The Study Abroad Diamond

Examining the Facets of Supporting Student Mobility


  • Dr. Erik Jon Byker University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Dr. Mike Putman University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Dr. Adriana Medina University of North Carolina at Charlotte


A challenge confronting institutions of higher education is how to produce graduates that have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work with diverse populations and to participate in a pluralistic, interconnected world. In particular, colleges of education are under pressure to produce global-ready teachers. Within this context, there has been increasing support for student mobility in terms of greater participation in diverse locales; including international teaching opportunities. One method to achieve this goal, and to increase student mobility, is to provide opportunities for study abroad experiences that place candidates in international field experiences. Our chapter describes and examines three case studies of developing and implementing study abroad programs focused on providing international teaching experiences for teacher candidates at a large, research university in the Southeast region of the United States. 


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Author Biographies

Dr. Erik Jon Byker, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

ERIK JON BYKER, PhD, is UNC Charlotte's Resident Director at Kingston University in London, UK. He is also an associate professor in the REEL Department at UNC Charlotte. Erik has a Ph.D. Degree in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University. During the 2017-18 academic year, Erik was selected as a fellow for the Global Teacher Education Fellowship, which is supported by the Longview Foundation and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).  Erik’s research agenda is comparative and international in scope as he has conducted ethnographic field studies about uses for educational technology, the development of global competencies, and the implementation of study abroad in the following places: Cuba, England, Germany, India, South Africa, South Korea, and across the USA. Email:

Dr. Mike Putman, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

MICHAEL PUTMAN, Ph.D., is a professor and the department chair in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education at UNC Charlotte. His research interests are focused on the development of teacher self-efficacy and intercultural competencies through field experiences and the relationship of affective variables on literacy outcomes, including those associated with online inquiry. Mike is also passionate about providing teacher education candidates with opportunities to develop global and intercultural competencies. He has directed study abroad programs to South Africa and Spain and guided the creation of the Applied Understandings in Global Education minor. Email:

Dr. Adriana Medina, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

ADRIANA MEDINA, Ph.D., is an associate professor at UNC Charlotte. Her research areas include the development of literacy learning, school-based educational research, and in the evaluation of instructional programs. She focuses her research on helping to support children and adolescents who struggle with literacy as well as improving teacher education in a global context, and educational program evaluation. She teaches courses in content area literacy, reading assessment and intervention, and teaching reading to English language learners. Adriana is a current fellow with Global Teacher Education Fellowship, which is fellowship dedicated to the integration of global education in teacher preparation. Email:





Critical Perspectives on Equity and Social Mobility in Study Abroad (Published)