Dean: “Via was completely revolutionary for the University”
After a successful study abroad fair at Saint Martin’s University, the Office of International Programs and Development surveyed students. Questions centered not only on the fair, but on whether or not the office should bring the study abroad application process online.
Students answered with a resounding “yes!”
“They thought it would make it easier for them,” says Roger Douglas, Ed.D., dean of International Programs and Development at the university in Lacey, Washington. “They wouldn’t have to track down professors to meet one-on-one with them to find out more about study abroad programs.”
Knowing what students wanted, the office began exploring software solutions to replace its paper-based system. Roger, who came to Saint Martin’s in 2019, had worked with a large study abroad software provider at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He wasn’t interested in going that route at Saint Martin’s.
“I did not necessarily have a very positive experience,” he says. “The integration was a long, drawn-out process and it wasn’t very user friendly.”
Roger began looking for a more accessible software system and “stumbled upon” Via. “I started playing around with it a little bit and then I contacted Via,” he says. “The rest is history. Via was completely revolutionary for the University.”
Via Makes Workday Easier for Small Office
The office tied in the launch of Via in 2020 with Saint Martin’s 125th anniversary, offering a prize to the 125th student to create a Via profile. More than 130 students participated.
Students, Roger says, like Via because it’s easy for them to search programs.
“The best feature by far is that they can access Via 24/7,” he says. “They can be in their residence halls at 2 in the morning and start surfing to see what kind of programs are available to them. That’s appealing to students.”
Roger looks forward to using even more of Via’s features in the future. As essentially a one-person office, he hopes to hire an additional staff person one day. For now, he depends on Via to help make his workday easier.
“If we didn’t have Via, many students would be apprehensive to come into the office and might just forget about study abroad. Or they might come in and, because our staff is limited, only get superficial answers. But with Via, the first thing we ask is, ‘Did you create a profile?’ If they didn’t, we direct them to Via and ask them to explore programs and then come back with any questions.”
Teaching in Kuwait
Roger began his education career as a K-12 teacher in his native Kansas. Through a program at his school, he planned to teach for two years in Kuwait in the Persian Gulf and then return to his old teaching job. Instead, he stayed in Kuwait for eight years and moved from the classroom into administration.
When Roger came back to the states, he finished his doctorate at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He worked for a nonprofit for a couple of years, finding leaders for international schools, and has worked off and on in International Education for the past 20 years. Before coming to Saint Martin’s, he oversaw study abroad at Kutztown, where faculty-led study abroad programs were especially strong. He looks forward to building up those types of programs at Saint Martin’s.
No matter how the office evolves, Roger knows he can count on Via. Resources, like Via’s Knowledge Base, have been “invaluable,” he says. And when he can’t figure something out, Roger knows he can reach out to Via directly for support.
“The Via team is awesome,” Roger says. “Great response time.”
Like Roger Douglas, ED.D, at Saint Martin’s University, Via believes global experiences will change our world. That’s why we created traveler relationship management and travel risk management software, which helps universities and study abroad program providers to empower global experiences. If you want a true education abroad partner, turn to Via.