The schedule and speakers for the September 28 GlobalEd Lab: Maximizing Your Education Abroad Strategy. Please note – subject to change. The program will be updated frequently.

Draft Schedule (*Subject to Change)

8:30 am – 9:00 am  
“Breakfast” and Networking
The opening session features a talk by Bryan McAllister-Grande, GlobalEd Founder/Director, on the new approaches to intercultural communication and pedagogy, and their implications for program design and practice. Participants will also have time for virtual networking in thematic breakout groups.

9:00 am – 10:00 am  
Keynote talk and workshop
Rich Kurtzman

10:00 – 11:00 am  
All-Lab Session on Implementing Global Learning Strategies with Education Abroad
This all lab panel will examine efforts to integrate education abroad with broader global learning strategies, including minors, certificates, and other curricular programs. Speakers will talk about their experiences crafting strategies, working with faculty, applying for grants, and carrying out complex projects across disciplines. 

11:00 am – 12:00 pm  
30-minute Strategic Consultations
These 30 minute small group consultations are designed to offer a framework for approaching strategic change for education abroad, based on the principles of backward design. They are an included feature of lab registration. We’ll walk through a basic set of questions for approaching strategic change and then, later, apply the principles to creating a strategic action plan.

1:00 – 2:00 pm  
All-Lab Session on Data Analysis & Assessment Design
This all-lab panel describes concrete projects on campuses that incorporate rigorous data analysis and assessment. Hear from panelists about possible approaches to data and assessment, consideration of the project team, research questions, and using results to apply for funding or makes programmatic changes.

2:00 – 3:00 pm  
Concurrent Sessions
Choose from 3 different sessions to attend; you’ll also have access to the recordings of the other sessions

3:00 – 4:30 pm  
Strategic Consultations & Creating Your Action Plan
These final consultations will reunite your small group for further discussion and planning. Using the framework, we will workshop a one-page Action Plan that can be used for further strategic discussion, planning, fundraising, or action steps. The goal is for participants to come away with a tangible outcome that be utilized immediately on their campuses.

Confirmed Speakers

Anita Deeg-Carlin
Director, Intercultural Learning, Wesleyan University

Anita brings almost two decades of experience in higher education, first at Mount Holyoke College, previously at Wesleyan, Fairfield University, and Trinity College, mainly in the global education space. Raised in an international and multilingual home, she made a career out of intercultural engagement and advocacy, interning in Uganda for six months as an undergraduate studying subsistence farming, volunteering and working for four years in Madagascar as an Environment Sector Peace Corps volunteer and Rural Appraisal Consultant, and running an immersive high school service and leadership program for three years on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.  She received her interdisciplinary undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, IL, in Culture and Development, and holds a Master’s Internationalist degree from Colorado State University in Watershed Management.

Rich Kurtzman
Founder & Director, Barcelona Study Abroad Experience

Rich Kurtzman was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He studied abroad in Russia and Spain and interned in Italy before following his dream to work in Barcelona. Still there twenty years later, Rich has dedicated his entire professional career to international education. Today, he directs Barcelona Study Abroad Experience and is a sought-after speaker on building intercultural competence and working across cultures. Rich and his wife, who is from England, live just outside Barcelona with their two multicultural, multilingual children. His newsletter, Culture Stock: Tips and Tricks for Increasing Cultural Awareness, has a distribution of thousands. Find more information at

Suzanne LaVenture
Former Director, International Education, Davidson-Davie Community College

Suzanne LaVenture is the former Director of International Education at Davidson-Davie Community College, having recently retired after 29 years of service. Suzanne participated in a 2016 Fulbright International Educators Seminar in Russia and serves as a Fulbright alumni ambassador. She has decades of experience working with international students, Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants and Fulbright Scholars-in-Residence. Suzanne also led and managed short-term study abroad programs for over 20 years. She helped create the NC Scholars of Global Distinction program, which has been replicated in 30 other colleges. Suzanne holds degrees in Spanish from Wake Forest University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Ashley Neyer
Director, Academic Programs Abroad, Louisiana State University

Ashley Neyer is the Director of Academic Programs Abroad at Louisiana State University. Neyer joins LSU with over 12 years of experience in the field of international education, leading the advancement of education abroad (EA). Prior to LSU, Neyer served as the Director of Education Abroad at University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she collaborated with faculty to build EA programs, developed and refined EA processes and policies to align with industry standards, and served as the EA risk management point of contact. Neyer has served in various leadership roles across NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Forum on Education Abroad, Fulbright, and WorldStrides as well as contributed publications and presentations on topics including the impact of short-term study abroad programs, academic advising for EA, and navigating risk management. Neyer has also won several national grants such as the 2022 Institute for International Education’s Passport Project of which she used to expand passport access to underrepresented students at UAB. Neyer strives to expand EA access and impact so that any interested student can study abroad. 

Kirsten Sheppard
Director, Center for Global Engagement, Maryville College

Kirsten Sheppard grew up in Calgary, Canada. She came to the United States as an F-1 international student to complete her MA in International Education at the School for International Training (SIT Graduate Institute) in Brattleboro, VT.  She has been working at Maryville College, in the Smoky Mountains since 2004, and is the Director of the Center for Global Engagement. She enjoys helping both international and US students figure out how to make the most of their experiences abroad. She has travelled to many countries but always looks forward to her next trip, be it within the U.S. or abroad. Research interests include helping students develop global competencies, assessment of study abroad impact, crisis management, and re-entry programming. She is an adjunct instructor, teaching Sustainable Tourism in the Outdoor Studies and Tourism major.

Roma Sur
Faculty, University of Denver; Filmmaker and Screenwriter

Roma Sur is a screenwriting and film production faculty member at the University of Denver’s Media, Film and Journalism department. Prior to that, Sur taught fiction and non-fiction writing for the Film and Television program at University of Colorado (CU) at Denver, from 2009 to 2022. She received the 2020 President’s Diversity award, one of the highest honors across all four campuses of University of Colorado. Sur has led three global initiatives in the past, and is currently leading the HashtagBollywood Program, 2023, at the University of Denver. While at CU Denver, Sur founded and led the study abroad program titled, Bollywood Connections. This program fostered the seed for a long-term relationship between Whistling Woods University in Mumbai, India and University of Colorado-Denver College of Arts & Media. As a screenwriter and filmmaker, Sur found her niche in narrating cross-cultural stories that channel her Asian-American immigrant experience and her childhood growing up in cosmopolitan India. She writes young adult and female driven dramas with levity, typically with a diverse cast. Her screenplays have been acknowledged by Sundance, Screencraft and Stowe Story Labs. 

Melissa Whatley
Assistant Professor, School for International Training

Dr. Melissa Whatley is assistant professor of international and global education at SIT Graduate Institute. Her research applies quantitative and mixed-methods approaches to improve our understanding of policies and practices that impact access and equity in U.S. international education, particularly in the community college context. She teaches courses on quantitative research methods, theoretical foundations of comparative and international education, and program planning and design in SIT’s master’s and doctoral programs in international and global education. She is author of An Introduction to Quantitative Analysis for International Educators (2022). Her research has been featured in journals such as the Journal of Higher EducationResearch in Higher Education, the Journal of Studies in International Education, and Higher Education. She is associate editor for the Journal of International Students.

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