Terra Dotta Revolutionizes International Student Safety with Next-Generation AlertTraveler Mobile App
December 8, 2021
Higher education duty of care needs have never been greater for incoming international and outgoing study abroad students as well as faculty and staff. To meet this critical need, Terra Dotta, a leader in global education engagement solutions, today unveiled the next generation of its award-winning AlertTraveler® mobile solution. Adding enhanced mapping, personalized travel alert and safety resource enhancements, Terra Dotta introduced the latest version of AlertTraveler as part of its comprehensive global engagement platform.
“Designed to help institutions meet the unique duty of care needs for students, faculty and staff traveling domestically or anywhere across the globe, our latest AlertTraveler enhancements provide an interactive and intuitive global engagement experience,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “The AlertTraveler app instills a high sense of confidence among travelers and administrators as they rely on it as a trusted guide to access robust, integrated and localized safety resources at their fingertips.”
Key enhancements of the next-generation AlertTraveler include:
Additional Mapping Capabilities:
Updated Administrative Functions:
New Safety Features:
AlertTraveler is a part of Terra Dotta’s global engagement platform, which delivers a unified global education experience by connecting all aspects of international programming and campus services by facilitating cross-cultural learning experiences for students, faculty and staff – whether located domestically or traveling abroad. The platform integrates Terra Dotta’s cloud-based, modular solution offerings encompassing outgoing study abroad, incoming international student and scholar services, and travel risk management.
Campus Technology Names Terra Dotta Global Engagement Platform New Product Award Winner
December 6, 2021
Continuing its streak of industry accolades, Terra Dotta, a leading global engagement education technology provider, today announced its global engagement platform has been named a platinum winner of Campus Technology’s 2021 New Product Award for Global Engagement, International Education and/or Study Abroad Solutions.
Today’s shifting global dynamics demand a connected approach to delivering international education at scale – one that offers comprehensive duty of care, accessible and inclusive programs, and the ability to leverage relevant data to drive more enriching student global experiences,'' said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “We’re thrilled to be honored by Campus Technology for raising the bar with technology that delivers a unified, accessible global education experience for all students – whether they are studying across the world, domestically or virtually.”
Connecting all aspects of international programming and supporting campus services, Terra Dotta’s cloud-based global engagement platform serves more than 600 colleges and universities worldwide by facilitating cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty and staff in more than 85 countries. This includes elevating the global education experience for over 1 million travelers and virtual students annually while meeting safety and compliance requirements.
Launched last year to recognize leading product and service providers in the education sector, the Campus Technology New Product Awards honor the outstanding product development achievements of manufacturers and suppliers whose solutions are considered to be particularly noteworthy in the transformation of education technology.
Congratulations to the winners of this year’s New Products Awards — 2021 has been defined by innovation and transformation in higher education, and we’re pleased to recognize the impact that these technologies have had in moving colleges and universities forward and supporting student success,” said Rhea Kelly, editor-in-chief of Campus Technology.
Syracuse University Broadens Use of Global Engagement Technology to Meet COVID Needs & Beyond
November 19, 2021
In March 2020, as students were forced to quickly return home from their study abroad programs, Syracuse University had just deployed AlertTraveler, Terra Dotta’s traveler safety and security solution that sends students abroad real-time alerts about emergencies on the ground and enables staff to quickly verify their safety and communicate with them. While they weren’t able to immediately use the solution at scale for hundreds of study abroad students as intended, Syracuse’s staff discovered an innovative way to use AlertTraveler to meet its in-the-moment, COVID-related needs—tracking students who travel domestically.
At the start of the spring 2021 semester, as COVID rates were in flux in different parts of the country, Syracuse administrators discouraged students from leaving central New York state except for essential family reasons. Among a student population of about 22,850, many might be traveling at any given time, this became a problem - if students failed to comply with required weekly COVID tests, Syracuse limited their access to campus resources, including Wi-Fi. Students who were traveling would find themselves facing loss of access to Wi-Fi and other services because they were out of town and missed their scheduled COVID test appointment.
As a solution, Syracuse worked with Terra Dotta to set up a system for students to use AlertTraveler to select their reason for travel, travel location, and their departure and return dates. “The tool was fantastic because you can create reasons for travel on the fly,” he said. “We created a reason for travel—Essential Family Travel—and we asked them to select a reason for travel and to fill in their travel data.”
Syracuse staff could then grant the traveling student an exemption from the weekly COVID test and ensure that their services, including the all-important Wi-Fi, were not cut off. Syracuse has also resumed its originally intended use of AlertTraveler for study abroad as travel opportunities are expanding—ensuring an elevated level of duty of care for all travelers.
Elon University's Strategic Plan Aims to Deepen the Value of Global Engagement
November 17, 2021
It’s no secret that international and experiential learning opportunities often translate into long-term career skills, thoughtful perspectives and overall value for students post-graduation. However, when global engagement is established as a guiding force coming from top leadership, institutions have the potential to deliver transformative global educational impacts at scale to more students than ever before. This is exactly how Elon University approaches internationalization and experiential education for its population of 7,000 students.
In the past, Elon’s 10-year strategic plan has included global engagement as a major theme—with a strong focus on ensuring more students were able to travel abroad or come to study at Elon from other countries. However, Elon’s latest strategic plan (2020-2030)—led by the university’s President—has evolved to focus on further enriching the overall international experience.
"As the University transitions from the 2020 to the 2030 plan, the focus shifts from access-centered and numbers-driven objectives to better understanding the lasting impact of global education. While Elon carries forward its commitment to making global engagement accessible to all students, we are also working to deepen the transformational learning happening on global programs,” said Nick Gozik, Dean of Global Education at Elon University.
A longtime client, Elon uses Terra Dotta to centrally manage study abroad enrollment and manage traveler communication and duty of care and to foster active student engagement. To help communicate its comprehensive global engagement vision, Elon created a Global Education “GBL” course prefix to centralize and standardize global curriculum across campus. Elon also adjusted its site-wide navigation header with a link to a “Global” directory page to showcase the global work happening throughout Elon. Likewise, Elon has created a “Global @ Elon” digest and calendar of global events to collectively tell the story of global education at Elon in the many shapes it takes, from curricular to experiential, and from top-down to bottom-up.
Data-Driven Global Engagement Elevates Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Wake Forest’s Study Abroad Programs
November 12, 2021
As international mobility continues to ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels, international educators are stepping up to provide accessible and equitable global engagement opportunities for all students. Wake Forest University recently launched an unprecedented initiative to address diversity, equity and inclusion gaps in its campus-wide study abroad programs. Previously there was no way to centrally track which students—including underrepresented populations like first-generation students—were missing out on study abroad experiences and perhaps weren’t even aware of opportunities.
By using Terra Dotta to analyze its study abroad student participation demographics and employing Diversity Abroad’s best practices framework, Wake Forest took a data-driven approach and has created new programs to reach underrepresented student populations—including implementing trips and resources to improve access and remove social and institutional barriers.
Utilizing this inclusive approach, the institution designed a one-week Spring Break trip to Ecuador for a group of students who are part of Wake Forest’s “First in the Forest” program for first-generation students. They were able to run the first trip just as the pandemic was hitting in March 2020, and they plan to resume it post-pandemic.
While the institution previously had more than 60% of its students participating in study abroad, it has since increased that number to 81%. Also, Diversity Abroad has recognized Wake Forest with the Seal of Inclusive Excellence for its expansive work in proactively broadening its access to underrepresented student populations.
Global Engagement Success: Peralta Community College Meets International Student Needs in the Face of Uncertainty
November 8, 2021
As institutions take steps to modernize international education operations across their campuses, they are implementing strategies that unify common elements across global experience programs and leverage relevant cross-campus student data. These approaches help institutions effectively offer transformative and globally-minded educational experiences, expand equitable global opportunities to all students and resiliently approach ongoing responses to evolving COVID dynamics. All while ensuring traveler safety through mitigated risk with country, neighborhood-level safety rating, travel data and alerts.
When the pandemic hit, Northern California-based Peralta Community College was already in a resilient position, having previously deployed Terra Dotta’s global education-enabling technologies to support and help scale the growth of its robust international student population. Serving more than 30,000 students each year across its four campuses, Peralta uses Terra Dotta to create and update SEVIS records in batches, ensuring accurate information and easy reporting. Their international student engagement process is streamlined, enabling staff to quickly connect with students to ensure they are aware of deadlines and moving quickly through the process.
In its pandemic-drivenshift to virtual learning, Peralta’s international education office was able to quickly transition to remote work and with Terra Dotta already in place, the institution’s international education team immediately downloaded data from SEVIS to see if its international students had departed the U.S. And using the personalized template and query in Terra Dotta, Peralta was able to communicate regular updates to students.
Since then, the institution has delivered classes virtually to international students in their home countries as well as welcomed students back on campus as restrictions allow. With a comprehensive global education approach, Peralta effectively meets international student needs with a personalized, automated approach—no matter their location.
Provider Perspective, Virtual is Here to Stay
November 1, 2021
Salvador, Bahia, @jescudero.photographs
This blog was written in collaboration with Dr. Javier Escudero, former faculty member at Penn State and current Director of Brazil Cultural. Brazil Cultural, co-founded by Patricia Burgos and Dr. Javier Escudero, offers education and travel abroad programs in South America, the Iberian Peninsula, and Northern Africa.
A full year has passed since COVID-19 swept the world and all travel was stopped in its tracks. Brazil Cultural, had nine programs planned at the beginning of 2020 and only one was able to occur in Northern Morocco between March 1st-7th. The eight remaining programs were cancelled.
The sudden halt in their operations affected a chain of services and collaborators, which led to worry and concern over what the future may hold ー a feeling that many international educators know all too well.
At this time, they knew they had to take a step back and reevaluate the situation, educate themselves, and invest in educating others. Because when one door closes, another one opens.
Brazil Cultural Programs In Action
Prior to COVID-19, Brazil Cultural had already experimented implementing some pre-departure virtual options and encouraging virtual connectivity as a great tool for visitors and specifically for local students to improve language and cultural learning. This was intended to be a facet of their “Exchange Learning” methodology, which directly benefits participants on both sides of the exchange through meaningful academic, cultural and personal learning.
Their first virtual program was launched in April, a 45-hour online course, “Studies in Global Education.” The intent of the program was to train their collaborators in Brazil, Morocco, Portugal, and the U.S. with the objective of fostering diversity and inclusion in an online educational format, while increasing global and cultural understanding.
Now with their collaborators equipped, they began offering virtual programs to their partner institutions.
In November 2020, in collaboration with Purdue University’s Black Cultural Center, Brazil Cultural produced a Virtual Study Abroad Program highlighting relevant Afro-Brazilian cultural and historical topics led by 15 collaborators.
Brazil Cultural took the opportunity to showcase the intellectual and professional growth of their collaborators, who represent the Afro-Brazilian educational organizations that they partner with. The 4-hour program is available on the Purdue Black Cultural Facebook page, and you can read more about the initiative here.
With positive feedback and a high level of engagement, Brazil Cultural knew they were on the right track in creating virtual activities that are both engaging and inclusive, while also training students professionally and academically for future endeavors.
Since, Brazil Cultural has been able to work with other schools as well.
The Virtual Revolution, Here to Stay
“Virtual intercultural exchange increases local equitable opportunities in a new educational reality. It’s an extremely important revolution.” ー Dr. Javier Escudero
With over 40 years of experience in both participating in and delivering study abroad programming, he has seen just how much the international education landscape has changed, particularly in the past year. In his opinion, virtual global exchange learning will play a big role in education, training and service learning, both in current and future programming, and it’s here to stay.
"I don't think there is a way back. I think we will have on-site programs, but we also need to take full advantage of the opportunities that the virtual world provides, particularly from an inclusivity standpoint.”
New Duty of Care Partnership with Security Exchange
October 21, 2021
With higher education students, faculty and staff returning to travel, Terra Dotta, a leader in global education engagement solutions, today announced it has partnered with Security Exchange, a specialized, global security company based in the UK, to deliver enhanced security alerts to administrators and travelers.
As part of Terra Dotta’s expanding duty of care offerings and risk management ecosystem, the new travel intelligence partnership will allow Terra Dotta’s award-winning AlertTraveler® mobile solution to seamlessly deliver Security Exchange’s travel alert and intelligence insights. In addition, Terra Dotta has partnered with Security Exchange for optional 24/7 Security and Response Management Services, including high security extraction services.
"The post-pandemic world abroad and at home is in a constant state of change, making it even more important for higher education institutions to ensure their students and faculty have real-time access to localized security alerts,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “Our partnership with Security Exchange ensures we can provide our university and college clients with robust duty of care alerts integrated into their travel management ecosystems – with the ability to immediately notify travelers anywhere of potential threats.”
Terra Dotta’s AlertTraveler app will now be able to issue enhanced safety and security notifications to administrators and travelers, including Security Exchange’s risk severity rankings of Informational, Warning and Critical.
“We commend Terra Dotta’s commitment in prioritizing higher ed institutions’ duty of care for students, faculty and staff, and Security Exchange is proud to serve as a preferred travel intelligence provider,” said Gareth Sephton, Head of Political Risk, Security Exchange. “Having our real time database of location-based threats and risks of all types integrated into the Terra Dotta risk management ecosystem will help institutions proactively alert their many audiences to possible crisis situations.”
Terra Dotta Selected as Finalist for NC TECH Awards
October 14, 2021
Terra Dotta, a leading global engagement education technology provider, has been selected as a finalist for the NC TECH Awards Industry Driven EdTech award. The NC Tech Awards is North Carolina's only statewide technology awards program that recognizes innovation, growth and leadership in the tech sector and is presented by the NC TECH (North Carolina Technology Association).
Serving more than 600 colleges and universities worldwide, Terra Dotta’s cloud-based solutions facilitate cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty and staff in more than 85 countries. This includes elevating the global education experience for over 1 million travelers and virtual students annually.
“It’s an honor to be a finalist recognized by NC TECH as an EdTech industry leader in our home state,'' said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta, “We’re proud to be North Carolina born and raised, and this recognition is a testament to our entire team’s commitment to providing comprehensive and innovative global learning experiences.”
Despite travel bans and restrictions due to the pandemic, Terra Dotta has proven itself over and over again as a preeminent leader in education technology -- helping institutions not only navigate complex student and faculty travel issues but also continue innovating and thriving amid uncertainty.
“For over 20 years, NC TECH has celebrated companies, organizations and individuals for outstanding achievement at the NC TECH Awards. As a finalist this year, Terra Dotta has distinguished itself as one of the state’s innovative and emergent leaders,” stated Brooks Raiford, NC TECH’s President and CEO.
Why Customer User Groups are Integral to the Success of Today's Technology Organizations
October 13, 2021
Software and technology user groups as we know them today have been in existence since the 1950s with the IBM mainframe. However, today’s user groups have evolved tremendously and are often driven by established technology providers of all sizes with more formalized interactions designed to help the organization learn much more from its users than ever before. This dynamic presents an unparalleled opportunity to not only build stronger symbiotic relationships with users but also to uncover nuanced product findings and industry trends. At their core, user groups exist to facilitate knowledge-sharing and communication among individuals who use the same technology, so providing a frictionless forum to share and receive information is critical.
I’ve been involved with user groups since my early career, starting with organizing and managing large user groups. I’ve traveled the world meeting with user groups and speaking at their events — both for my own companies and as a guest executive speaker. For example, I’ve spoken to user groups about technology and road maps and met with partner user groups to engage on integration topics. The overarching value of these experiences for me has been the ability to gain customer feedback and opportunity to listen to them and use this feedback to inform future product direction.
Many technology companies decide to form user groups when they have motivated and engaged customers who see the benefit of participating in a community around the company’s particular products or platforms. As groups grow, it’s the relationships — built among members and the vendor — that are the basis of user groups’ value.
Read more from Terra Dotta's CEO, Anthony Rotoli, on Forbes.
Introducing Terra Dotta's Global Engagement Platform
October 6, 2021
Helping higher education institutions empower the next generation of global leaders, Terra Dotta today introduced its new global engagement platform. Developing a unified global education experience by connecting all aspects of international programming and supporting campus services, the platform will facilitate cross-cultural learning experiences at scale for students, faculty and staff –domestically and across more than 85 countries worldwide.
“Many institutions have siloed approaches for managing the global student experience, which can significantly jeopardize global engagement gains,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “Terra Dotta is committed to helping higher education institutions deliver on their expanding internationalization priorities across the board. Our global engagement platform connects relevant cross-departmental student data for elevated student global experience outcomes.”
Harnessing decades of international program expertise and innovation, Terra Dotta’s global engagement platform enables colleges and universities to deliver end-to-end, accessible and inclusive cross-cultural experiences that meet safety and compliance requirements. This ranges from managing domestic and worldwide travel to international student programs, virtual and experiential learning opportunities, and more.
The new platform integrates Terra Dotta’s cloud-based, modular solution offerings encompassing outgoing study abroad, incoming international student and scholar services, and travel risk management – including its award-winning AlertTraveler® mobile solution. Offering a seamless user experience, the platform serves as a hub for unifying common elements across institutions’ global experience programs including pulling in relevant cross-campus student data to enable advanced global engagement analytics.
Terra Dotta’s global engagement platform helps:
To learn more, visit Terradotta.com/global.
Triangle Business Journal Names Terra Dotta to 2021 Fast 50 List
September 27, 2021
Marking another company recognition, global education engagement solutions leader Terra Dotta today announced it has been named on the Triangle Business Journal’s list of 2021 Fast 50 companies. The distinguished list honors the fastest-growing private companies in the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) area of North Carolina.
“Continuous innovation and high client satisfaction - even amidst the pandemic’s travel impacts - have helped propel Terra Dotta’s commitment to global education and led us to earning a spot on the Fast 50 list for the first time,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “This honor is a testament to both higher education’s collective priority in providing enriching global experiences for all students and to the role our comprehensive solutions play in helping transform study abroad, international student and travel duty of care program outcomes.”
Serving more than 600 colleges and universities worldwide, Terra Dotta’s cloud-based solutions facilitate cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty and staff in more than 85 countries. This includes elevating the global education experience for over 1 million travelers and virtual students annually.
Terra Dotta is the vendor of choice for 70 percent of the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 list of Colleges With Great Study Abroad Programs. These higher education institutions have used Terra Dotta’s global engagement platform as part of their initiatives to streamline the study abroad application and admissions process.
Expanded AlertTraveler Alert and Intelligence Options with Riskline Duty of Care Partnership
September 8, 2021
Continuing to expand its duty of care offerings through enhanced safety and security measures for domestic and international travelers, Terra Dotta, a leader in global education engagement solutions, today announced it has partnered with Riskline, a leading travel risk and intelligence company. The partnership will allow Terra Dotta’s award-winning AlertTraveler® app to seamlessly deliver Riskline’s travel alert and intelligence insights to administrators and travelers.
With this partnership, more than 600 higher education institution clients will now have the option to access Riskline’s practical, traveler-focused advice to mitigate threats to personal security of students, faculty and staff across more than 200 countries. Riskline’s daily gathering of open-source intelligence is human curated, ensuring all notifications are legitimate, relevant and correct.
“As domestic and global travel begins to open up again amidst varied security dynamics and levels of uncertainty depending on location, it’s more important than ever for higher education institutions to address the complex safety needs of its student and faculty travelers,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “With the help of Riskline, we’re excited to offer university and college clients an even higher level of duty of care by enabling them to track potential threats as they develop – keeping travelers informed 24/7.”
Terra Dotta’s AlertTraveler app will be able to issue notifications to administrators and travelers for Riskline Alerts, Country Alert Summaries, Country Report, City Alerts, COVID-19 Updates, and Travel Advisories. This includes sharing information spanning an array of severity levels, including minimal, low, medium, high and extreme.
“Having the right level of risk intelligence at the right moment plays a critical role in keeping individual travelers informed and empowered to maintain their safety,” said Suzanne Sangiovese, Riskline’s commercial and communications director. “Partnering with Terra Dotta is a natural fit as we can collaboratively help institutions maintain the highest possible levels of duty of care by sharing personalized, up-to-date safety information when and where it is needed most.”
Terra Dotta Honored on Inc. 5000 List as One of America’s Fastest Growing Companies
August 17, 2021
Celebrating its 20th anniversary as a leader in global education engagement solutions, Terra Dotta today announced it has been named to the Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest growing private companies. Terra Dotta achieved a revenue growth rate of 61% over the past three years, earning a spot on the list for the first time in recognition of continuous innovation and high client satisfaction.
“On behalf of the entire Terra Dotta team, we’re thrilled to be named to the Inc. 5000 list and look forward to continuing the company’s high growth trajectory by supporting the international program and global engagement priorities of higher education,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta. “Over the past two decades we have helped higher ed elevate their study abroad, international student, and travel duty of care program outcomes and we remain committed to their continued success,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta.
Serving more than 600 colleges and universities, Terra Dotta’s cloud-based solutions facilitate cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty and staff in more than 85 countries. This includes elevating the global education experience for over 1 million travelers and virtual students annually.
Terra Dotta’s recent impact on client outcomes includes 12 of Terra Dotta’s clients being recognized by the Institute of International Education with the Generation Study Abroad 2020 Seal of Excellence (out of 19 total). These higher education institutions have used Terra Dotta as part of their initiatives to make study abroad more accessible and inclusive for all students.
Increasing Internationalization On-Campus
July 20, 2021
As the return to campus for Fall ‘21 nears, many universities are still operating with precautionary measures, particularly when it comes to approving international travel. Some are allowing student travel to level three countries, whereas others are approving travel on a petition basis.
Despite the differences between international travel approval, one thing remains: international mobility is not in full swing just yet. And even as international travel picks up in volume, it’s important to remember that internationalization can occur without traditional forms of mobility.
Border Free GC
Georgia College & State University (GC) has been working on an initiative called Border Free GC, which is “an innovative framework for internationalization grounded in accessibility and inclusion” that “leverages the online environment to extend international opportunities.”
The initiative has two principal objectives:
The initiative works to unite GC students, faculty, and staff to the larger global community through programming in six key areas:
These six buckets can involve virtual study abroad programming, global partnerships, international festivals, events with international alumni, conferences and more ーall facilitated with the help of the GC International Education Center.
Creating Border Free GC
While the idea had been percolating for quite some time, it really started to come together when Liz Havey, Assistant Director of Education Abroad, and Dr. Emmanuel Little, Director of the GC AAMI & Call Me MiSTER Programs began to collaborate with De Montfort University’s Decolonising DMU program to facilitate conversations among students of color at the two institutions.
At the conclusion of the first conversation, in early March 2020, one student came up to Liz at the end to thank her for coordinating the event. The student mentioned that she remembered Liz from her freshman seminar presentation about study abroad, but had never felt like study abroad was for her. However, had she had an experience like that DMU conversation as a first year student, she would have made study abroad a reality.
Then, when the pandemic hit, the GC Education Abroad team worked closely with study abroad program directors to quickly pivot many of study abroad programs to a virtual format and the idea really began to cement. Over the summer, Liz began reaching out to faculty who teach on international subjects to begin connecting them with counterparts at partner institutions to facilitate student - to - student conversations, guest lectures, a creative writing workshop series, and even a trivia night.
Tips for Facilitating more Internationalization on your Campus
With almost 18 months under their belt, the Border Free GC initiative is starting to gain international recognition and was one of only fifteen universities worldwide highlighted in the June 2021 University UK report on “examples of impactful Internationalisation at Home programmes.”
Liz offered advice for other universities hoping to facilitate more on campus internationalization:
Start small. Think about who your department allies are. Think about who your close partners abroad are and who might have the interest and resources to engage on this level with your institution. Think about where the holes are in your operations - is there a target audience you are not reaching that you want to?
Rather than taking a syllabus or program and just moving it online, use your human and technological resources to rethink the course or event. Start with your goals or learning outcomes and work backwards from there to design an impactful and sustainable project.
The pandemic has given way to a number of innovations in the past year, and as international education continues to face limited mobility, what internationalization strategies can you implement on your campus?