Centre News

Centre ranked #1 in the nation for study abroad


November 15, 2012 By Michael Strysick       
Stephen Powell The Institute of International Education ranked Centre #1 in the
nation for study abroad participation among baccalaureate
institutions in its recent “Open Doors” report.

Powell MMFA exhibition “Centre takes seriously its mission to train global citizens and
not merely as a topic of academic study,” says Centre President
John A. Roush. Above, students tour a volcano on a CentreTerm
trip to New Zealand.

Powell MMFA exhibition Despite being ranked first in the nation for study abroad,
“We’re always trying to find ways to make our study-abroad
programs better,” says Milton Reigelman, director of the
Center for Global Citizenship. Above, students on a CentreTerm
trip in Israel.

In its recently published “Open Doors” report, the Institute of International Education has ranked Centre College #1 in the nation for study abroad participation among baccalaureate institutions.

The #1 ranking is the first ever for Centre College, which is routinely among the nation’s top five colleges for study abroad. While the top ranking is for baccalaureate colleges alone, Centre’s participation rate among all colleges and universities places it at #2 in the nation for all types, including larger public and private institutions.

Forty colleges appear in each of the three separate categories: baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate institutions. The baccalaureate category offers a who’s who of America’s best institutions, including places like Bates, Carleton, Davidson, Grinnell and Haverford colleges.

“Centre takes seriously its mission to train global citizens,” says John A. Roush, Centre’s president, “and not merely as a topic of academic study. Instead, the average 85 percent of our students who study abroad learn global citizenship firsthand.

“Prospective students and their families reading this ranking,” adds Roush, “can be assured how seriously we take this part of our mission.”

Centre College has held study abroad in such high regard that it is a central component of the Centre Commitment, which guarantees a study abroad experience, internship or research opportunity, and graduation in four years. The “Centre’s Your Passport” program, which provides free passports to students, and a “senior subsidy” program do their best to assure such study remains affordable.

Milton Reigelman, director of the Center for Global Citizenship, welcomed the news enthusiastically, though was quick to add, “We’re always trying to find ways to make our study-abroad programs better.”

In fact, Centre added a semester-long program in Scotland at the University of Glasgow this past September, and Riegelman reports that the Centre Off-Campus Programs faculty committee just finished evaluating the program.

“The committee gave that program very high marks,” says Riegelman, “based on the student evaluations at mid-term, discussions with Glasgow faculty during a site visit, and the fact that the program expands the choices for Centre students with a particular interest in the sciences and pre-med.”

Next up is further review of Centre’s current program in China at the University of Shanghai. Roush and Kyle Anderson, assistant professor of Chinese and chair of the Asian Studies Program, will travel to China in December to evaluate the program onsite.

These semester-long programs are in addition to well-established residential programs in London, England; Merida, Mexico; and Strasbourg, France. Centre also has exchange programs in Japan, Northern Ireland and Spain.

Ultimately, study abroad at Centre is unique on many levels.

Centre faculty design, plan and teach most of the programs. The programs are also intentionally small and interdisciplinary, so that students with different majors and minors interact. Shorter three-week courses during the January CentreTerm make this particularly possible.

For instance, this past January math professor Alex McAlister and drama professor Matthew Hallock co-taught a CentreTerm course in Greece. Education professor Sarah Murray and anthropology professor Andrea Abrams will lead a course this January in Ghana, and biology professor Matt Klooster and philosophy professor Dan Kirchner will take students to Malaysia and Borneo.

The Institute of International Education was created in 1919 after the end of World War I to promote peace through international educational exchange. Its “Open Doors” report first appeared in 1949. Issued each November ever since, the report is regarded as the authoritative source on international education, tracking trends of American students studying abroad and international students who study in the United States.

The “Open Doors” report is supported by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

For the complete “Open Doors” report, click here.

For the complete data on “Leading Institutions by Undergraduate Participation and Institutional Type,” click here.



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Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.



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