African Initiative Advances With Department of State IDEAS Grant


Building on the African Initiative announced in Fall 2022, Madison College has received a $35,000 grant award to further develop and grow new study abroad programs in East Africa.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of State’s Increase and Diversity Education Abroad for U.S. Students (IDEAS) Program. The funding will be used to encourage students to participate in African study abroad, including a new short-term study abroad program in Kenya that will launch in May 2024. In partnership with Madison College’s Retention Initiatives and Student Engagement Programs (RISE), the grant will also involve high impact engagement and transformative learning support intentionally designed for historically underrepresented students.

“The purpose of the IDEAS grant is to diversify the types of locations where students study abroad and encourage more underrepresented students to participate in these programs,” explains Dr. Geoff Bradshaw, associate vice president of global strategy. “This program will meet both of these goals by building new study abroad experiences in East Africa for our Madison College students.”

Madison College is one of 34 U.S. colleges and universities in 28 U.S. states to be awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s IDEAS Program. Of the 34 U.S. colleges and universities, eight are community colleges and 13 are minority-serving institutions. The IDEAS Program contributes to the State Department’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility efforts to engage the American people in foreign policy.

By bringing greater awareness to study abroad opportunities, including the varying focus areas and durations of these programs, Bradshaw hopes it draws interest from Madison College students who may not have seen themselves learning beyond the campus borders.
“For many community or technical college students, the idea that they could travel to Africa as part of their studies is not even within their realm of imagination,” he says. “This program will help make students aware of these possibilities and provide structured support before, during, and after the program to help students make the most of their experiences.”

The IDEAS grant is part of the college’s larger African Initiative, a multi-year commitment to grow and scale partnerships and student engagement across the African continent. This effort will include the development of an African Studies certificate program, study abroad, international student recruitment, online educational delivery, and contract training. This collaboration includes close cooperation with the University of Wisconsin-Madison African Studies Program and direct partnership with multiple African educational institutions and service providers.

Learn more about Madison College’s Center for International Education and study abroad opportunities.