JSU Passport to the World is a 4-week faculty-led international experience that includes organized cultural, research, and experiential learning activity. Students will spend 2 weeks abroad and 2 weeks on campus at JSU. At least 140 JSU students will study abroad this summer in six different parts of the world inclusive of all disciplines of study. It is expected that the educational and cultural experiences will have an indelible impression upon the lives of students through increased cultural awareness, change in academic performance, and increased career opportunities. This program is offered through our JSU-Global division. Dr. Priscilla Slade provides the leadership for this division as the Special Assistant to the Provost for JSU-Global programs and Ms. Shirley Harrison is the Interim Director.
The knowledge and recognition that we live in an Interdependent world without borders requires that Jackson State University create a pipeline of graduates with global competencies. During the 2013/2014 academic year 886,052 international students studied in the U.S. while only 289,408 U.S. students studied abroad representing less than 10% of students earning baccalaureate and associates degrees. Jackson State University (JSU) has joined the Institute of International Education (IIE) in its pledge to double the number of United States students with study abroad experiences by the end of the decade. To accomplish this herculean task requires the support of employers, governments, associations, and foundations to make study abroad affordable to all students that qualify and have the desire.
Several criticisms have been lodged against U.S. study abroad participants and programs:
Lack of diversity in ethnicity. The majority of students that study abroad are caucasian.
Lack of diversity of location - Most U.S. students that study abroad go to Europe
Lack of diversity of academic majors - Most U.S. students that study abroad are in the Liberal Arts
Our program, JSU Passport to the World, was designed to addresses these issues. The majority of students traveling are African American. Each group is traveling to six different cities overseas: Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Salvador Da Bahia, Brazil; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and, Shanghai, China. All 5 colleges at JSU are participating: College of Business, College of Education and Human Development, College of Liberal Arts, College of Public Service, and College of Science Engineering and Technology.
In addition, the literature speaks to barriers to study abroad - the 3 Cs: Cost, Curriculum, and Culture. Cost - The program was designed to fit within the award structure for student financial aid. Also the JSU and CIEE combined to offer 200 free passports to students. Curriculum - JSU faculty will travel with students to deliver the curriculum component while CIEE will provide cultural experiences in each location. Culture - A minimum of 20 students and l faculty travel to each location which mitigates the fear factor and adds a level of comfort based on familiarity.