MSI Presidents Head to Austin for the Third Annual President's Leadership Workshop

Philadelphia, Pa., November 3, 2017— The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) have developed a one-day executive-level workshop designed for university presidents from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the nation. This workshop is part of Project Passport, a three-year partnership between CIEE and CMSI developed to increase accessibility to study abroad opportunities for students at MSIs. The workshop discusses the importance of educating MSI students on the value of international education and provides guidance on overcoming the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture for university presidents looking to expand study abroad programming at their respective institutions.

The workshop will feature the following MSI presidents:

  • Makola Abdullah, Virginia State University
  • Juliette B. Bell, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore 
  • Jerryl Briggs, Missisippi Valley State University
  • Collette Pierce Burnette, Huston-Tillotson University
  • Marsha Krotseng, Bluefield State College
  • Laurel Vermillion, Sitting Bull College

“The action-oriented workshop encourages presidents to strategize ways to grow study abroad programming on their campuses and encourages them to partner with other MSI leaders” shares Marybeth Gasman, Director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

The program, which will take place on November 8, 2017, includes sessions such as The Benefits of Study Abroad, Putting Study Abroad into Action; a panel discussion featuring study abroad practitioners; and The Importance of Institutional Collaboration to Advance International Education, facilitated by Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College.

James Pellow, President and CEO of CIEE adds, “This training advocates for the benefits of study abroad at the executive level with university presidents who have the capability to make policy changes to better serve their student population.”

In addition to the Leadership Workshop, presidents are invited as special guests to CIEE’s Annual Conference Study Abroad, Born Digital: Embracing Technology to Enhance International Education. This year’s Leadership Workshop and Annual Conference will be held in Austin, TX.

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. For further information about CMSI, please visit

About the Council on International Educational Exchange

 CIEE was founded in 1947 to facilitate international exchange programs that help foster peace and understanding in our world and to open doors to such programs for students from all socio-economic backgrounds.  Today, CIEE serves more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities, 1,000 U.S. high schools, and facilitates over 40,000 exchanges each year. CIEE serves as the leading sponsor for the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (the J-1 visa program), promoting exchanges with over 100 countries. Additional CIEE programs include international faculty training, teach abroad, and various specialty and custom programs for secondary, post-secondary, and international students. Visit

Thursday, November 2, 2017