The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business has been selected to receive an IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. The grant, which totals approximately $33,000, will help the College find and secure international locations for its new Sophomore Year of Purpose program. This innovative initiative goes beyond the traditional on-campus model, creating Gies Global Hubs across the country and the world where students can explore their purpose through experiential learning opportunities while completing sophomore year coursework away from campus.
Gies is one of 26 colleges and universities from across the United States, selected from 132 applicants, to create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. This U.S. Government program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by World Learning.
“We are extremely pleased to receive this grant to develop this new program this spring,” said Kevin Jackson, associate dean for undergraduate affairs at Gies Business. “The Sophomore Year of Purpose creates the opportunity and space for students to thoughtfully and intentionally consider their responsibilities to themselves, their values, and their communities as they build their identity as global citizens and future business professionals.”
The first Global Hub for the Sophomore Year of Purpose will be located in Chicago. Future hubs will be established around the world in areas where students will have locally based education and experiential opportunities, including project-based learning and internships. Those sites are expected to include – among others – Accra, Ghana; Athens Greece; Haining, China; and Quito, Ecuador. While completing sophomore year coursework from the hub, each student will address a purpose-driven theme, such as sustainability, education, health and wellness, socio-economic disparity, or social justice.
“At Gies, we promise students that an education is just the start,” said Gies’ Director of Study Abroad Nicole Lamers. “We promise to provide an environment, experiences, and the resources that foster meaningful actions to empower students to put their purpose into practice so they can positively impact their community, the nation, and the world.”
The IDEAS Program seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities to create, expand, and diversify study abroad programs for U.S. students. In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff, and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity building activities.