Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education


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.