Kent State Faculty Successfully Lead Education Abroad Programs Over Spring Break

Faculty-Led Education Abroad Programs are short-term programs that allow students to travel abroad while learning from Kent State faculty and staff. Students can explore internationally while taking a course with some of Kent State’s finest. Spring Break 2022 included many successful faculty-led programs, the first since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s take a look at what some Kent State faculty did over their break!

Dr. Steve Dennis led a group of students to the Cayman Islands, teaching the course Financial Institutions in the Cayman Islands within the KSU Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship. During the program, students learned about financial institutions and their cultural and business influences. Highlights of the program included visiting Parliament, the National Museum, and Scotiabank.

Students posing for a group photo in the Cayman Islands. There is greenery and a mint colored building in the background.

Dr. Chris Banks conducted a program to the United Kingdom for The Politics of London Law and Courts course. Students visited locations like Buckingham Palace, the Supreme Court, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey to gather experiential knowledge about London’s and the UK’s legal systems in the context of American law.

Students and faculty posing for a group photo on a green lawn in front of historical buildings in London

From KSU Stark, Dr. Leslie Heaphy and Dr. Shawn Selby organized a faculty-led education abroad program to Northern Ireland. The course of focus was Northern Ireland: History and Memory, which focused on the period of “the Troubles.” During the week-long program, the group traveled to Belfast, Giants Causeway, and Derry, while partnering with the Queen’s University Belfast.

Students and faculty posing for a group photo in front of walls with murals painted on them..

Another spring break education abroad opportunity at Stark campus, led by Sarah Schmidt and Dr. Vaneet Kaur, saw students performing research in Mexico City on phase one of a grant-funded project through 100,000 Strong in the Americas. Students explored the themes of sustainable gardening, economic inclusion, and cultural preservation with two sample groups: an indigenous community practicing ancient Aztec farming techniques and refugee communities in the Mexico City area. The course was titled Sustainable Gardening for Poverty Reduction, Cultural Preservation, and Economic Inclusion.

Students and faculty posing for a group photo in front of a river in Mexico City at an urban garden site.

Professors Yassmin Al Khasawneh and Isabel Abascal coordinated a trip to Mexico City for a graduate-student Option Studio within the College of Architecture and Environmental Design that focuses on recreation. The group explored playgrounds and analyzed how they may influence children’s minds and the way they perceive architecture. Some highlights included the Bosque of Chapultepec, the Unidad Independencia Playground, and Skatepark Constituyentes.

Another graduate course in Mexico City, organized by Professors Brendan Ho and Ivan Bernal, was the Urban Design Studio. Students focused on the adaptation of urban planning in the face of different influencers such as collective movements, like festivals. The group compared Cleveland to Mexico City, analyzing how both cities have been able to modify themselves for different purposes.

Students standing under a shaded structure outside. The structure has an intricate design of lines carved into the canopy, which allows light to come through. Students are looking up at the structure.

The Simon Award-Winning Kent State Office of Global Education would like to thank all faculty members who organized international programs over spring break, allowing students the opportunity to expand their knowledge while also expanding their horizons.

If you are a Kent State faculty member interested in leading a future program, visit the Office of Global Education website or contact Education Abroad advisor Desiree Dube (

POSTED: Wednesday, April 20, 2022 01:15 PM
UPDATED: Friday, June 21, 2024 03:57 PM
Arden Miller