15 Outstanding Custom Program Faculty Leaders

ISA’s Custom Programs division is celebrating its 15th year in service to U.S. universities for their faculty-led and partnerships study abroad programming. Join us for this series of 15 things as you imagine, develop, and implement your own custom programs abroad.

1. Dr. Chris Anderson







A member of the faculty at The University of Tulsa since 1990, Dr. Christopher L. Anderson teaches courses in Spanish prose fiction and Spanish cinema. Dr. Anderson is Co-Editor of the Revista de Estudios sobre Blasco Ibáñez / Journal of Blasco Ibáñez Studies, supported by the City of Valencia, the Casa-Museo Blasco Ibáñez, and The University of Tulsa, among others. On TU’s program in Valencia, Spain, developed in coordination with ISA Valencia Resident Director Manuel Gutiérrez and the TU’s Center for Global Education, students earn credits in language, culture, and literature courses, as well as for participating in an ongoing service-learning opportunity. Through coordination with Dr. Anderson for TU’s 2013 custom program, ISA-ELAP now operates in Valencia, launching service-learning and internships available to all students in 2014.

2. Dr. Nancy Condee














In addition to teaching at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Nancy Condee has consulted for the Edinburgh Festival, the Library of Congress, the San Francisco Film Festival, the National Film Theatre in the U.K., and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, and was inaugurated as the director of Pitt’s Global Studies Center in 2011. The Global Studies Center fosters interdisciplinary, comparative, and cross-cultural learning and research on critical global issues within the areas of the economy, health, security, and society – which perfectly describes the objectives of Pitt’s Multi-region Academic Program [Pitt MAP], for which Nancy has served as the academic director since 2010. Each spring semester, PittMAP requires  students to work on a common topic as they visit three cities on three different continents [so far having traveled to Argentina, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, and India; the fall 2014 program will send students to France, Morocco, and China]!

3. Matthew Deffendall








Matthew Deffendall is the Director of First Generation Initiatives at the University of Kentucky where he coordinates campus-wide initiatives to recruit, retain, and see first-generation students through to graduation. One such initiative is the First Adventures in a Global Marketplace custom program which travels to London and fulfills the Global Dynamics core curriculum requirement that all Kentucky students must complete. Designed specifically for first-generation students, this program focuses on the diverse cultures that comprise the global marketplace of the 21st century and engages students through visits and discussions with London business leaders.

4. Kathy Dwyer-Navajas













After years of working as a small-engine mechanic in the Bronx, Yonkers, and Nicaragua, Kathy Dwyer-Navajas returned to higher education as a non-conventional student at the University of Florida. After graduating from UF and studying at Johns Hopkins, she brought her passion for teaching and for the Spanish language back to Gainesville.  Since joining the faculty at UF, she has served as mentor to language TAs, run a Teaching Support Group, and led or been involved in UF’s Study Abroad programs to Spain, Mexico, and the service-learning program in the Dominican Republic, which ISA has supported since 2012.

5. Dr. Clifton Ellis







Associate Dean of Academics in the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University, Dr. Clifton Ellis draws from the fields of architectural history and material culture to explain how human relationships are mediated and maintained through architecture. His appreciation for French language, history, and culture began with his undergraduate majors in French and History and his own study abroad experience in college.  He now leads 15-20 undergraduate Texas Tech studio students each year to France, where he teaches an advanced urban design studio in Paris. Students live in Paris, studying its urban form while also analyzing and interpreting the architecture and landscape designs of the Renaissance châteaux of the Loire Valley, the baroque forms at Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, and the role of Chartres Cathedral in its medieval urban context.

6. Donna Greenwood








Professor Donna Greenwood specializes in community and public health nursing, clinical decision-making, nursing ethics, and holistic care with emphasis on prevention and health promotion. In 2013, Donna took her expertise abroad with a group of Carroll College students to tour throughout Ireland and attend the 3rd Annual International Public Health Nursing Conference in Galway.

7. Dr. Andy Herod









Dr. Andrew Herod is a Distinguished Research Professor of Geography at the University of Georgia, and is internationally recognized as one of the most important scholars researching labor geography, a field he essentially created in the 1990s that looks at the geographical organization of work and employment. Andy investigates workers’ economic and political behavior and how that behavior, in turn, shapes organizations’ economic evolution. Putting research and theory into practice, Andy serves as the District 8 Commissioner for Athens-Clarke County where he has been a long-time Athens neighborhood activist, and leads the UGA à Paris interdisciplinary study abroad program. Since 2004, UGA students have been spending six weeks in Paris focusing upon the economy, politics, culture, and history of France and Western Europe.

8. Dr. Terrell Morgan








At The Ohio State University Dr. Terrell Morgan focuses on documenting linguistic diversity and finding new ways to put students, teachers, and fellow researchers in touch with the intimate details of the sounds and structures of the Spanish language. Terrell is the founder and Director of the Summer Seminars Abroad for Spanish Teachers (SSAST), a program which has introduced K-16 educators to both Hispanic linguistics and less-commonly taught languages in immersion contexts on three continents since 1991. A teacher of teachers, Terrell’s annual leadership makes ‘textbook language’ come alive for program participants.

9. Dr. Tracy Nobiling








Dr. Tracy Nobiling, professor of Justice Studies at Chadron State College, focuses on sentencing and alternatives to incarceration in the U.S., and now takes students to London each May to compare international law and British courts systems. 2013 was the 36th year for the CSC Justice Studies program to London, and because of the relationships developed early on in the program’s history with officials in the British courts and at New Scotland Yard, the CSC students have always been able to visit some places generally off-limits even to educational groups. Tracy’s program requires her students to blog their experiences abroad, but it isn’t as often that faculty leaders share their experiences in the same way; check out Tracy’s blog here.

10. Dr. Mary Jane Parmentier








Since 2000, Dr. Mary Jane Parmentier has been a faculty member at Arizona State University teaching international politics, international development, and regional studies of the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America.  A former Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco (’86-’88), she designed and led ASU’s Sustainable Development across the Mediterranean in Spain and Morocco in 2013, taking students on a three week-long trip through historic cities and diverse countryside of Morocco and Spain to understand the political and social context of sustainable development and energy transitions. As a part of this ISA custom program, Mary Jane organized visits to government ministries, embassies, solar energy plants and research centers, conservation centers, and a seminar with the Young Arab Analysts Network International.

11. Dr. Joseph  Pasquale















Dr. Joseph Pasquale is a professor of Computer Science at the University of California at San Diego, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1987. Recognizing a gap in study abroad opportunities for STEM students, Joe designed UCSD’s Mathematical Beauty in Rome which he has led since 2008. Students enjoy the incredible sites and monuments of Rome, and dive deeper to analyze the more subtle beauty of their geometry, their architectural form, and their structural balance.

12. Dr. Jim Perry







Dr. James Perry is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Since his first international experience with Peace Corps in Costa Rica in 1968, Jim has worked and taught in more than 60 countries. His research focuses on climate change adaptation in UNESCO World Heritage sites, and he published the first global model that identifies which of the 208 natural heritage World Heritage Sites are most at risk from climate change and developed ad adaptation guide for site managers. His ISA-supported class in Peru takes students to four of those World Heritage sites.  The class travels through Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley, as well as studying at a biological field station in the Amazon near Pilcopata. Students engage in this exciting and rigorous adventure to deepen their cultural and disciplinary education and gain valuable fieldwork experience.

13. Andrew Seidler










As Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs in the College of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Andrew Seidler manages operational aspects of undergraduate study abroad activities within the college. In 2013, Andrew expanded the college’s internationalization initiatives with an eight-day faculty-led program to Costa Rica for first-year Business students. Experiencing the contrasts within the Pura Vida business culture, students stayed in ecolodges in a traditional coastal town and in the Osa Peninsula, participated in workshops on sustainable development, marine tourism, and microfinancing, completed a service project at an elementary school, toured an organic chocolate farm and national park, and in San José visited an Intel facility and the Chamber of Commerce.

14. Dr. José Luis Suárez-García







Specializing in the Spanish Golden Age, contemporary peninsular literature and culture, co-author of different language textbooks, Dr. José Luis Suárez-García is a stand-out faculty leader at Colorado State University. For the last 12 years, he has led the CSU Spanish Language and Culture program with ISA to Granada, Spain for 12 years, where students to choose to enroll for three or six credits, and participate in a multi-day orientation in Madrid and Toledo, field trips to the Alhambra and Córdoba, and an overnight excursion to Sevilla.

15. Dr. Jon Weller








Bringing international students to campus as well as taking some abroad, Dr. Jonathan Weller is a driving force of internationalization and intercultural understanding at the University of Cincinnati. This spring break, Jon will lead the second annual UC Serving and Learning program to Peru; as a part of their course, Changemakers: Lessons Learned Through Travel in the Developing World, students will interact with academics, leaders and activists of non-profit organizations in Peru, immersing themselves in the local social and environmental situations and issues.

Melissa Stone is an ISA Custom Programs Manager for Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, France, and Jordan.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

One thought

  1. Impressive list and I can attest to the value of the study abroad program planned by # 12!

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