SIT Academic Strategic Plan 2021-2026

Last updated June 14, 2021

Office of the Dean of Faculty, Approved by AAC


To make School for International Training a leading institution of global higher education recognized for its innovative academic programs, impactful research, transformative learning practices, and inclusive, pluriversal, and non-hegemonic intellectual engagement with the critical global issues facing the world today.


We will innovate through planned diversification of academic programs, design of a comprehensive education portfolio that spans from pre-college to doctoral degrees, integration of data-driven approach to internationalization, enhancement of an inclusive pedagogy that reckons with impacts of social justice values, and creation of opportunities for faculty and students to conduct effective and groundbreaking engagement and research.        


The strategic goals in this plan are the outcomes of in-depth analysis, reflection, and processing of formal and informal input from a variety of stakeholders including students, faculty, SIT departments, partner institutions, and market or audit reports submitted by professional organizations. The strategic plan reaffirms the institutional goal of ‘building back strong,’ determines the best response to conditions in a time of disruption and shifting needs and provides a focused vision of a dynamic academic structure that aims to center SIT as a leading global institution of higher education. 

Over the past year,  we have conducted an assessment review of the academic relevance of programs, identified critical academic areas that need to be addressed in conversation with stakeholders, taken part in Blue Skies meetings and developed a solid understanding of the external environment of study abroad and international education, debriefed with faculty the Diversity Abroad scoreboard report and climate survey of SIT/WL diversity, equity, and inclusion performance, sat through weekly meetings of graduate faculty, studied the EIL/SIT market exploratory reports submitted by marketing consultants, presented a preliminary review of the Asia Pacific undergraduate portfolio at the program development meeting, shared a draft vision of the strategic plan at the virtual faculty workshops, briefed the IHP advisory board on the re-envisioning of the IHP portfolio, presented a succinct overview of the plan to WL academic affairs committee and WL Board of Trustees, and maintained throughout regular discussions and consultations with SIT President on the overarching vision for the new academic structure to ensure that the strategic plan is aligned with SIT/WL institutional orientation.



The aim of the strategic plan is to improve the performance of the academic programs and align internal resources with key institutional goals. The academic programs are the heart of the institution where all departmental efforts are synchronized to support faculty and students. The academic strategic plan actively brings about transformative thinking and action by balancing available human and financial resources and anticipated conditions and establishes a bridge between current state and the vision for SIT as a leading global institutional of higher education. 


The strategic planning process addresses key focus areas of the academic programs for the 2021-2026 time period. These focus areas include precollege, first-year, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, and address in their horizontal and vertical approaches SIT’s three organizing success categories: teaching, research, and community engagement.


The priorities that drive the focus of this strategic plan are grouped in the following three main action areas:

Enhance Program Academic Relevance 

  1. Review curriculum to center outcome-based learning
  2. Rethink CGIs in the context of shifting needs and changing higher education environment
  3. Design a DEI plan for academic excellence to facilitate integration of inclusive pedagogy and equitable shared governance
  4. Improve systems and operational support of graduate and undergraduate programs
  5. Support high impact practitioner expertise and research by facilitating professional development opportunities for faculty and students

Develop Innovative Academic Programs

  1. Grow virtual internship and language programs by 60% over the next five years
  2. Develop applied learning and career-oriented programs with STEM focus
  3. Diversify design of IHP programs to enhance support and sustainability
  4. Strengthen regeneration of graduate institute through building enrollment, ensuring that each of the degrees is successful, and that the global master model is appropriate while planning for incremental growth of portfolio
  5. Implement vision of SIT as a comprehensive education institution with learning opportunities that extend from pre-college through first-year to doctoral programs

Cultivate Strategic Academic Partnerships

  1. Increase SIT visibility so that it is recognized as a high-quality academic global institution of higher education
  2. Promote academic collaboration with Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)
  3. Build new domestic and global strategic partnerships to facilitate delivery of first year college and SIT Direct programs
  4. Use Centers of Excellence to extend network of program resources and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff
  5. Enhance academic and operational collaboration across SIT/WL learning centers and graduate and undergraduate faculty

Strengthen Shared Governance

  • Finalize the different elements of shared governance (by-laws; faculty rank; professional development … etc.)
  • Support faculty governance of the academic programs through appropriate and transparent working policies and processes 
  • Establish regular communication with governance committees to ensure effective and timely deliverables

Process and Stages 

Over the past decade, SIT has held fast through many challenges including a significant drop in graduate enrollment, a decline in undergraduate enrollment in high-margin revenue regions, and the interruption brought about by the pandemic that led to the suspension of almost all programs. During these difficult times, faculty and staff have shown unwavering commitment to the institution and have stoically accepted to do more with less resources. Over the past year, many agreed to be on furlough or reduced pay so that SIT could sustain and remain productive. In parallel, consistent feedback from faculty has indicated the need for building trust through fair allocation of resources, development of transparent policies and protocols, and a strong shared governance system. We believe that this strategic plan and the strategic goals outlined below are an important step toward making the academic programs stronger, financially healthier, and, thus, enabling the institution to meet the needs of faculty and staff.          

For a fluid process of implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, the priorities are divided into nine organizing strategic goals:

  1. Review curriculum and program design 
  2. Review Critical Global Issues 
  3. Review and grow undergraduate portfolio
  4. Diversify IHP comparative portfolio
  5. Grow graduate portfolio 
  6. Use Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for academic excellence
  7. Cultivate strategic partnerships and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff  
  8. Increase revenue streams by diversifying academic models
  9. Enhance academic programs through project management [student wellness training, faculty onboarding, and program management systems]  

We will engage in an extensive review of curriculum and program design. The insights that guide this review are derived from data gathered through an assessment of program “academic relevance.”. Five criteria are used to determine academic relevance: 1) student input on program intellectual engagement, academic structure, and learning; 2) faculty vitality which includes scholarship, innovation, and creative activity; 3) academic reputation with program alumni and partner schools; 4) intellectual rigor, which assesses clarity of program outcomes, engagement with CGI, and capacity to facilitate the development of practical skills and self-growth; and 5) the extent to which the program is mission critical in terms of its alignment with the vision for the future and contribution to the advancement of WL/SIT core values.  

Curriculum design and review process is continuous, cyclical, and: 

  • addresses the needs and interests of students;  
  • applies a sound understanding of course and program outcomes; 
  • clarifies priorities for student learning and how these will be met; 
  • draws on recent literature and good practice; 
  • maximizes use of local knowledge and resources;  
  • connects local to critical global issues; 
  • explains how student progress will be assessed. 


Curriculum review aims to:

  1. Create a dynamic and outcome-based curriculum;
  2. Articulate clearly defined, achievable, and assessable learning outcomes;
  3. Ensure curriculum is aligned with institutional mission and the academic standards of the accrediting agency;
  4. Engage with host communities in a mutually beneficial and respectful manner;
  5. Foster conditions for inclusive teaching pedagogy;
  6. Evaluate integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching, research, and community engagement;

Environmental Scan 

Environmental scan offers a picture of factors in the changing environment that may impact the program. Areas to review include:

  • Student characteristics: How have students changed in the past five years? How have you adapted your program considering these developments? 
  • Evolving student expectations: What are your students’ expectations? For example, are recent developments in the discipline, changes in the job market or credit requirements impacting your program enrollment? 
  • Currency of curriculum: Has your program curriculum been revised over the past five years to reflect changes in the discipline or to respond to student needs? 
  • Continuing need for program: For example, is your program attracting students from the same majors? Is the program appealing to students from new majors?  
  • Enrollment trends: compare information about trends available through Open Doors data and enrollment trend on your program. 
  • Program outcomes: are program outcomes clear for the student? Do they outline student achievement of theoretical knowledge and practical skills?  
  • Student learning outcomes: describe knowledge, skills and abilities and how they are assessed. 
  • Unique program features: what are learning opportunities that are unique to your program – that is, opportunities not available on competitors’ programs? 
  • Post-review plan: need to set a plan for continuous enhancement. What is the time for the next review?  

Timeline and Process

While the Office of the Dean of Faculty will oversee and facilitate the process, the expectation is that faculty and their local teams will be fully involved in the project. The process will extend over three years (2021-2023) and will focus on review of each CGI program cluster. 

  1. Faculty will fill out a self-reflective Program Appraisal Form
  2. Appraisal form is reviewed by a sub-committee composed of members appointed by the Office of the Dean of Faculty
  3. Review includes additional data from past curriculum reviews (when relevant), student evaluations, Open Doors, feedback from partner schools
  4. Action plan is designed
  5. Implementation timeline
  6. Monitoring and assessment schedule

Timeline of the review:

  • July-August 2021 – Self-reflective program appraisal completed
  • September-October 2021 – Sub-committee review completed
  • November-December 2021 – Action plan design and implementation timeline is set
  • January-June 2022 – Implementation of review for programs in Development & Inequity and Identity & Human Resilience CGIs with relatively minor changes
  • January to December 22 – Implementation of program changes in Development and Inequity and Identity and Human Resilience with substantial changes.

The CGI framework is a hallmark of the SIT academic programs. CGIs encompass interconnected economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural processes that have significant effects on the future of humanity. The CGI approach allows for an interdisciplinary engagement where intellect, emotion, and imagination intersect to create new ways of engaging with critical planetary issues such as inequality, climate change, health, education, and peace and justice. Whether at the level of graduate or undergraduate programs, the CGI optic creates opportune conditions to intervene in an intellectual and affective space that underlines the interconnectedness of human narratives and life stories. We understand that impacts of CGIs are dependent on structural changes in geopolitical regional and world configurations as well as changing epistemic, political, and socio-economic planetary engagement. The UN, for example, publishes every year a list of the critical global issues “to watch for.” In 2021, the list includes:

  1. Climate action
    • A decade to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals
    • Inequality & Exclusion
    • Humanitarian catastrophe and response
    • Equity and Inclusivity
    • Reimagining multilateralism(more networked and inclusive of civil society, businesses and local organizations)
    • The sustainability test | the inclusion test| the innovation test| 

It is for the same reasons that we revisit, periodically, our list of CGIs.

The CGI review process is guided by the following objectives:

Environmental Scan 

Environmental scan offers a picture of factors in the changing environment that may impact the program. Areas to review include:

  • How have the world’s pressing global issues shifted since the last time we reviewed the CGIs?
  • How do we take into consideration the needs of Gen-Z students as we engage with the redesign of the program’s focus?
  • How do we formulate CGIs while taking into consideration Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
  • How do we ensure that Critical Global Issues allow for pluridisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches?
  • How do we formulate CGIs to prepare students to be the leaders of tomorrow and to develop skills that are relevant to their career choices?

Timeline and Process

We will oversee and facilitate the process in collaboration with faculty. The process will extend over three years (2021-2023). We will proceed first with the review of Development | Inequality and Identity | Resilience CGIs and will review program cluster in each of the CGIs. The review process should accelerate once Chairs are appointed. 

  • July-December 2021 – Development and Inequality/Identity & Human Resilience
  • Janvier -June 2022 – CGI cluster #2, to be determined considering availabilities of CGI chairs and most pressing needs
  • June -December 2022 – CGI cluster #3, to be determined considering availabilities of CGI chairs and most pressing needs
  • December-June 2023 – Review and assessment of CGI clusters #1 and #2
  • June-December 2023 – Review and assessment of CGI cluster #3

2021: Review Development | Inequality and Identity | Resilience CGIs

Development | Inequality

Currently 21 Programs list Development and Inequality as the primary CGI and 35 list it as the secondary CGI. As shown in the table below, enrollment on development focused programs has been inconsistent (if not consistently decreasing) over the last five years. Except for IHP Cities, Australia Sustainability, and Chile Valparaiso, most of the other eight programs could barely enroll 150 students over 11 semesters (three programs could barely reach 100 students). The review should first redefine the CGI in terms of the new focus of development research (post-development), make development practice a major component of the program including project design and appraisal, needs assessment and project proposals, and engagement in public consultations, and expand the scales of development to include both the Global North and Global South. Inequities in distribution and access to resources, inequalities in human development, and local and global governance will continue to “shape the prospects of the people who live to see the 22nd century.”  At the same, development projects are more and more associated with response to natural or human catastrophes. It may therefore be better to reframe this CGI around Post-Development | Humanitarianism to integrate design of relief and humanitarian aid projects and focus on the

Identity | Resilience

Programs in this CGI celebrate disenfranchised and minority groups, indigenous and migrant communities and point to new epistemologies, new practices, new relationtionalities, and new forms of resilience and resistance from the bottom-up. In this, the human condition is seen in its full complexity and interconnectedness. In line with the UN definition and institutional focus on DEI, we consider refocusing this CGI on Inclusivity | Exclusion and the critical praxis of power, context, inequality, and injustice as they manifest in the intersectional space of race, class, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, and age. While enrollment on programs in this CGI cluster is overall fair, the review will include revamp of a few programs. It is important to note how enrollment numbers have increased since program revamp in 2018. Also, though the highest enrolled program in this CGI is in the Netherlands, that is the only program in Europe in this cluster.

CGI review will also yield:

  • Review of the Research Methods and Ethics course
  • Development of CGI core modules across programs
  • Clarity in CGI program listing [cross-listing has created uncertainty about program focus]
  • Define and determine SIT’s approach to interdisciplinarity

The strategic plan premises a portfolio of dynamic, academically relevant, and financially sustainable programs. A major component of this strategic goal is focus on teaching quality, the quality of adjuncts/guest lecturers, whether assessment and advising for undergraduates is appropriate, and thinking through how to make the undergraduate experience fully student-centered.
After a preliminary review from the perspective of academic relevance and enrollment history of programs across the portfolio, we have identified a cluster of programs for substantial revamp.
In parallel, we have also identified growth areas especially in Europe, MENA, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. This will include increasing operations in existing locations where resources are available and starting new entities in new countries. The following list provides an outline of the vision for the next five years:

  1. Austria: Central European University (partnership) (2022)
  2. Barbados: new entity (can function as back up for locations such as Samoa) (2023)
  3. Brazil: new entity (will start with IHP) (2022)
  4. Cape Verde (Geopolitics and Maritime Power in West Africa) (2023)
  5. Colombia: semester program (conflict transformation and peacebuilding?) (2022)
  6. Croatia: will make a great addition to Europe portfolio (2023)
  7. Finland: will explore Finland and Russia program (2023)
  8. Greece: we have a reliable partner in Athens (2022)
  9. Italy (Palermo): new entity and semester program (2023)
  10. Taiwan: will make up for the loss of China programs (diplomacy in southeast Asia?) (2022)
  11. Thailand: a great addition to Asia pacific portfolio (Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Climate Change?) (2022)
  12. Turkey: new entity and semester program in Istanbul (2022)
  13. Poland: interesting country with a strong community in the US, a powerhouse in Eastern Europe (2024)

SIT President defines IHP foundational statements as follows:

  1. IHP needs to be successful – IHP cannot operate in its ‘normal’ manner for at least the next 1.5 – 2 years
  2. IHP needs to be visible – IHP needs to operate (and needs some ‘wins’ soon) – this requires changing the model (suggestion: 2 countries not 4, then build back up) (this requires lowering tuition), and lowering the breakeven in the short term (suggestion: 7-8 after lower tuition)
  3. IHP needs to be known for dynamic/flexible/able to expand/responsive/innovation – IHP has an ongoing difficulty innovating as the present model requires organization to occur within a certain financial structure and so requires high breakeven numbers for a new program (16 students on average required to break-even per program)
  4. IHP needs to have a reputation for quality – the only permanent IHPers are our PDs and a small group of other staff. We are academically dependent on others even if they are valued partners. How can we merge the best of IHP with the best of present SIT staff (academic synergies) to build the highest possible reputation for the organization whilst also bringing in the wider community IHP has built?
  5. Recognize and embrace the diversity of IHP students

Recommendation: develop new IHP programs with different financial designs based on SIT expertise while working to build back the existing programs.

IHP Fully Embedded Comparative Model

This model is fully embedded in SIT/WL learning centers and relies on the network of resources available to the regular semester programs. The Cities in the 21st Century and Human Rights will pilot this model as the programs will be housed respectively at the learning centers in Argentina, Spain, and South Africa and Nepal, Jordan, and Chile.

  • IHP Cultural Heritage: Legacy, Identity, and Curating the Future is the first new fully embedded program that will run from the centers in Nepal, Ghana, and the Netherlands (2023).

IHP Intra-regional Comparative Model

This model is focused on the comparative study of a critical global issue in a delimited region instead of across continents (as is the regular IHP model). This approach allows for in-depth study of the critical global issue, provides a more immersive cultural experience, and enhances the financial sustainability of the program. Program under consideration in this model include:

  • Geopolitics of the Amazon: Capital, Politics, and Indigenous Habitat

                Possible locations: Peru | Ecuador | Brazil (2023)

  • Death and Dying: History, Culture, and Rituals in the 21st Century

                Possible locations: Athens | Istanbul | Tunis or ROME (2023)

  • Polar Geographies: Systems, Policy, and the Environment

                Possible locations: Alaska | Iceland| Ushuaia (2024)

  • Green Transition: Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics

                Possible locations: Iceland | Portugal | Georgia (2023) 

  • Humanitarianism and Peacebuilding: Conflict, Relief, and Regional Governance

                Possible locations: Thailand | Cambodia | Vietnam (2024)


Build on the path mapped by SIT President’s 2017 vision and which was summed up in:

Identifying new programs and ways of learning:

  • Programs with strong academic content and leadership
  • Relationship to the job market – locally, nationally, our historic partners
  • Synergies: relationship to GDE, relationship to Study Abroad
  • Building on our expertise
  • Quickly building for success (for Fall 2018)
  • Avoid cannibalization where possible
  • Strengthening through partnerships

Over the last three years, the Graduate School

Current Programs by Modality  

  • 1 Doctorate 
  • 6 Global Master 
  • 6 Low Residency 
  • 3 Certificates  

Current Programs by CGI  

Education & Social Change (1 D, 1 GM, 2 LR, 2 C) 

  • Global Education – EdD (Low Res) 
  • International Education – MA (Global Master) 
  • International Education – MA (Part-time Hybrid) 
  • International Education – Grad Certificate  
  • TESOL – MAT (Part-time Hybrid) 
  • TESOL – Grad Certificate  

Climate and Environment (1 GM) 

  • Climate Change and Global Sustainability – MA (Global Master) 

Development and Inequality (2 GM, 2 LR) 

  • Development Practice – MA (Global Master)  
  • Global Leadership and Social Innovation – MA (Part-time Hybrid) [cancelled?]
  • Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management – MA (Part-time Hybrid) 
  • Sustainable Development – MA (Part-time Hybrid) 

Global Health and Well-being (1 GM) 

  • Global Health – MA (Global Master) 

Geopolitics and Power (1 GM) 

  • Diplomacy and International Relations – MA (Global Master) 

Identity and Human Resilience (1 GM, 1 LR) 

  • Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management – MA (Global Master)  
  • Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management – MA (Part-time Hybrid)  

Peace and Justice (1 LR, 1 C) 

  • Peace and Justice Leadership – MA (Part-time Hybrid) 
  • CONTACT – Graduate Certificate 

We will ensure that each of the degrees is successful and that the global master model is appropriate while planning for incremental growth of portfolio. Over the next five years, these are the priorities:

Develop Five More Master’s Degrees (3 years) 

  • MS – Ecology and Conservation Management (Climate | Environment) – Global Master (2023) 
  • MA – Social Justice and Advocacy (Peace | Justice) – Global Master (2022)
  • MA- Social Work and Case Management (Identity | Resilience) – Licensed Global Master (2024)
  • MA – Climate Change (Climate | Environment) – Low Residency (2023)
  • MA- TESOL and Second Language Acquisition (Education | Social Change) Global Master (2024) 

Develop 2 More Doctorate Degrees 

  • Humanitarianism and Peacebuilding (2024)
  • Sustainability Studies (2024)

Program Review (3rd year) 

  • Review all master programs from the optic of academic relevance, professional prospects, and financial sustainability

Things to Keep in Mind 

  • Solidify funnel: SSA/IHP – Graduate – Doctorate 
  • 2/3 of our surveyed SSA alums say they go on to further education 
  • Be mindful of which CGIs have the most students and develop a full funnel (SSA-Grad-Doc) with those in mind first.  
  • Popular majors: business, STEM, pre-med, psychology, sociology, speech pathology, criminal justice 
  • Backbone of the graduate school should still be immersive programs and experiential learning.  
  • Other ideas for future doctorate degrees – Identity and Resilience – Humanities and social science, Policy and Advocacy 

Engage in an extensive review of the institution’s academic culture from the perspective of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. SIT’s DEI engagement starts from the understanding of the growing need for a comprehensive review of institutions of higher education’s entire academic structures, course offerings, and intellectual and political traditions that is more inclusive of traditionally underrepresented people. The insights that guide the DEI strategic plan are based on the Diversity Abroad Report, the ODF’s internal assessment, discussions with other units, and data gathered from evaluations and conversations with students, partner schools, faculty, and staff. As a global institution, SIT understands the nuances that foreground the very concepts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across the institution.


Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals are:

  1. Integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in SIT’s core academic mission of teaching, research, and community engagement.
  2. Enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion accountability, effectiveness, and collaboration in all learning centers.
  3. Develop an inclusive learning environment where diverse needs of students, staff, and faculty are celebrated, respected, and supported.
  4. Create accessible designs and innovative partnerships to reach students from more diverse backgrounds.
  5. Enhance an academic culture that centers students of color and other underrepresented groups. This is particularly important as we define Critical Global Issues, design programs, chose center locations, hire faculty and staff, and invite guest lecturers, etc. 
  6. Establish an intellectual culture that values, represents, and welcomes marginalized knowledges through the topics we teach, the scholars we engage with (readings, guest lectures, etc.), and the knowledge we produce (journals, conferences and lecture series, research groups, etc.) Improve the diversity of our academic engagement with knowledge production and dissemination.

Timeline and Process

The Office of the Dean of Faculty will oversee and facilitate the process in collaboration with faculty and other units. This will be conducted in two steps.

  1. Step 1: Review and Assessment
  2. Curriculum: Do program syllabi reflect diversity, equity, and inclusion principles?
  3. Assess:
    •  Processes of program design as they take into consideration Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion principles:
    • The DA report and faculty and staff small group discussion
  4. Curriculum: Do program syllabi reflect diversity, equity, and inclusion principles? 
  5. References: diversity of representation of references from both local and international contributors to the field?  
  6. Inclusion of scholars from different backgrounds?  
  7. Inclusion of readings representative of diverse epistemic stands? 
  8. Lecturers: Diversity of lecturer pool
  9. Are lecturers and guest-speakers representative of local communities?  
  10. Are we consciously thinking of recruiting a diverse pool of lecturers, guest speakers, and local faculty? If yes, please explain how. 
  11. Are you taking into consideration local diversity? Are you maximizing use of local knowledge and resources? 
  12. Underrepresented groups: Assess that programs address or consider the needs and interests of students from underrepresented communities
  13. Local staff: Evaluate the diversity of local staff members and ensure that they can support students from different backgrounds and identities as they navigate the semester?  
  14. Step 2: Action plan
    • Propose and agree on an institution-wide definition of Diversity Equity, and Inclusion
    • Specify and offer, in collaboration with SHSW, scholarly resources that enable all faculty and students to engage with/in leading and cutting-edge research on issues pertaining to diversity, inclusion, access, social justice, power, and privilege around the globe.
    • Develop a shared understanding and commitment to issues pertaining to DEI across SIT and instill a culture of thinking critically about, and engaging academically with, DEI issues at SIT. 
      • Organize fireside chats on diversity equity and inclusion.
      • Host discussion panels on DEI issues based on real case studies.
      • Sponsor lectures on DEI with distinguished scholars or practitioners
      • Encourage faculty to participate in conferences and intellectual forums on issues pertaining to DEI
  • Facilitate difficult conversations and develop training materials for faculty and staff in collaboration with other units (SHWB, Learning and support, and Legal, etc.)
    • Develop series of trainings:
      • Program Design
      • Student Health, Safety, and Well-being
      • Decolonial Pedagogy
      • DEI, Well-being, and Resiliency
      • Legal and DEI
      • Rethink pre-departure programming with a strong focus on DEI.
        • Explore innovative ways to collaborate effectively with partner school before students arrive in-country.
        • Revisit orientation material.
        • Develop training on How to begin conversations on DEI issues among the students and staff at the outset of the program.
      • Provide diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development programs by increasing assessment literacy and providing program design and evaluation tools for use across programs.
      • Provide seed funding for critical scholarship, curriculum development, conference participation, and faculty development related to DEI
    • Establish a fluid assessment process to evaluate the implementation of the process

Timeline & Actions

July- 2021 – Definitions DEI
July-December 2021 – Step 1
January 2021-June 2026 – Step 2: Implementation plan


Strategic Partnerships, Professional Development, and Thought Leadership is a major priority of SIT’s five-year Strategic plan. These priorities aim to create an intellectual space that attracts, welcomes, and fosters the academic engagement of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds. We strive to give faculty, students, and staff the opportunities to participate in strong and vibrant communities of thought, network with colleagues and partners from diverse communities and institutions of higher education, and participate in the production and dissemination of innovative and groundbreaking knowledge that ensure and expand SIT’s thought leadership in particular clusters of excellence in the U.S. and globally.


  • Ensure SIT’s national and international thought leadership in a set of areas
  • Expand networking opportunities for faculty, students, and staff
  • Attract, shelter, and nurture the success of students, faculty, and staff from diverse academic backgrounds
  • Increase faculty’s visibility in the U.S. and at the international level
  • Provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff
  • Establish a strong research culture within the SIT

Environmental Scan 

  • Strength and Potential: review areas where SIT is already a thought-leader (International Education, Second Language Acquisition, etc.) and develop areas with strong research potential (centers of excellence in research).
  • Research Culture: Determine SIT faculty’s interest in research, development of research groups, journals, lecture series, conferences, and symposia.
  • Partnership Opportunities: review and assess the list and characteristics of major partners and sending schools
  • Funding Opportunities: identify funding needs and opportunities with the Office of Research

Timeline and process

The Office of the Dean of Faculty will oversee and facilitate the process in collaboration with faculty, CGI chairs, and other units. This will be conducted in two steps.

  1. Step 1: Review and Assessment
    • Review and assess the current list of strategic partners with a focus on:
      • Academic diversity of students and faculty body
      • Types of institutions (state schools, majority minority institutions, community colleges, etc.)
      • Potential to develop partnership in terms of diversification of students, academics, and program design, etc.
      • Potential to collaborate (research, lecture series, etc.)
    • Create a list of areas where SIT already is a thought leader
    • Create a list of areas where SIT can develop clusters of excellence based on current faculty strengths.
    • Review strength and reach of existing research engagement (lecture series, faculty forum, guest lectures, etc.)
    • Review and brainstorm with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs on funding needs and areas of priority
  • Step 2: Develop and implement an action plan
    • Work with University Relations to develop a list of new strategic partnerships that expand and diversify our current network in light of the findings in step 1;
    • Develop clusters of excellence based on current CGIs and faculty strength;
    • Develop and expand research engagement in light of the findings in step 1;
    • Offer trainings and professional development opportunities;
    • Propose and execute a clear plan to center academic engagement within the institution
      • Lecture series
      • Academic Journals
      • Research groups
      • Conference and symposia

Timeline & Key Actions

  • July – December 2021 – Step 1: Review and Assessment
  • July-December 2021 – Develop an online academic journal and a research group
  • January 2021-March 2021 – Step 2.a: list of new partnerships; 2.b: list of clusters of excellence; 2.c: develop an action plan for research engagement 2.d: list of training and professional development opportunities; 2.e: list of lecture series, academic journals, research groups, etc.
  • March 2021-June 2026 – plan Implementation

The aim of this strategic goal is to increase streams by diversifying program models and contribute to the execution of the institutional vision of integrating World Learning programs within key learning centers. This goal is based on SIT President’s strategic vision and includes:

  • Growth of EIL portfolio
  • SIT First
  • SIT Direct
  • Growth of WL Centers
  • Growth of virtual internships and language programs by 60% by 2025.

The ODF will oversee the implementation of the academic components of this strategic goal including leveraging resources at learning centers, designing programs, developing syllabi, and overseeing APA approval process.


Strategy: Cultivating Well-being as a Priority Practice

Mounting evidence from neuroscience research shows that mindfulness practices can be taught to have a wide range of measurable benefits. Practitioners of mindfulness proactively increase their capabilities of managing stress and overall mental health through self-regulation. Mindfulness can prime students’ minds to understand and integrate cross-cultural immersive experiences more successfully. Non-judgmental self-inquiry assists us in developing a combination of multidisciplinary social, interpersonal, and positive behavioral soft skills that nurture and balance personalities which promote competencies such as problem-solving, leadership, creativity, communication, social consciousness, and confidence. These are all skills fundamental to modern work and life. Meditation research has been steadily increasing over the past decade and studies point to mindfulness as a practice that can rewire the neural networks of the brain, improving memory, learning comprehension, and cognitive functioning all while areas of the brain responsible for stress and anxiety become less active. The conscious practices of being present, kindness, gratitude, compassion, and the creation of a space to explore the building blocks of what makes us human, cultivates self- and societal- introspection, priming the mind to do the difficult work of recognizing bias and inequities more successfully.

“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn.

We will make a junior version as a core component of SIT First.


  1. Pilot foundational Well-being and Resilience course to a focus group of staff and faculty. July – October 2021 (25 hours total).
  2. Focus group participations assesses curriculum and recommend if this course should be implemented as an optional foundational non-credit pre-departure course for all students. Course should also be open to all World Learning and SIT staff as a personal wellness development option. November- December 2021
  3. Update curriculum with suggested modifications. Updated sessions will need to be recorded to build online course up for asynchronous users. Spring 2022
  4. Launch course for students. Fall 2022

Strategy: Anti-Oppression and Implicit Bias Training as a Priority Practice

The Well-being and Resilience foundational course can prime learners to successfully engage with the difficult work of anti-oppression and implicit bias reflection and training. Once practitioners of mindfulness can non-judgmentally observe their own actions, words, and thoughts, their capacity to gain a meaningful perspective shift and generate compassion for others increases. A primary outcome of mindfulness work is to generate a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006), which views abilities as something you can change and improve through practice. Participants are more responsive to exploring their own bias openly if they know they can 1) become aware of them and 2) can transform them with conscious effort. People with a fixed mindset see critical feedback as a personal attack rather than as a chance to improve or develop new approaches and perspectives which can make implicit bias and anti-oppression training less effective.

“Sometimes one of the most subversive things you can do is to actually speak with people you disagree with, and not simply at them. Empathy is not an endorsement; it just means I am acknowledging the humanity of someone who was raised to think very differently from me.” Dylan Marron

If we can first build the skills in our students, faculty, and staff to have humility with ourselves and each other, mindfully observe our thoughts and actions, better manage our stress and mental health, and realize we have the ability to change, we can then begin the challenging work of building diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.


  1. Form committee of faculty representatives that want to develop a foundational course focused on anti-oppression and implicit bias training. July – October 2021
  2. Pilot developed course to volunteers. October – March 2022
  3. Review curriculum and update as needed.  March – May 2022
  4. Launch course option for students. Fall 2022

Strategy: Redesigning Undergraduate Orientation and Re-Entry Seminars

Program launch and orientation are important components that set the stage for the learning experience we provide to students. Faculty have developed successful components and activities for orientation that can be more successfully shared and implemented with the wider community.  With the assistance of faculty, staff in the field, the office of the Dean of Faculty, and the office of Student Health, Safety, and Well-being we can collaboratively design new models for both orientation and reentry.


  1. Form committee of faculty, local staff, ODF, and SHSW representatives to develop research and collect various creative orientation and reentry modules from wider program community. July – August 2021
  2. Identify specific orientation and reentry components that need improvement and design new content. September – May 2022
  3. Pilot new orientation and reentry on key identified programs. Fall 2022
  4. Monitor and evaluation (feedback from students and staff), redesign as needed.  Fall 2022 – Spring 2023
  5. Launch new model for all programs. Fall 2023

Strategy: Updating New Undergraduate Faculty Training and Onboarding

How can we improve new faculty onboarding and training to be more concise and effective? In the past we heavily relied on brining all new faculty to the Vermont campus to participate in face-to-face onboarding. Immersive in person training is still a very important component to successfully onboarding new faculty, preparing them to run programs, and introducing them to the organization and the community that will be supporting them, but how can we improve? Can we separate review of policy and process from the more experiential and non-formal components of training new staff? Can we create a platform that allows for 50% of the training to be conducted online asynchronously? Face-to-face training can be shorted and reserved for the development of soft and specific skills needed to run programs abroad. Various modules could be developed not only for new faculty or staff, but as professional development options for existing staff.


  1. Form committee of new and experienced faculty, local staff, ODF, SHSW, and operations representatives to identify areas for improvement with new faculty training/onboarding. July – August 2021
  2. Identify which components of new faculty training can be turned into an online course. September 2021
  3. Part of the committee may want to branch off and develop the online course material. September – May 2022
  4. Develop creative modules to build capacities and skills of new faculty to be delivered face-to-face. Identify module topics of desired and required trainings for existing faculty for professional development. September – May 2022
  5. Develop professional training modules that meet identified needs along with yearly schedule for implementation. May – December 2022
  6. Pilot new faculty training and professional development trainings. Spring 2023
  7. Monitor and evaluate – redesign as needed.