Reshaping education abroad

The University at Albany’s International Education Leadership Expert Series presents a module with Dr. Brian Whalen to understand how key trends affect the education field abroad.


Offered Periodically


Registration Fee: $399

About the module

Major changes in the higher education landscape are rumbling under the surface of education abroad today. We must learn to read the trends and actively reshape our programs to succeed in this world of change. To keep pace and maintain relevance and vibrancy in international education overall, the field of education abroad needs imaginative, strong leaders and administrators to shape its future. All who work to develop, support and oversee education abroad must understand these currents of change and prepare to meet the challenge, finding the best ways to harness their talents and resources, strategies and operations. This module, Reshaping Education Abroad, is designed to advance the professional development of both senior and line officials who are directly – or tangentially – responsible for building and sustaining education abroad programs and services. This is a unique opportunity to step back, survey the landscape of higher education, and learn how to adapt education abroad to succeed in the future. After critiquing current approaches and questioning our assumptions about education abroad, we will identify and analyze the key trends that will impact and change the field. We will discuss and outline approaches, strategies, models, resources, and practices that will be needed in order for education abroad to remain a high value part of higher education offerings. Participants will work together in small groups and individually to create a vision and plan for a robust education abroad program of the future. The program design will include the program rationale and strategy, type of participants, structural model, goals, student learning outcomes, curriculum and activities, etc. Each participant will give a brief presentation of their program outlines in the final session. Successful participants will receive a digital micro-credential acknowledging their completion of this professional development expert module from the International Education Management & Leadership Program at the University at Albany (SUNY).

Who Should Attend?

Deans and Senior International Officers interested in thinking about and preparing strategically for future changes and developments in education abroad.

Who Should Attend?

Education abroad professionals at universities, colleges, and independent program provider organizations who are interested in staying ahead of the trends that will impact and change education abroad.

Who Should Attend?

Colleagues from associations, government and organizations involved in education abroad programming who want to expand their knowledge and understanding about the future of education abroad and its practices.

Who Should Attend?

Students enrolled in the IEML Masters and the IEM Certificate. Other graduate students in the School of Education and Educational Policy and Leadership programs may enroll with permission of the IEML Program Director.

Expert Series Presenter

Dr. Brian J. Whalen

Dr. Brian J. Whalen is among the most well-known and influential international education leaders currently working in the field. Chief Academic Officer and Dean of Education at Atlantis since 2019, he served for more than a decade (2006-2018) as the President and CEO of The Forum on Education Abroad, the first Standards Development Organization (SDO) worldwide focused on international education. During that time, he oversaw The Forum’s growth into a leading international association, and formidable quality assurance organization for the field of education abroad. He is also an experienced senior international academic officer, having served in that role at Dickinson College and Marist College. A widely published scholar, Dr. Whalen was founding editor and for many years the publisher of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. During his long career, Dr. Whalen has developed or overseen education abroad programs in more than 50 countries, has delivered dozens of presentations and trainings in the U.S. and many other countries, has collaborated to secure nearly $4 million in grants in support of international education initiatives, and has participated in high level meetings as a discussant on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Education, and the White House. Read more…

  • Participants will receive a set of resources tailored to the course, both readings and workbook materials.
  • 3 case studies of LPI use and results in international higher education (study abroad, international students and the international education office).
  • Other recommended resources include: The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge and Lean Higher Education by William Balzer.

Pre-course task: Participants will describe their motivation for taking this course and an international higher education administrative process they wish to improve in terms of workflow and efficiency.

  1. International Education from a Systems Perspective

Participants will…  develop an understanding of systems thinking from historical and contemporary perspectives. … be able to map core elements of administrative processes within their own work environment (micro-level) and utilize data sources to predict shifts in global systems (macro-level). … be able to apply systems thinking to advance change within various types of organizational structures including their own.  

Systems thinking is the foundation of lean process improvement. Various systems and global operations will be introduced to frame future sessions. We will examine systems thinking as a management philosophy, a discipline and a tool for maximizing efficiency within international education operations. We will explore why lean process improvement has been slow to make its way to higher education even though manufacturing, healthcare and other sectors have fully embraced it. 

  1. Managing Wastes within International Education Processes

Participants will…  be able to describe the eight forms of waste commonly found within academic and administrative processes. … will understand how these wastes impact efficiency and jeopardize strategic goals. …will utilize tools for assessing waste to perform a waste walk within their own work environment.

When work exceeds capacity, a manager can ask employees to work harder or help employees to work smarter. We will focus on smart workflow as an extension of strategy. We will explore the most common wastes found within our international education administrative processes as well as essential tools for identifying them.

  1. Tactical Approaches to Lean Process Improvement

Participants will be able to describe select lean process improvement tactics and apply them to international higher education processes and begin applying them to their work/campus situation.

We examine techniques for eliminating wastes within administrative processes and promoting a “culture of lean” among teams. We will introduce and discuss various methods and tools that participants can easily implement within their own work environments.

  1. Value Stream Mapping

Participants will be able to describe the steps a value stream mapping exercise and apply the techniques to their own work/campus situations.

We focus on the core steps and considerations for effectively facilitating a value stream mapping exercise. Value stream mapping is a dynamic flow-charting activity used to map steps, decisions and delays inherent within any business process. The process is then re-engineered to include enhancements that shorten completion time and increase value from the perspective of students.

  1. Executive Summaries

Participant will be able to describe select lean process improvement techniques used within manufacturing and apply them to higher education processes.

Participant/groups will present executive summaries of their mapped process with recommendations for streamlining operations. We will discuss challenges and approaches to pursuing these plans in their workplace/campus.

  • Before Session 1: Participants will describe their motivation for taking this course and their background with regards to lean process improvement. This will help the IEL Fellow instructor to form working groups to support each other in the applied work.
  • During session 1: We will form working groups to pursue the applied work.
  • After Session 2: Participants/teams will perform a waste walk within their own work environment, or international operation of their choosing
  • After Session 3: After session #3, participants will identify which tool or set of methods best fit their work situation, would be most useful in improving their operations
  • After Session 4: Participants/teams? will complete a Value Stream Mapping exercise for the international operation of their choosing. This will include creation of a current process map, future process map and calculation of summary metrics (e.g., “takt” time).

Expert Series Design structure

Participants will receive 7.5 hours of synchronous sessions with the instructor and about 4.5 hours of asynchronous sessions during which participants prepare their final project. The synchronous sessions will include the following 5 meetings of 90 minutes each via Zoom (UAlbany).

Synchronous Sessions:

  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD
  • TBD

Instructions for connecting to synchronous sessions and accessing the online material will be provided after registration.

Registration Fee: $399

15% Discount on registration for SUNY employees.

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1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY, 12222

+01 (518) 442-5080

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