The Education Abroad Office invites all faculty and staff to submit requests for the new Global Experiences Innovation Fund to develop virtual, on-campus or U.S.-based, globally focused programs for summer and fall 2021.
Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international travel, summer 2021 faculty-led education abroad programs are being cancelled. Before making this decision, university leadership consulted the Education Abroad Advisory Committee, discussed alternatives with Big Ten peers, and closely examined likely COVID-19 trends and resulting program impacts. The Education Abroad Office will work closely with students on summer options and is available via email to answer any questions.
“Making this decision early allows us to avoid financial losses due to cancellations, provides clarity for program leaders and students alike, and allows us time to pivot and provide other kinds of global experiences for our students,” said Josh Davis, associate vice chancellor for global affairs. “UNL remains committed to global engagement and to creating innovative experiential learning opportunities that ensure our students are Future and World Ready, which is what this new fund will enable.”
The new Global Experiences Innovation Fund is designed to provide students with engaging global experiences next summer despite the challenges caused by the pandemic. Created by the Education Abroad Office in partnership with the Office of Global Strategies, the funding opportunity will also allow faculty and staff to engage in long-term efforts to integrate education abroad into the curriculum.
“In light of COVID-19, but also broader trends, we must reimagine what constitutes a ‘global experience’ and leverage technology and resources within our own community to increase access for students,” Davis said. “This could include things like virtual experiences, global classrooms, and engagement with immigrant communities in the U.S., which all add to intercultural competency.”
Each year, the Education Abroad Office funds scholarships and special initiatives designed to expand access to global experiences and study abroad. These funds will be used to launch the Global Experiences Innovation Fund. The broad flexibility provided by the fund will leverage faculty and staff expertise to build students’ intercultural confidence and expand the portfolio of programs. In addition, the fund will be used to make new programming affordable to students via program subsidies and scholarships.
“We have prioritized funding for this initiative, and we look forward to seeing the creativity and possibilities these programs will bring for students, faculty and staff,” said Rebecca Baskerville, director of Education Abroad. “Despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented this year, we are excited for this new opportunity to provide greater access to global learning.”
Faculty and staff interested in seeking funding are invited to submit a statement of interest with a short description of the amount of funds requested and how they will be used. Award amounts will range from $1,000 to $8,000, with consideration given to higher amounts if warranted. Fund recipients will be expected to attend planning workshops in the spring and complete their program or project by summer 2021. Funding requests for fall 2021 programs will also be considered.
Preference will be given to programs that are designed to be highly experiential and interactive; facilitate direct, meaningful interactions with peers based in another location; incorporate one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and/or Nebraska’s Grand Challenges; and are created with a strong university partner.
Submissions for the Global Experiences Innovation Fund will open on Dec. 4 and close on Jan. 20, 2021. The Education Abroad Office will also hold question and answer sessions in December for interested faculty and staff. Additional details can be found on the Education Abroad website.