Paula Myrick Short, University of Houston senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, recently launched Passport for Coogs for the fall 2014 semester.
Passport for Coogs is an ongoing University-wide initiative to offer a passport at no charge to all UH students interested in pursuing a learning abroad program. This initiative is aligned with UH’s commitment to double learning abroad participation over the next five years.
The aim of Passport for Coogs is to plant early the seed that will result in more students actively pursuing learning abroad as part of their academic endeavors, rather than realize that an opportunity was lost. It is estimated that approximately 85 percent of UH students do not have passports.
“UH has a responsibility to produce graduates who are prepared to handle the complex issues of a cross-cultural and global workforce,” Short said.
Many college students are unaware of learning abroad opportunities until they become entrenched in the academic rigors preventing them from participating or until it is too late to budget for international travel. Short has created a two-prong strategy to ensure more students are able to plan for both with the issuance of passports and the availability of meaningful scholarships to become global citizens.
As part of the initiative, all UH students will be encouraged to plan and budget for learning abroad. After students receive their passports, they will be periodically contacted by the Office of Learning Abroad to keep them engaged throughout the planning process.
“We’ve expanded study abroad at UH. We’re not limited to the pure exchange of credit for credit in traditional study abroad programs. Flagship institutions offer learning abroad, which also encapsulates research collaboratives, internships, experiential learning and volunteerism overseas,” Short said.