University of Georgia

2012 Heiskell Award Honorable Mention: Study Abroad

University of Georgia

Global Programs in Sustainability

Sustaining Reefs as Resources: Yasawas, Fiji Islands

Nomination submitted by: Kavita Pandit, Associate Provost, International Education

Program Overview
Since 2005/06, UGA's Global Programs in Sustainability (GPS) has reached more than 250 students a year. Focusing on broad questions of human-environment sustainability, GPS uses a module template to deliver interdisciplinary, faculty-led, study abroad programs for students from virtually every major on campus. Recently, this approach has been adapted by of over 20 U.S. colleges and universities, attracting more than 500 students annually. Since 2008, an ongoing large-scale empirical research effort has addressed student learning outcomes, resulting in several publications with leading education journals.

The strength of GPS has been in improving student access to programs by bridging diverse academic units to (a) consider their disciplinary perspectives and relations to sustainability, and (b) explore how their disciplines could work with other subjects to form an interdisciplinary study abroad program in sustainable development. Dr. Alexandra Brewis-Slade, Executive Director, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University (and former co-director of GPS), notes: "It is very challenging to develop programs that engage students of all backgrounds and inclinations, but this has been one of the reasons the programs have been so successful...[The programs] are driven educationally by a vision of promoting lifelong environmental stewardship in UGA students."

For many students and faculty, the impact of their engagement with GPS has been transformational, facilitating personal and professional growth. According to Dr. Bruce Bongarten, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (and former GPS faculty member): "My personal perception of what study abroad courses can be was completely altered. I saw students' eyes and minds opened. I saw curiosity and excitement for learning renewed. I saw students grow intellectually and personally."

Program Implementation
Read the winning nomination, including details on how the program achieves its objectives

2017 Awards Presentation

IIE will present the annual IIE Andrew Heiskell Awards for Best Practices in Internationalization at a ceremony in Miami, Florida on March 14, 2017, as part of the Annual Best Practices in Internationalization Conference.

Selection Panel Members 2012

The members of the selection panel for this year’s awards include the following leaders in international education:

Arlene Jackson
Director of International Education, American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU)

Cathey Maze
Dean, Academic & Student Services, Oakland Community College

Donna Scarboro
Associate Provost, International Programs, The George Washington University

Anne Waters
Associate Vice Provost for Global Programs, New York University

Brian Whalen
President and CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad