The 2010 Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education revealed that Kentucky colleges and universities sent 2,946 students abroad on credit-bearing international programs in 2008-09.

However, compared to neighboring states (Indiana: 9,049; Ohio: 10,980; Virginia: 8,508; and Tennessee: 4,033), the Commonwealth is falling behind regions that share similar student demographics.

Kentucky students may need more international knowledge and skills that will enable them to live and work successfully in a continually globalizing workforce.

Many of our state’s international educators were troubled by the Open Doors findings and have been brainstorming ways to work collectively to enhance education abroad programming.” – Anthony Ogden director of education UK

The first assembly of the KCEA, an organization open to all Kentucky-based institutions and professionals with interest in U.S. education abroad programming,  focused on four initial goals:

The need to share best practices for the advancement of education abroad programming in Kentucky.
The need to enhance the image of Kentucky within the larger international education community.
The need to enhance professional development opportunities for education abroad professionals in Kentucky.
The need to collaborate to better address barriers and improve access to education abroad for under-represented populations.

Ogden expects approximately 60 individuals representing nearly 40 different institutions in attendance at the initial meeting. Participants range from flagship universities to small, private institutions.

Recognition of the importance of international education is not a new idea; Kentucky’s state government was one of the first states to pass a resolution for international education in 2002 [SCR142].

During his first year as director of Education Abroad at UK, Ogden spent one day at each institution around the state to find out more about international programming within Kentucky.

Ultimately, Ogden wants to see an increase in international activity around the state, which also ensures that Kentucky escapes the bottom of the international education rankings.

As leader of KCEA, Ogden has been invited to make a presentation on the importance of education abroad to the Subcommittee on Post secondary Education in Frankfort on Nov. 14.

He also wants to be ready for the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers 2013 meeting, which will be held in Louisville.