UW-River Falls to relaunch three semester-length education abroad programs

Dr. Robert B. Bailey III Office of International Education dedicated

June 20, 2022 – Three semester-length study abroad programs will return next year to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

The Semester Abroad, Wisconsin in Scotland and the International Traveling Classroom will all be back after a hiatus during the pandemic, said Wes Chapin, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and graduate studies. 

“Planning is underway for short-term, faculty-led programs taking students to five continents and more than 16 countries, involving at least two dozen faculty and staff,” Chapin said during the dedication of the Dr. Robert B. Bailey III Office of International Education on June 16.

“I am also happy to share that we will have more programs available to students in 2022-23 than before COVID,” Chapin said. “Our faculty estimates that we will have at least 250 students enrolled in credit-bearing education abroad experiences in the upcoming year. These include several new programs to locations such as Ecuador, the Netherlands, Ghana and Puerto Rico.”

The dedication event also celebrated the creation of an endowed scholarship, the Dr. Robert B. Bailey III Legacy Scholarship, named for UWRF’s founder of the Quarter Abroad program and the first African American faculty member. To learn more about Bailey and the endowed scholarship, go here.

Bailey, who many referred to as “Doc,” started at UWRF in 1957 as a sociology professor and initiated what is now known as the Semester Abroad: Europe program in 1963. 

Chapin noted one of Bailey’s goals was to provide life-enhancing and transformational international experiences for students.

Recent UWRF elementary education graduate Graze Zimmer, who was one of the first students to receive one of the scholarships, noted she had recently returned from Spain where she was completing her student teaching and lived with a host family.

It was a scary adventure, but helped her leap and become a global citizen, according to Zimmer.

“It’s broadened my world perspective. I am grateful for the opportunity this scholarship has provided me,” Zimmer said.

Chancellor Maria Gallo noted five $1,000 scholarships are slated to be awarded during fall semester.

Doc Baily was committed to students and giving them a global perspective, Gallo said. 

“I thank him for his vision and student-centered approach to Semester Abroad and for ensuring our students have the opportunity to be ready for what’s next in their lives,” Gallo said.

David Olson, a longtime friend of Bailey, said Bailey was the greatest influence in his life and opened the world of travel to him.

“He was simply the greatest professor, the greatest adviser and clearly the greatest of my friends,” said Olson, of Spring Valley and a UWRF alum. “I have traveled the world. I hope to continue to travel the world. Wherever I go, I think of him. His spirit is here. His spirit is in us. It will continue.”

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