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 The Be Global—Enhanced Studies Fund

A strategic plan to enhance the Geographical Sciences Major and Honors Programs of the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences through expanded study abroad opportunities.

We call upon donors to help us build this truly unique program! Give to the Be Global—Enhanced Studies Fund.

For more information and to contribute, please contact:
Katie Holland

301.405.7473  khollan3 [at] umd [dot] edu ()

 

Background:

The study abroad experience is an important addition to traditional education in today’s globalized world. Our daily lives are profoundly affected by what people are doing around the world—and vice-versa. More than ever, our department and its supporters need to contribute to support our students as they work to become global citizens. Through the University Study Abroad Office, students already have opportunities to spend a year, a semester, or a few weeks in short-term study abroad courses. We want to make these rich and meaningful opportunities available for geography students. We want them to Be Global!

Vision:
The Department of Geographical Sciences shall provide our students with the tools to understand the modern world and empower them to become truly global citizens. We will do so by offering our students opportunities to learn through the experience of being outside their own culture, in a place substantially different from the place where they live. The department will transform the short-term study aboard concept and adapt it to become a standard component of the education of geography majors. We also will build a unique model of geographical sciences education with a capstone course for the majority of our majors, and all our Honors students.

The Challenge:Our Goals:
• Place a strong emphasis on learning outside of a traditional classroom setting by linking our on-campus geography program, undergraduate research and internship opportunities to study abroad programs, which would be used as the basis for undergraduates’ honors theses and capstone courses offered by the Department of Geographical Sciences.
• Increase the overall number of geography students in the study abroad programs offered by the Department of Geographical Sciences related to their academic studies. 
• Build a sound financial support for geography majors to enable them to engage in a new field dimension and international understanding of geographical science.
• Offer 10 scholarships open to juniors majoring in geography to participate in study abroad programs offered by the Department of Geographical Sciences. 

Strategic Plan:
Given that the Department of Geographical Sciences already has several short-term study abroad offerings, our strategy is to build on what is in place, enhancing and evolving the current programs and linking them to our curriculum. The closer the linkage the more useful the experience would be for the department and our students.
 
Therefore, we are building a study abroad program consisting of: 
• an on-campus 3-credit course, followed by
• an off-campus 3-credit study abroad experience, followed by
• a 3- to 6-credit supervised research project in the semester after completing international off-campus experience based on data collected abroad and continues on campus research. 

To offset the high cost of studying abroad for our majors we are building the Be Global—Enhanced Studies Fund:
• The Department has started the fund with seed money that has already enabled several students to participate in the successful research program in Croatia. 
• We will continue to build this fund, which would allow the Department of Geographical Sciences to fulfill its obligation to empower students to become truly global citizens by tying successful geographical experience abroad with our on-campus curriculum.

We will capitalize on:
• A significant amount of research in different parts of the world conducted by the faculty of the Department of Geographical Sciences. 
• The fact that our faculty is native to several countries on four continents. 
• The faculty whose activities can be drawn upon for the geography program abroad in different regions of the world. 
• The unique nature of the opportunity; none of our peer departments in other universities have dedicated study abroad funding, nor do they make it a capstone experience.

The Department of Geographical Sciences’ strategic plan calls for a radical change in the short-term study abroad program from a minor activity to an integral part of the geography major and honors program. This experience will help our students Be Global! The overriding problem faced by our students who otherwise would participate in short term study abroad programs is the cost, and the university has no or very limited resources that can be used to defray these costs. The challenge therefore is to develop a substantial fund that can provide significant scholarships to reduce the cost of studying abroad to geography majors.

Thank you for helping us launch this groundbreaking program! Give to the Be Global—Enhanced Studies Fund.

For more information and to contribute, please contact: 

Katie Holland
301.405.7473 

khollan3 [at] umd [dot] edu ()