International Day of Peace –Join us today

Join WORLD and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Join us today, Sept. 18 from 11:30 a.m.-12:50 p.m., in the Conrad Hall Lounge for conversations over lunch on the following topics:

  • Personal peace with Sensei Morris Sullivan, University Chaplain
  • Interpersonal peace with Dr. Leila Roach, Department of Counselor Education
  • Environmental peace with Nate Bodger ’19

Moe’s and Cultural Credit will be provided.


The theme draws attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

WORLD Students Participate in Global Leadership Summit

by Gabby Cassidy

Over Spring Break 2019, WORLD ambassadors Zoe Weaver and Caylyn Gunby attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in Boston, MA.

This conference, for students who had participated in study abroad and other international programs, had a goal to help them develop skills as successful global leaders. It also focused on students from diverse and underrepresented populations, such as first-generation, racial/ethnic minority, students with disabilities, high financial need, LGBTQ+, etc. Many face obstacles acquiring educational and leadership opportunities.

Throughout the conference, Weaver found herself learning more than she expected from the sessions. She was pushed to see the bigger picture of education abroad.

“I was pushed to see my study abroad as a time that I developed personally and was finally able to articulate the challenges of my trip to those who would understand. Then, after listening to others tell their own stories, I realized that we each had a unique experience that created the larger picture of diversity abroad.”

The connections she made with other students helped her to understand her own experiences and the education she received while studying in South Korea and Taiwan. Weaver also learned about the importance of diversity in study abroad and was inspired to do more here at Stetson. She expressed her desire to connect with the Black Student Association, the Asia Pacific American Coalition, the Caribbean Student Association, and other multicultural organizations to develop more initiatives to get their members involved in study abroad programs.

“Although being a woman brings its own challenges to international travel, I further developed an understanding of my privilege during this conference as an able-bodied, white, American student. Through this understanding, I began to build a standard for myself when it comes to becoming an ally both abroad and domestically to students who lack the opportunity to do the same as I.”

Gunby felt that the conference was a great professional opportunity for her. The panels and speakers had a profound impact and helped her feel confident in her plans post-graduation. The chance to connect with graduate schools and professionals, as well as other students in her same positions, helped her to reflect on her identity and improve her confidence in speaking about her experiences.

“Being able to speak with professionals who are now in International Education, who taught English abroad through JET, Fulbright, and TAPIF made me feel like I was taking the right steps towards a career in International Education or International Affairs.”

Gunby would like to bring more networking opportunities to Stetson’s campus for international careers. Events such as the Global Citizenship Fair and Acerima could benefit from having a keynote speaker or speakers from minority groups.

“The keynote speakers at the conference were inspiring and helped all of the students get involved and excited about the activities.”

Overall, her experiences at the Global Leadership Summit helped her to grow professionally as well as to have more confidence in her abilities and plans for the future.

Enrollment in Scottish Experience up 37%

Student enrollment peaked during the fourth annual study abroad Scottish Experience, a collaborative of the University of the Highlands Islands Inverness College, Stetson University, Utah Valley University, and Jacksonville University. A total of 33 students participated in courses taughted by faculty from UVU, Jacksonville, and Stetson.

A centerpiece of the study abroad program is an embedded case study component where groups of students act as consultants to Scottish businesses and organizations to address an issue of pressing need.

Students and faculty take a quick break after presenting the outcomes of their case studies to business and organizational leaders.

Stetson’s Inaugural International Faculty Development Seminar Draws Diverse Disciplines to the Dominican Republic

A total of 10 Stetson University faculty and the WORLD Team descended on Santo Domingo during May 13-18, 2019 to learn how to better prepare students to learn abroad. Faculty hailed from business, education, humanities, social and natural sciences.

The seminar comprised classroom sessions on topics ranging from risk management and internationalization to curriculum integration and course assessment. Field trips to heritage locations and natural landscapes, such as the old colonial sugar mills and Three Eyes National Park, helped faculty consider the role of “place” in course design as well as how to balance high and low intensity learning experiences for students.

Los Tres Ojos (Three Eyes National Park) is a 50-yard open-air limestone cave located in eastern Santo Domingo.

Response to the seminar has been quite positive.

I feel so fortunate to be part of the journey we were on together. I feel that our relationship went to the next level…The moment we started together and ended pleasantly, it was a lesson in every moment and I am confident that this training will be helpful for all in launching our faculty led programs in future.”

Yes, echoing my colleagues for a wonderful opportunity and collegiality. Thank you WORLD and thank you everyone who participated 😍”

Thank you all for such a unique and valuable experience in DR. I would be happy to meet for regular lunches sharing ideas about the next steps in organizing faculty-led study abroad trips. Special thanks to the WORLD. You are a great team of professionals!🤗”

I’m continually amazed at and proud to be a part of Stetson’s wonderful community.”

About the Stetson International Faculty Development Seminar

The IFDS program at Stetson University honors the longstanding commitment and dedication of Drs. David and Leighan Rinker to international learning. The centerpiece of the faculty development program is an immersive five-day experience where Stetson faculty participate in study abroad. The overarching goals are to equip Stetson teacher-scholars with best practice strategies for how to use location to deepen content, elevate student engagement and intercultural learning, develop safe, compliant and academically-rich study abroad programs, and promote Stetson’s value of global citizenship.

WORLD partnered with CIEE to co-offer the seminar. CIEE is a premier provider with significant expertise developing and implementing international faculty development seminars and study abroad experiences for students,. Contact for more information.

Sprouting Growth

Through the Alliance for International Reforestation Inc. and Stetson, students are planting seeds for learning in Central America.

Since the year 2000, the Alliance for International Reforestation Inc. (AIR) has enjoyed a strong partnership with David and Leighan Rinker, longtime ardent Stetson benefactors, in offering transformational service experiences for Stetson students in Central America.

The partnership actually began when in 1999 David Rinker offered to support student trips with Anne Hallum, Ph.D., a Stetson political science professor and founder of AIR, through the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. Foundation. David Rinker had learned of Hallum’s early experiences working in Guatemala — training farmers in sustainable agriculture and other services — and he wanted students to benefit as well.

Through the years, both literally and figuratively, it’s been quite a journey.

Today, selected students — based on grades, a reflective essay and an interview — participate in three primary programs, along with academic assignments, over a period of four to six weeks. The word participate is used loosely.

Students build stoves with Mayan families and the AIR staff; they are actively engage at rural schools; they plant fast-growing trees on deforested slopes; and they maintain a journal of reflections on friendships made and lessons learned.

Camaraderie with locals is part of the AIR experience for students.

Over the years, for example, more than 100 stoves have been constructed — involving cement mixing and brick laying — to help prevent lung disease and conserve precious trees. Meanwhile, more than 45,000 fast-growing trees have been planted —up to 4,000 trees each month by hand on mountains — to improve crops and prevent mudslides.

The trips, clearly, aren’t vacations, except for the Saturday “tourist days.”

Last summer, in addition to building and planting, a student with a special interest in marketing shadowed Hallum to learn the nuances of fundraising and donor relations.

The travel expenses for each of those students, as well as for Hallum, are covered by the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. grant (with some funds from Latin American Studies when more students traveled). Those annual grants total approximately $9,000 each June, which cover hotels, food, ground transportation, small stipends and continual supervision by the AIR staff members.

For the students, the payoffs have been significant.

A first-year student was taught the “sheer joy” of an exhausting day of service (especially outdoors). An impressionable 19-year-old who spent six weeks with AIR in Guatemala now is an accomplished alumnus. More generally, AIR has impacted how student view the world.

Thanks to charitable funding and Anne Hallum, Ph.D., a former political science professor at Stetson, students continue to participate in uncommon immersion abroad.

Until June 2012, Hallum taught full-time at Stetson and managed AIR’s early growth in Nicaragua and Guatemala. She was able to combine the service work in rural Guatemala and Nicaragua with her own academic research, and to find ways for students to earn academic credits in independent studies such as immersion Spanish, environmental activism, Latin American studies: Mayan Culture, and religion and the environment.

Hallum left Stetson in 2012, moving to Atlanta to work full-time (non-salaried) as president of AIR-Guatemala. Yet, even today, by virtue of her personal ties to the university and the Rinker support, she continues to exclusively host Stetson students for lengthy immersion experiences.
Not coincidentally, in 2017 AIR Guatemala received its second recognition from the United Nations, as a winner of the 2017 Equator Prize, presented by the United Nations Development Programme.

As a result, a reforestation organization founded on the third floor of Elizabeth Hall at Stetson more than 25 years ago now is globally acclaimed. Even greater, it continues to provide uncommon experiences of growth for Stetson students.

-Michael Candelaria

Originally posted at Stetson Today on February 25, 2019

Board of Trustees Presentation: International Learning

by Camilla Morales, ‘20

Part of Stetson’s University mission is to promote Global Citizenship by students in order to prepare informed, active, and engaged citizens. On February 14, 2019, I was given the opportunity along with my colleagues, Zoe Weaver, ‘19 and Genicelle Barrington, ‘21, to present our efforts as WORLD Ambassadors to the Academic Affairs Committee of Stetson’s Board of Trustees and along with other faculty and staff members.

The session was opened by Dr. Rosalie A. Richards, associate provost for Faculty Development and professor of chemistry and education, who provided an overview of international learning at Stetson. Board members were then invited to participate in an interactive session, where they visited stations to learn about different aspects of international learning.

There were five different stations: WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center of International Learning at the Deland campus, the Office of International and Graduate Programs at the College of Law in Gulfport, the International Learning Committee, the Latin American & Latino Studies Program, and Student Engagement.

Dejan Magoc, Ph.D. , associate professor of health sciences and chair of the International Learning Committee, describes how Stetson University uses the ACE Comprehensive  Internationalization model to advance global competencies.

Paula Hentz, M.Ed, director of international learning (right), showcases several new WORLD initiatives.

JR Swanegan, J.D., assistant dean of international and graduate studies (left), highlights different consortia developed by the College of Law to advance international learning to Board members including David Rinker, Ph.D., longstanding Trustee and benefactor of WORLD (back).

Robert Sitler, Ph.D., professor of world languages and cultures (Spanish) and program coordinator for the Latin American & Latino Studies Program, provides an overview of the program and highlights from the Mentored Field Experience. 

My colleagues and I presented at the Student Engagement station and spoke about our roles as WORLD Ambassadors and about our engagement in building global citizenship via international learning. We spoke about several events that we host to promote community engagement, diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness.

Morales (left) and Barrington (left, white shirt) listen as Weaver (center) discusses study abroad with Board members and senior academic leaders.

The interactive session was followed by a panel discussion where members of the Board were able to ask questions to the presenters.

I must say I was very honored to have been asked by my boss, Paula Hentz, director of international learning, to be part of this event along with my colleagues. To be able to talk about a subject I am so passionate about was a great and unique experience. I am eager to see what efforts will be done to keep promoting internationalization at Stetson University.

Adapted from the original story posted on LinkedIn on February 19, 2019

2 Stetson Faculty Receive International Recognition

Two Stetson University School of Business Administration professors have been recognized by two separate international organizations for outstanding achievements.

Isabel Botero

Isabel Botero, Ph.D., assistant professor of family enterprise and entrepreneurship, was awarded the Advanced Certificate in Family Wealth Advising (ACFWA) and honored as a Fellow of the Family Firm Institute (FFI) at the 2018 FFI Global Conference held in London, England.

To be named a fellow honoree, Botero had to achieve comprehensive professional knowledge and significant expertise over the past 10 years that may now be shared and used by family business owners and family wealth management clients. The Family Firm Institute, an international professional membership organization of more than 1,800 individuals and organizations across 88 countries, provides interdisciplinary education and networking opportunities for family business and family wealth advisors, consultants, educators and researchers.

“Becoming a Fellow for the Family Firm Institute is an honor for me because it highlights my collaborative work to help family enterprises around the world become better,” explained Botero. “It also acknowledges the importance of education and research in the field.”

Jennifer Foo

Jennifer Foo, Ph.D., professor of finance, also has been honored as a member of the Jewish National Fund’s Winter 2018-2019 Faculty Fellowship Program in Israel. This competitive academic fellowship gives full-time higher education faculty members the opportunity to participate in a 12-day all-expenses-paid academic trip to Israel. The program strives to link scholars from diverse disciplines with their Israeli counterparts at major universities to initiate collaboration and exchanges, and to give participants an opportunity to explore Israel’s history, politics, culture and economy. Foo is the first Stetson University faculty member to receive this fellowship.

“This fellowship is an invaluable and exciting opportunity for me to learn about Israel,” said Foo. “I look forward to learning how an entrepreneurial and innovative business spirit can be born out of a necessity to grow and survive, as it did in Israel.”

Neal Mero

“This recognition of Dr. Botero and Dr. Foo highlights the quality of faculty who serve in the Stetson School of Business Administration,” said Neal P. Mero, Ph.D., dean and professor of management. “In addition to bringing global recognition to Stetson for their work, my colleagues leverage that expertise through their service as incredible teachers and scholars delivering a world-class education to our students.”

Originally posted at Stetson Today on December 9, 2018 by Marie Dinklage

WORLD Growth Highlights: 2018 Impact Report

During academic year 2014-15, WORLD re-envisioned its priorities and restructured its resources to align with Stetson’s institutional goal to “make intercultural learning vital to the Stetson Experience”. To that end, the Center launched WORLD Class, a comprehensive campus internationalization initiative aimed at elevating Stetson’s core value of Global Citizenship as paramount to student success. This 2018 Impact Report highlights progress of the WORLD Class initiative since academic year 2014-15.

Stetson University aspires to establish itself as a global citizen, known for innovative and inclusive approaches to address and tackle complex global challenges and expand its identity beyond place. As one of three core institutional values,  the University prepares students to be informed, active, and engaged citizens of both local communities and the world. Stetson’s foundational goal is to become a diverse community of inclusive excellence, a commitment to global community engagement, diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, and social justice.

To contribute to raising the institution’s global citizenship profile, WORLD launched the inaugural Global Citizenship Symposium in April 2018 aimed at bringing the Stetson community and broader communities together to grapple with and implement viable collaborative actions to global issues of local and regional significance. Events included interdisciplinary panels, workshops, exhibits, film screenings, and other interactive activities.

Since 2015, WORLD Fair has engaged over 150 elementary school students per year to learn about other countries and motivate them to study abroad or travel overseas as young adults.

WORLD Organizational Chart

Paula Hentz has provided administrative leadership of WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning  and campus internationalization initiatives since 2015. As senior international officer for Stetson’s DeLand campus, Hentz is principal advisor to Stetson’s executive leaders on comprehensive campus internationalization. Roxanne Lewis’ role as International Student and Scholar Services Coordinator ensures students’ federal regulations compliance as well as cultural services and programs to enrich international student and scholars’ cultural and social adjustment. In January 2018, WORLD hired Wendy Viggiano to serve as Program Coordinator of International Learning. Viggiano supports the development, planning, and implementation of faculty led and study abroad programs, supervises the WORLD Student Ambassadors and works closely with various departments on campus to increase awareness and participation in global learning initiatives including Peace Corps Prep program. 

After a two-year hiatus, the International Learning Council has been re-envisioned to focus on the direction of international learning at Stetson. The director of international learning, who provides oversight of WORLD, serves as an ad hoc council member. 

Thanks to the generosity of several donors, including the Rinker Foundation, Stetson University received new funds to endow student and faculty engagement in international  learning, including study abroad. Some resources were earmarked for student scholarship.s for international learning.

The new Global Community Engagement Dashboard was designed to enhance Stetson University’s comprehensive internationalization efforts and position the University for pportunity planning around international and intercultural learning.

Internationalizing curriculum and co-curriculum at Stetson is ensure that all students are exposed to international perspectives and build global competence.  

General education requirementsWORLD supports foreign language courses through its international language scholars’ program and exchange students from countries such as Kyrgyzstan. Since 2014, nine (9) Fulbright and ALLEX fellows have facilitated Arabic, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese courses. At least four (4) international exchange students have supported language acquisition skills in Stetson’s foreign language lab.  

Student learning outcomes: After a two-year hiatus, the International Learning Council has been re-envisioned to focus on the direction of international learning at Stetson. The director of international learning, who provides oversight of WORLD, serves as an ad hoc committee member. The Committee will develop  clear learning outcomes to help students develop and articulate skills and dispositions addressed in courses, programs, activities, and co-curricula experiences. The committee investigate programs and activities address global issues.

Internationalized courses in the disciplines: WORLD has worked to develop new study abroad courses which complement and enhance the curriculum.  In 2017-2018, WORLD helped to facilitate 12 faculty-led academic programs abroad.  For example, students were also able to study Spanish language and Latin American Studies on a month-long program in Ecuador.  On the faculty-led program in Scotland, students were able to receive credit towards the general education requirements in the School of Business, while also receiving practical hands-on experience by working on a consulting project with local Scottish businesses. WORLD has also contributed to faculty development around the internationalization of courses and programs.  Since AY 2014-15, WORLD has given 34 awards to faculty to support their development around international topics and to encourage them to internationalize their classes and offer new programs abroad. WORLD also offers monthly Lunch and Learn discussions during the spring semester, which brings faculty together to talk about ways to internationalize campus.

Co-curriculum: The Peace Corps Prep program prepares cohorts of students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. Each student enrolls in three courses that correlate with their chosen sector (education, health, environment, youth in development, and community economic development), three introspective courses to learn about others while reflecting on self in relation to others, and actions to better the welfare of others. The fall 2017 cohort enrolled six (6) students. Two graduates enrolled in the Peace Corps service in summer 2018.  During spring 2018, Stetson enrolled a new cohort of 12 students to the program.  At least two students intend to apply enter Peace Corps service upon graduation in 2019. 

Technology: WORLD collaborated with Information Technology to transition and upgrade the Terra Dotta database software. The updated system allows the WORLD staff to better monitor program applications, student inquiries, and has an easier interface for our students, faculty, and staff usage.  The upgrade has provided the opportunity to make more dynamic program pages that are appealing and easier to navigate. WORLD plans to continue updating existing pages and applications to the newer format for a streamlined look.  In addition to ease of navigation and appearance, the log in process is simplified and users can log in using their Stetson ID and password versus a self-created password and login.  By combining the Stetson data with Terra Dotta data, we are able to pull more accurate demographics and additional data about our applicants for a better understanding of the types of students applying to our programs.

International Student Mobility – Enrollment & Retention

In 2010, international students accounted for roughly 6% of the total undergraduate population. By 2017, the international population had increased by 54% , rising slightly to 6.5% of students and in step with increased undergraduate student enrollment overall.

Between 2014 and 2016, retention of first-year international students rose dramatically from 76% to 86% in response to intentional WORLD services and student programs. From a fiscal perspective, increased retention translated to an economic impact on Stetson University and Volusia County of $6.5 million in FY 2016-2017 alone (Institute of International Education, 2017). As of fall 2017, Stetson enrolled 206 international students from six continents and 64 countries.

Student Mobility – Study Abroad 
Over the past five years, domestic and international student participation in study abroad increased nearly 50% (below), due to strategic marketing of study away experiences, increased number of exchange partnerships, and a rise in faculty-led programs.

Scholarships for International Learning
The doubling of study abroad scholarship applications over the past two academic years (below) reflects increased student awareness and interest in study abroad.

Stetson University strives to implement policies and support mechanisms to ensure that faculty have opportunities to develop international and intercultural competence to optimize impact on student learning.

Institutional Procedures – Review & Approval of Faculty-Led Courses Abroad
Stetson University offers Faculty-Led Study Abroad programs over the course of the academic year, ranging from winter and Spring Break offerings to courses over multiple weeks during May-July. In 2015, WORLD implemented a formal review and approval process to execute internal and external logistics for programming and budgeting, , identify and forecast risk and risk management protocols, apply protocols and policies to ensure student safety and security; integrate standards for high-impact engagement abroad; align student learning outcomes and teaching learning outcomes with geographically/culturally-appropriate locations; evaluate elements of global learning using best practice frameworks.

Faculty Mobility – Grants for Professional Development Abroad
The WORLD Class Travel Awards Program provides grants for faculty travel to countries abroad to impact student intercultural learning. Introduced in Fall 2014, awards support travel for international faculty development seminars, exploratory travel to design courses/programs, and conferences or performances. The first awards supported travel to Tanzania in January 2014. The program has become a significant and expanding outcome of the initiative and key to the substantial increase in faculty-led study abroad programs.

On-campus Professional Development – Lunch & Learn Series
The WORLD Class Lunch & Learn series features faculty, staff and other experts in the fields of international outreach, research, learning, and development.  Each luncheon highlights a topic of interest in global learning for faculty and staff to share, learn, and help shape the direction of international learning and intercultural competence at Stetson University. Since spring 2015, WORLD has hosted 10 luncheons on topjcs 

Stetson University has a long and rich tradition of partnerships with institutions and organizations across the globe. Establsihing and maintating these relationships contributes to the Stetson’s academic repetore (teaching and reach) and outreach missions, supported by WORLD in the service of student, faculty, staff and organizational learning. Recent expansions in agreements include Latin America & the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.

The University also maintains relationships with study abroad providers, who have hundreds of connections and centers around the world.  Through these relationships, WORLD offers faculty-led study abroad programs.  In 2017-18, for example, WORLD offered 12 faculty-led study abroad programs to locations such as Ecuador, Scotland, Austria, Serbia, and Thailand.