The CIEE Academic Consortium Board: Driving Excellence in International Education
The cornerstone of CIEE’s program quality is the Academic Consortium Board (ACB). Independently elected, the ACB is comprised of exemplary leaders in international education from the nation's finest colleges and universities. For nearly 70 years, CIEE has drawn on the expertise of its consortium members to ensure that every study abroad program meets the highest standards for academic quality, intercultural exchange, and student safety.
The ACB includes vice presidents, deans, and directors with more than 100 years of collective experience in developing and implementing high-quality international programs at a diverse group of schools – from small liberal arts colleges to large land grant institutions. This expert group approves all CIEE programs, conducts annual program reviews, and leads site evaluations for each of CIEE’s more than 200 study abroad programs in over 40 countries.
The ACB provides CIEE consortium member schools and their students with the most rigorous quality assurance programs in the field. What’s more, the board shares its reports with the broader exchange community, as part of CIEE’s longstanding drive for program quality and transparency.
At CIEE, providing academic excellence and the best experience for our students is our number one priority. Our dedication to valuable, high-quality programs makes us an industry leader, and the ACB is the guiding force behind this commitment.
Meet Our Board Members
Woody Pelton, J.D.
Dean of International Programs
Woody is dean of global education at Elon University. He leads education abroad, Study USA and international student, scholar and faculty services, in addition to directing the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center. Previously, Woody served as director of the International Center at Winthrop University, special assistant to the president for international programs at Saginaw Valley State University, education advisor for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco. He holds a doctorate of law from George Washington University’s National Law Center, and a master’s degree in student personnel services in higher education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ACB Vice Chair for Program Development
Director, Penn Abroad
University of Pennsylvania
Nigel Cossar leads Penn Abroad, the department overseeing education abroad programs and policy at the University of Pennsylvania. Nigel has worked in various roles in international education for 15 years, in institutions and not-for-profit organizations in Australia and the US. Nigel has held previous leadership positions in international education associations including the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), and is a past Council Member of the Forum on Education Abroad, and has presented at numerous international education conferences including ACAD, AIEC, APAIE, NAFSA, EAIE and the Forum as well as led numerous education abroad strategic reviews and consultations. Nigel earned his graduate degree from the Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne.
Rebecca A. Bergren
ACB Vice Chair for Member Relations
Dean for Global Initiatives & Director, Center for Global Education
Rebecca is Dean for Global Initiatives and Director of the Center for Global Education at Gettysburg College where she serves as the senior international officer. Prior to her appointment at Gettysburg, she was Associate Director of the Study Abroad Office at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During the past 25 years, Rebecca has been active in the larger education abroad community, having served on numerous boards and committees, and participating regularly as a speaker at national and international conferences. She currently serves as a Peer Review for the Forum on Education Abroad’s Quality Improvement Program (QUIP). She holds a Master's Degree in Community Services Administration from Alfred University, NY and has studied, lived, and worked in Ecuador and England.
Elizabeth Wildenberg de Hernandez
ACB Evaluations Coordinator
Associate Director, Study Abroad
University of Iowa
Liz is Associate Director for Study Abroad at the University of Iowa where she has worked in various study abroad roles since 2002. In her current position she is responsible for program and internal operations and management for the office, which sends around 1200 students abroad annually. Her diverse background of experiences include earning a BA in Biology from Luther College, studying and working abroad in the United Kingdom and Ireland, serving as an agriculture sector Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, and working in Human Resources primarily employing refugees and other immigrants.
Ryan Larsen, Ph.D.
Director, Education Abroad
Western Washington University
Ryan Larsen is Director of Education Abroad at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. WWU is a public, comprehensive university that sends about 700 students abroad per year. Ryan holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs and has worked in international education since 2000, both in the US and abroad. Ryan spent his own academic year abroad as an undergrad at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica.
Casey Love, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Global Education
Tulane University – CIEE School of Record
Casey serves as Interim Associate Dean and Director of Global Education at Tulane University. She is also a Senior Professor of Practice in the Department of Political Science and Co-Director of the Altman Program in International Studies and Business. Casey teaches courses on Mexican politics, U.S.-Latin American relations, U.S. immigration policy, comparative politics, and political and economic development in the Global South, and is the recipient of several teaching awards. She has a diverse background in international education, having conducted research and directed study abroad programs in Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and Thailand. She holds three degree from Tulane: a doctorate in political science, a master’s degree in Latin American studies, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies. In addition to her academic pursuits, Casey is the director of a 501c3-designated female-identified Mardi Gras performance troupe.
Mary E. McMahon, Ph.D.
UC Education Abroad Program
University of California
Mary is currently a lecturer for the University of California (UC) Education Abroad Program and UCSB, where she oversees internship engagement and teaches courses to UC students studying abroad. Over the last 25 years, she held managerial positions in international education at UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UCLA. She holds a doctorate in education, and master’s in political science from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in Asian studies and bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley.
Assistant Dean and Director of Study Abroad
University of Miami
Devika Milner is Director of Study Abroad at the University of Miami (UM), where she administers over 100 academic programs in 35 countries. In this role she is responsible for program development and management of the unit, including budget oversight and service on committees relating to international students, safety and security, and global and civic affairs. Previously, she worked in the UM Division of Undergraduate Education in the Office of the Provost, has lived and worked in Bangkok, Thailand, and has professional experience in the corporate sector and non-profit industry. Devika is an evaluator for the US State Department Critical Language Scholarship program, a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, AIEA: Association of International Education Administrators, and the Florida Consortium for International Education. Devika holds a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the College of New Jersey. She has been awarded the International Education Administrators Fulbright grant to France in 2018.
Director, Outreach and Academic Engagement
UC San Diego
Jay Minert is currently Director of Outreach and Academic Engagement for Study Abroad UC San Diego, a position he has held since 2012. His work in International Education began when he studied abroad in Guatemala and Honduras as an undergraduate student at The Evergreen State College. Jay then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, Central America, where he ran a conservation corps for ‘at-risk’ youth; he extended his Peace Corps service in Palau, Micronesia, where he worked in environmental education. He earned his Master's in Education at UC Santa Cruz, receiving an Inter-American Foundation Fellowship to conduct ethnographic research in primary schools in Belize.
Jay has worked as a Peace Corps Recruiter in Seattle, Washington, helping to send hundreds of people to serve overseas as Peace Corps Volunteers. He has been an Academic Advisor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and has held several Student Affairs positions at UC Santa Cruz. During his time at UC San Diego, Jay received a Fulbright International Administrators Award to the United Kingdom and is currently serving as a LEAD (Leader for Equity Advancement and Diversity) Fellow through the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Director, Center for Study Away
Kevin Morrison’s undergraduate education at Willamette University included a study abroad experience in Japan where he studied Japanese language, culture, society, and politics. He returned to Japan after completing his international studies degree as a participant in the Japan Exchange and Teaching
Program. Following his return from the JET program, he began his career in international education working for the Japan Study program managed by Earlham College. Subsequently, he earned a
Master of Arts in Intercultural Relations from the University of the Pacific while continuing his career at
Meredith College. Prior to assuming his current position at Macalester he served as the Director of Study Abroad at Elon University.
With over 20 years of experience as an international educator, Kevin has developed a passion for a wide range of professional interests. He is always seeking to deepen his own understanding of intercultural competence and nurture its development through study away experiences. He is also interested in the role that intercultural experiences play in developing one’s sense of identity and how we might express that through our interactions. A third major area of interest is supporting social justice and equity both at home and in the broader world through the raising of awareness and understanding of people who have differing backgrounds, belief-systems, and ways of living.
Lorien Romito, Senior Director of International Education at Babson College, has worked in international education for 13 years. Lorien holds a MA in International Education from the SIT Graduate Institute and a BA in International Affairs and Spanish from the University of New Hampshire. Previous roles include Director, International Programs at Endicott College, Associate Director for the Center for International Programs at Saint Mary’s College of California and the Academic Relations Manager at Intrax Cultural Exchange. Lorien is a founding member of Lessons from Abroad and has presented at NAFSA, CIEE, Diversity Abroad and The Forum on Education Abroad conferences. Lorien has lived, worked and studied in Spain, Costa Rica and France and speaks Spanish.
Maxine J. Sample, Ph.D.
Director of International Education, Dr. George H. Bennett Office for International Education
Virginia State University
Maxine is director of international education at the Dr. George H. Bennett Office for International Education at Virginia State University (VSU). Under her leadership, participation in study abroad by VSU students has increased by 300 percent. She is also professor of English at VSU. Previously, Maxine served as English professor and coordinator of Africana studies at VSU. She holds a doctorate in comparative literature from Emory University, a master’s degree in African-American studies and literature from Clark Atlanta University, and a bachelor’s degree in English education from The College of New Jersey.
Andrew Sobiesuo, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for International Education
College of Charleston
Andrew Sobiesuo is the Associate Provost for International Education and Director of the Center for International Education at College of Charleston in South Carolina, a public university, where he provides leadership in the development, implementation and management of all international programs and services. After completing his B.A. degree at the University of Ghana, Legon, he studied Hispanic Philology at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and subsequently completed an M.A. and Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. A tenured member of the College of Charleston faculty, Sobiesuo previously taught at Ohio Wesleyan University and The Ohio State University. His research focuses on the Afro-Hispanic and diasporan literatures, international education, and diversity in education abroad. In 2013, he was awarded the International Education Administrator Fulbright Grant to the UK.
Rev. Christopher M. Thomforde
Vice-Chair, CIEE Board of Directors
Christopher Thomforde served as the 15th president of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary from 2006 to 2013. He is credited with developing a strategic plan focused on enrolling and supporting a diverse student body and successfully overseeing major campus renovations, including the 231-bed Hurd Integrated Living and Learning Community. Read more...