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A Global Education That Sticks

Written by Mike Thee
March 13, 2012

When Seattle University's International Development Internship Program was launched in 2001, program director Janet Quillian sought to create a unique combination of classroom prep and fieldwork in less resourced nations. After 11 years and 109 graduates, the program is proving itself a life-changing force as a new generation of SU alumni are committing to careers in global development. This according to a new cross-institutional study on international internships led by Seattle University and funded by the Seattle International Foundation.

The study, "Education for Global Citizenship," examined alumni of Seattle University's International Development Internship Program (IDIP) and comparable programs at four other institutions.

A key finding of the study is that alumni of SU's IDIP are twice as likely to work for international non-governmental organizations than the general student population. The study also found that IDIP graduates are nine times more likely to go on to earn a doctoral degree and twice as likely to volunteer for nonprofit organizations.

"I am very proud and happy with the results of Education for Global Citizenship Study," said Quillian, adding, "In the 11 years of having IDIP students, seven have received Fulbright Scholarships and five have earned Rotary International Scholarships." 

IDIP is a 20-credit program in which students pursue an integrated course of study in the classroom before embarking on a 10-week internship in a developing country. Upon their return to SU, students have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and share what they've learned with the campus community.

"IDIP is bringing service and education together in the poorest of countries," said Jim Hembree, senior director for development for global affairs, who was principally involved in the study. "The findings affirm that SU's distinctive approach to global engagement is not only working, but is also worthy of replication."

Also participating in the study were graduates from St. Martin's University, Seattle Pacific University, Pacific Lutheran University and the Oregon University system. Joining Hembree and Quillian in conducting the study were Russ Lidman and Paul Sommers, who respectively were executive director of the Institute of Public Service and professor of public service and economics during the research.