students created a multimedia website about the community. The Perpignan Project is co-sponsored by the San Francisco State University Journalism Department and the Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia). Most students come from the U.S. and Canada but the program is open to English-speaking journalism and communications students from around the world.

3. Innovative Use of Social Media

Academic Programs International (API): “Integrated Strategy”

Academic Programs International (API) has integrated their blogTwitterFacebookLinkedInGreen PassportYouTube and other social media channels to communicate with study abroad applicants, participants and alumni as well as inform about important issues in the field. They were among the first international education organizations to incorporate QR codes in their materials so that students and others are able to access API catalog materials “on the go” via smartphones.

4. Innovation in Sustainability

Living Routes: “Sustainability Initiatives”

Living Routes‘ mission is to support future leaders to build just and sustainable lifestyles for themselves, their communities and the planet. Sustainability infuses the programs — all based in ecovillages. The founder of Living Routes has chaired NAFSA‘s Sustainability Task Force, started a “Sustainability in Study Abroad” listserv in 2007, spearheaded NAFSA’s Sustainability MIG and chaired the Forum on Education Abroad Task Forces on Sustainability Standards and Student Ethics. Current initiatives include:

  • Being a founding member of the Green Passport Program with the largest group of students participating.
  • Pioneering Virtual Tabling at study abroad fairs in lieu of sending someone in person.
  • Working with host communities to find giveaway items (e.g., tsunamika dolls) that are made from natural materials and support projects modeling environmental and social responsibility.
  • Starting a Sustainability Education blog with a focus on study abroad.
  • Developing a Carbon Commitment Calculator and advocating for “carbon consciousness” within the field.

5. Innovative Use of Technology

Butler University Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA): “Student Dashboard”

Butler University Institute for Study Abroad‘ Student Dashboard is a custom tool developed by IFSA and available only to IFSA students. The IFSA Dashboard widget is an application the students add to their personal page on the IFSA Student Network . The IFSA Dashboard takes each student through their application process, which can sometimes take up to eight weeks for study abroad immersion programs. The tool includes a video for each of the nine steps of preparing to study abroad and is dynamically programmed to tell each student specifically where he/she is in the process and exactly what he/she needs to do next.

6. Innovative Student Video

AL in Bangladesh by students of University of Alabama:  “The Grameen Bank Basic Training Program”

Alabama in Bangladesh – Grameen Bank Basic Training Video captures the essence of the program very, very well. The song is by Habib, a very popular Bangladeshi singer and the refrain is “Cholo shobai” which translates into “Let’s go everyone!” The song is even popular amongst those who have no knowledge of Bengali. The middle of the video features a clip from a rural schoolhouse in Bangladesh. This demonstrates the variety and “texture” of the Bangladesh experience. The video is long enough to give the viewer a general idea of the highlights of the program. Highlights of the video include shots with Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus, photos from various excursions and images of village borrowers. Applications for the program increased after this video was released, hence demonstrating its effectiveness at promoting the program and its innovativeness.


The 2011 Finalists:

Innovative New Program

CEA Global Education / University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) : Culture & Identity Studies

Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) / San Francisco State University (SFSU) Perpignan Project

Rice University & University of Tusla’s NanoJapan: International Research Experience for Undergraduates

University of Alabama’s AL in Bangladesh Grameen Bank Basic Training

University of Central Florida (UCF) Sophomore Experience Abroad (S.E.A.)

Innovative Use of Social Media

AmeriSpan Integrated Strategy

Academic Programs International (API) Integrated Strategy

IES Abroad Photo Contest

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Go Global! Twitter Initiative

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Education Abroad Program (EAP) Integrated Strategy

Innovation in Marketing

IES Abroad [redefined]

Purdue University Office of Study Abroad Programs “Global Greeks”

University of Arkansas Office of Study Abroad & International Exchange Video

University of North Texas International Global Learning & Experience Center Campaign

University of South Carolina Study Abroad Office MOSAIC Symposium

Innovation in Sustainability

Augsburg College Center for Global Education Sustainability Initiatives

Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL)

International Studies Abroad (ISA) Think Green Initiative

Living Routes Sustainability Initiatives

University of Georgia (UGA) Costa Rica Sustainable Program

Innovative Use of Technology

Athena Study Abroad Ask Athena

Augsburg College Dual Social Work Program Blog Project

Butler University Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) Student Dashboard

CEA Global Education mobile access

International Studies Abroad (ISA) Custom Google Maps

Innovative Student Video

AL in Bangladesh by students of University of Alabama – the Grameen Bank Basic Training Program in Bangladesh

A Beijing Love Song by Feichang Fresh – The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) at University of International Business and Economics in China

Building A Future by Andrew (Drew) Paton – Texas A&M University with Building a Future in Honduras

So (deep breath), This Is India by Kia Marie Lor – The College of St. Benedict in India

Roma by Alex Moskowitz – The State University of New York at Purchase College in Italy