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Debunking the Boy Myth: Understanding and 
Breaking Down Barriers in Male Participation in 
Education Abroad 
CIEE Baltimo...
Three questions to ponder 
● Who are your stakeholders on campus? 
● Who are your allies on campus? 
● How do you determin...
Profiles of Gettysburg and Dickinson: 
why are we ground zero? 
● —Dickinson and Gettysburg are highly-selective, four-yea...
Profiles of Gettysburg and Dickinson: 
Male Participation Rates in Study Abroad 
Gettysburg: Dickinson:
What do we know so far? 
Data and Research 
● More women in higher education 
● Women graduate with higher GPAs 
● For ove...
What do we know so far? 
Surveys and Focus Groups 
● Men struggle with the processes of study abroad more than women do 
●...
What have we done so far? 
Gettysburg 
● Created awareness about the issue on campus 
● Identified real vs. perceived barr...
What are the Real vs. Perceived Barriers? 
● Greek life 
● Athletics 
● Eligibility requirements (GPA, conduct, etc.) 
● B...
A New Narrative? 
The Ohio State University: 
(Thanks to Robert Bennett III, Special Assistant to the Associate Provost, O...
Final Breakout questions 
● What is the narrative around study abroad on your campus? How might it change if it involves 
...
Feedback and questions? 
Sam Brandauer: brandaus@dickinson.edu 
Rebecca Bergren: rbergren@gettysburg.edu
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Debunking the Boy Myth: Understanding and Breaking Down Barriers in Male Participation in Education Abroad

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Nationally, the percentage of males who study abroad each year has hovered around 35.2 percent for decades. Briefly examining research on this underrepresentation, the session will highlight the experience of two liberal arts colleges, Gettysburg and Dickinson. These institutions have eliminated obstacles, yet males enrolled there are still studying abroad at about the national average. Participants will be asked to debunk reasons males use to justify their absence from study abroad and to write a new narrative of education abroad that embraces male participation.

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Debunking the Boy Myth: Understanding and Breaking Down Barriers in Male Participation in Education Abroad

  1. 1. Debunking the Boy Myth: Understanding and Breaking Down Barriers in Male Participation in Education Abroad CIEE Baltimore 2014 Presenters: Samantha C. Brandauer, Center for Global Study and Engagement, Dickinson College Rebecca Bergren, Center for Global Education, Gettysburg College
  2. 2. Three questions to ponder ● Who are your stakeholders on campus? ● Who are your allies on campus? ● How do you determine your real vs. perceived barriers?
  3. 3. Profiles of Gettysburg and Dickinson: why are we ground zero? ● —Dickinson and Gettysburg are highly-selective, four-year liberal arts college in Southern Central Pennsylvania with a student population of about 2300 and 2600 respectively. ● —Dickinson and Gettysburg are approximately 56% female and 44% male ● —Approximately 60% of all students will study abroad for at least a semester What makes study abroad so accessible? Division 3 athletics Global Education is intrinsically linked with the college mission Extremely supportive and involved faculty High overall participation rates Program choices accommodate all majors A wide variety of geographic locations and program types
  4. 4. Profiles of Gettysburg and Dickinson: Male Participation Rates in Study Abroad Gettysburg: Dickinson:
  5. 5. What do we know so far? Data and Research ● More women in higher education ● Women graduate with higher GPAs ● For over a decade, IIE Open Doors data has consistently hovered around 35% male and 65% female participation rates ● Looking at Dickinson study abroad participation rates, the numbers are more balanced in Russia and China, are almost balanced in Germany and Korea and skew more male in the Middle East (Jordan and Israel) over the last 5 years. This is a small percentage of overall study abroad students. ● Length of program does not significantly change participation rates ● When men do go abroad, they can sometimes create conduct issues that programs that are more female dominated do not face ● Some research on intercultural competencies gained through study abroad show that women do slightly better than men and that sometimes men do worse on certain indexes. This is an interesting area for more research. ● Men listen to their peers, but also their parents.
  6. 6. What do we know so far? Surveys and Focus Groups ● Men struggle with the processes of study abroad more than women do ● There is a “bro” culture on campus that keeps men happy with the status quo ● Women are bigger risk takers ● Women are more comfortable and have more experience being the Other ● Women are more engaged in campus activities and leadership roles, men have leadership roles mostly through Greek life and athletics ● Men are more comfortable going abroad with someone they already know “my friend(s) and I want to study in….”. This can take precedence over location or academic fit. ● Men have lower grade point averages at application and also at graduation ● Recent survey at Gettysburg of men who did not study abroad (14% participation in survey) - “Academic Major” and “No Program of Interest” biggest factors - 50% said if these factors hadn’t existed they would have studied abroad - 30% visited Office
  7. 7. What have we done so far? Gettysburg ● Created awareness about the issue on campus ● Identified real vs. perceived barriers: Fraternity Housing, Athletics ● Reach out regularly to advisors and faculty with specific male students with whom to engage ● Raise awareness among parents through information on website and parent newsletters ● Worked to be pro-active about how we talk about study abroad - less about experience, more about benefits, skills gained, etc. ● Make sure we have strong male representation at all of our events ● Hired more males in the office Dickinson ● Starting to raise awareness by talking to students, faculty and administrators ● Identifying close allies - Academic Advising, Student Life (around conduct), Athletics department ● Working to collect data and ask the right questions in this context ● Identifying real vs. perceived barriers: “privilege not a right”, leadership position on campus, athletics and male identity/belonging, high language proficiency
  8. 8. What are the Real vs. Perceived Barriers? ● Greek life ● Athletics ● Eligibility requirements (GPA, conduct, etc.) ● Bro culture ● Leadership roles on campus ● Major ● Language study
  9. 9. A New Narrative? The Ohio State University: (Thanks to Robert Bennett III, Special Assistant to the Associate Provost, Office of Diversity and Inclusion) ● Reached men (and first-gen, inner-city students) through programs where they partnered with academic units on campus ● Reached men (Division I athletes) through programs specifically timed to work for them ● 21% increase in male participation from 2012-13 to 2013-14 A Gettysburg Experiment: ● Introduction to Peace ● Introduction to War What would Success look like?
  10. 10. Final Breakout questions ● What is the narrative around study abroad on your campus? How might it change if it involves more men? ● With whom should you be talking, what questions should you be asking and which data should you be collecting? ● What are your real vs. perceived barriers? ● What other boy issues overlap with this one? ● What are your strategies for mythbusting?
  11. 11. Feedback and questions? Sam Brandauer: brandaus@dickinson.edu Rebecca Bergren: rbergren@gettysburg.edu

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