SIT DEIA+ Strategic Plan 2022-2024

Our Vision

This three-year strategic plan for School for International Training (SIT) identifies priority areas for ongoing advancement of our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for both SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute to ensure our educational activities are accessible to, and supportive of the academic, personal, and professional success of all students. 

Our Goal:

By undergoing this specific plan, SIT seeks to:

  1. Increase participation of students who have not traditionally participated in our programs, with a focus on First Generation students, veterans, racial/ethnic minorities, students with disabilities, and all gender identities
  2. Ensure that all students feel supported during their SIT program; and
  3. Make our principles and actions transparent to our students, homestay families, faculty, staff and partner institutions.

Our Mission

“SIT prepares students to be intercultural effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible global citizenship. SIT fulfills this mission with field-based academic study abroad programs for undergraduates and accredited master’s degrees and certificate programs for graduates and professionals.”

3-Year Plan

The elements of this plan address opportunities that stretch across offices and departments, with management, faculty, and staff assuming responsibility for supporting student success through high-impact programming. To succeed, we all must understand that diversity, equity, and inclusion—essential components of organizational and educational quality—are to be invited and integrated into every aspect of the institution’s operations and are not isolated initiatives.

Priority Areas for the Advancement of diversity, equity & inclusion

A. Strategy & Communication

  1. Goal: Demonstrate strategy and leadership by defining diversity, equity, and inclusion in the SIT global context which compliments the larger World Learning organization.
    • Intended Result:
      • Create an SIT DEIA+ Working Group to increases collaboration and communication between SIT units and work in harmony with the World Learning DEIA+ Committee, and
      • establish consensus definitions for “access”, “inclusion”, “diversity” and “equity”
  2. Goal: Strengthen communications about diversity and inclusion commitments and programs with internal and external stakeholders (partnerships).
    • Intended Result(s):
      • visible presence of SIT DEIA+ group and its measurable goals as part of an internal SharePoint site and the larger external website to
        • Highlight workshops and trainings
        • Provide updates in regular internal and external newsletters for the purpose of regular communication about diversity and inclusion strategy and its impact
          • Report regularly to alumni and stakeholders on DEIA+ efforts
          • Better coordinate alumni efforts across all world Learning brands and review “indicator categories” of the Mentor Experience program to align with SIT’s DEIA+ strategic priorities, by leveraging the connections between alumni ambassador/mentoring programs.
      • Create focus groups of alumni to assist assessment, marketing, re-entry, and alumni affinity areas
    • Increase the presence of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in marketing outreach materials and websites, including specific messaging to target groups with the creation of specific materials for parents, guardians, and students, including testimonials from diverse students that address health, safety and well-being.
    • Ensure that the images, tag lines, terminology, and messaging content in our web sites, social media and printed materials fully communicate SIT’s commitment to diversifying student participation and creating an inclusive program environment.
    • Create institutional norms around addressing pronouns
    • Deepen relationships with existing sending institutions and partner organizations such as Posse Foundation, the Bonner Program, and SEO to raise awareness of the benefits of and support of underrepresented students in our programs
    • Create relationships with native American communities near campus and develop a Land Acknowledgement statement
    • Communicate about the availability of financial assistive tools specific to diverse students consistently, and ensure it is a required talking point during advising sessions.
      • Develop targeted materials for students to better understand funding and financial options available.
      • Create resources that speak to the needs of students with disabilities to provide better support.
  3. Goal:  Use and improve our data collection efforts to diversify our pool of sending institutions and partner organization to expand our student profile with a focus on First Generation students, veterans, racial/ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities and all gender identities.
    • Intended Result(s)
      • Increase visibility of applicant demographic data such as race/ethnicity, Pell Grant recipient status, veteran status, first-in-family to attend college status, and “first time abroad” status for both SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute
      • Share this information more widely both internally and externally, as well as benchmark against published industry trends.
  4. Goal: Enhance health, safety, well-being and academic support for all students to ensure they  have a rewarding and successful experience (recognizing that different students need different support).
    • Intended Result
      • Realize greater overall program satisfaction in post-program evaluations.
  5. Improve our understanding of DEIA+ issues while overseas by surveying students and academic directors during programs   and improve future outreach and support strategies for underrepresented students.
    • Intended Result
      • Greater satisfaction with programs
  6. Goal: In partnership with the DEIA+ Committee to 1) conduct targeted outreach, recruitment, and retention efforts to diversify staff hiring with a focus on U.S.-based roles which support students directly such as outreach and student support while 2) amplifying engagement with diverse alumni to recruit staff and students.
    • Intended Result (s)
      • Collect demographic information about staff across SIT in both internal auditing and external promotion.
      • Create and promote a formulated plan for the outreach, retention, and support of diverse employees and alumni mentors, while considering how the demographic makeup of staff and faculty might influence the student experience both in the U.S. and abroad
      • Increase diversity of U.S. based SIT staff:  U.S. employee demographics should reflect diverse racial/ethnic, (dis)abilities, gender identities and veteran perspectives.
      • Track the demographic diversity of staff/faculty involved in academic programming to understand if figures exceed the demographic diversity of faculty/instructors involved in the local tertiary education economy of the country where the programs are administered.

B. Operations

  1. Goal: Develop a comprehensive assessment and evaluation plan(s) that incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Intended Result(s)
      • More transparency about faculty and local staff handbook materials and training with respect to physical and learning disability accommodation.
      • Maintain up-to-date information on the diversity climate in each program country – customize program resources focused on identity, race, privilege, and with respect to physical and learning disability information
      • In relationships with off-campus program delivery partners, set expectations and have clear conversations around student diversity and support.
      • Highlight SIT’s plan for addressing diversity incidents that some U.S. students may face while working/studying in local communicates.
      • Expand program offerings to make participation available to a wider range of students.
      • Integrated short surveys to students about their experience to address areas for immediate review and improvement, and ensure information is shared (anonymously or not, depending on established parameters) with staff and faculty.
      • Share student learning outcomes with respect to DEIA+ in the curriculum.
  2. Goal: Provide comprehensive professional development opportunities and training on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all staff. Ensure that faculty and staff are equipped with skills and resources on how to support SIT students of different identities and backgrounds (what our students are facing today).
    • Intended Result(s)
      • Staff and Faculty Managers will dedicate no fewer than 3 hours per academic year to trainings related to DEI Issues such as directly helping students of color, LGBTQI+ students, and other historically marginalized groups. Proposals will be submitted for consultation by World Learning and SIT DEI Committees. Collaborations with sending school advising staff may also be helpful to expand resources.
      • Managers will be encouraged to have at least one staff member on the SIT DEI committee and encourage membership and leadership in the World Learning DEI Committee or to participate in Diversity Abroad’s DEI Taskforces or NAFSA DEI working groups.

C. Academics & Student Success:

  • Goal: Enhanced advising and student support to identify student needs, financial planning, parent/guardian outreach, and re-entry
    • Intended Result(s)
      • ensure SHSW office is trained appropriately to directly help First Generation students, veterans, racial/ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities
      • collaborate with partner institutions across admissions, university relations, and faculty regarding pre-program, on-program, and post program around advising/support needs and delivery.
      • ensure student feedback is shared with relevant SIT Study Abroad units
      • communicate directly with families of diverse student populations
      • ensure a universal design focus in all products and environments that directly or indirectly support teaching and learning in higher education
      • improve pre-departure materials that focus on diversity and inclusion in the host destination and include a discussion of what in-country support looks like in orientation sessions.
      • more training for on-site staff on diversity and inclusion and more transparent communication between on-site staff, SIT home office, and students’ home institution when it comes to student support
      • re-entry – additional efforts to help students process their experience upon returning from abroad