This capstone probes at the need for diversity training among professionals who work with college students. It seeks to show the extent to which staff awareness, knowledge, and skill inform the Centers for Academic Programs Abroad (CAPA) policies and student services, as well the organization’s commitment to reach out to underrepresented groups. CAPA is a private, non-profit study abroad organization founded in 1972 with centers in London, England; Florence, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Sydney, Australia and Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Specifically this inquiry explores whether the professionals employed at CAPA effectively work with and reach out to students who have non-dominant sexual orientations and gender identities. I used four methods to collect data: surveys, training needs assessment forms, diversity training dialog and conclusions, and personal interviews. The participant group consisted of twelve pre-departure professionals, all of whom took part in the diversity training session. Only self-selected participants took part in the other forms of data collections; nine completed surveys, six completed needs assessment forms, and four engaged in personal interviews.

A number of challenges were presented throughout this study due to the nature of the field of study abroad. Namely, that CAPA has centers in six countries, diverse staff with many different cultural backgrounds, combined together with a wide range of students and faculty makes for an extensive array of beliefs regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite this challenge, one conclusion that emerged is the need for CAPA employees to have a forum in which to dialog about diverse student needs and appropriate services.


International and Comparative Education