We are delighted to announce that API recently received recognition for being in substantial conformity with the Standards of Good Practice by successfully completing the Forum on Education Abroad’s Quality Improvement Program (QUIP)!
As part of the process, reviewers visited API’s central office and met extensively with numerous staff members across divisions. They subsequently traveled to two API sites, where they met with API’s Resident Directors, interviewed API students, and observed API-led cultural activities. The site visits allowed evaluators to observe the rapport between our staff and API participants, to gauge how our on-site services align with our stated mission and core values, and to assess how effectively API manages and supports diverse student groups. API also completed a lengthily written self-study, which was provided to the evaluators for their reference as they completed the assessment process.
The QUIP review process was an extremely positive experience for API. It allowed us to devote time and resources to evaluating our organization’s policies and practices through an external lens, which brought us insights and new perspectives to further guide us as we move forward. We sincerely appreciate the feedback and validation from experienced professionals outside of the organization. It is quite gratifying to be recognized for a job well done and simultaneously be guided toward areas where improvements can be made. We sincerely appreciate their praise and affirmation of our strengths, as well as their suggestions for improvement, as their feedback will help us to ensure that API is even stronger in the future.
We are pleased to share some of the comments the evaluators submitted in their report to the Forum on Education Abroad:
On the quality of staff:
“Staff turnover is unusually low, and the API team members with whom we met were – without exception – extremely knowledgeable, dedicated to the organization’s purpose and goals, and engaged both with their day-to-day work and with the larger education abroad field.”
“API devotes substantial time and financial resources to training, which has a direct impact both on the obvious effectiveness of the staff in fulfilling their responsibilities (particularly student services and health- and safety-related matters) and on the widespread commitment to API’s mission.”
In reference to the API Badge program:
“One noteworthy new initiative is the Badge Program, which was described to us as an outgrowth of API’s commitment to high-impact learning. The badges are explicitly tied to API’s learning goals, and they are structured to emphasize that the education abroad experience includes not just time spent in the host community, but also preparation and re-entry. The program is also intended to encourage students to maintain focus on API’s (and their own) learning goals, and activities are associated with each badge to help students become active participants in their experiences.”
On support offered to students on-site:
“[On-site] staff have found ways to ensure that students receive the support that API identifies as a hallmark of its programs. We saw and heard clear evidence that API provides the support it promises in its program descriptions. As a result, students seem to feel a strong connection with API and a high level of appreciation for the efforts of the staff on site.”
On high-quality and ethical program promotion:
“Institutional Relations staff appear to be thoroughly familiar with API’s policies and priorities, including a strong focus on the ethical aspects of student recruitment. In particular, we were struck by the frequent emphasis – both in the Self-Study and during in-person discussions – on ensuring that staff help students identify programs that are best suited for them, based not only on their academic interests but also on other factors like cost, accessibility, and acceptance and inclusion of diversity. Overall, it appears that API pays a great deal of attention to training in this area: Institutional Relations team members are instructed not to push students into programs that don’t meet their needs, not to disparage competitor programs, and to refer students back to the study abroad and financial aid offices at their home institutions when specific questions arise.”
API is delighted to be recognized by the Forum on Education Abroad as an organization that meets the Standards of Best Practices, and it is truly an honor to receive such positive feedback and affirmation of our deep commitment to our mission and to the field of education abroad.