Small World Map

1950 to 1979

National Context

In the 1950s and 60s, the government invests in faculty-led training and research begins on the academic rigor of programs overseas as compared to the U.S.

Study abroad grows rapidly at the rate of 15 to 20 programs a year nationwide (Weidner, 1962).

In 1958, the National Defense Education Act influenced by the Soviet launch of the satellite Sputnik in 1957 propels Congress to authorize funding for more students to attend universities and the fever of internationalization to take-off.

In the mid -1950s, there is a historical shift from the traditional European junior-year-abroad language and culture programs to more study abroad offerings with curricular emphases for semester-long durations (Hoffa, 2007).

In 1975, Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act passes, strengthening the connection between USAID and universities (Rodman, 2005).


MSU helps to establish universities overseas, i.e., the University of Ryukyus on Okinawa, Japan in 1951, and the University of Nigeria at Nsukka in 1960 (Hannah, 1964; NAFSA, 2006).

In the late 1950s, the Foreign Student Advisor's Office (later named Office for International Students and Scholars) is established (Rodman, 2005).

John Hannah, installed as MSU's 12th president in 1956, establishes an international vision for MSU: "MSU is a university not only for the people of Michigan but also for the world" (Hannah, 1964). He appoints the first dean of International Studies Program, Glen Taggart, who holds a unique administrative position unseen in major U.S. universities at the time (Rodman).

In 1959, the Community Volunteers for International Programs establishes as a support service for international students and families (Rodman, 2005).

The MSU African Studies Center establishes in 1960 and is one of nine Title VI National Resource Centers on Africa designated by the U.S. MSU becomes a leading center of African experience and knowledge among American universities (Smuckler, 2003).

In the early 1960s, MSU helps with the planning and implementation of the U.S. Peace Corps (Rodman, 2005).

Various Regional and Thematic Centers open:

  • 1962 Asian Studies Center
  • 1963 Latin American Studies Center
  • 1978 Women and International Development
  • 1978 Western European Studies Program

Study Abroad

In the 1950s, faculty members are encouraged to develop and lead programs. By the 1960s and 1970s, there is an expansion of disciplines in faculty-led programs.

The Office of Overseas Study establishes in 1970 as a unit of the Office of International Extension in the Continuing Education Service; eventually the unit is renamed the Office of Study Abroad.

Charles Gliozzo becomes Director in 1973. The office is staffed with a director, a coordinator, an office secretary, and a receptionist.

In the 1970s, a collaboration between the offices of Financial Aid and Study Abroad helps increase the enrollment of MSU students in study abroad.

In the 1970s, program evaluation begins and mainly focuses on participant satisfaction.