Faculty Focus: Taking the Leap

Ben Dunford, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Krannert School of Management
Purdue University

For several years, our Associate Dean for Global Programs encouraged me to lead a study abroad class for our undergraduate business students at Purdue University. The prospect always intrigued me, but I remained hesitant. Given all of my demands, could I really justify the time it would take to launch and execute this? In addition to the typical teaching duties, I envisioned significant administrative responsibilities including planning, logistics, housing and travel accommodations, not to mention solving unexpected student problems in an unfamiliar language and country. Collectively these concerns prevented me accepting the invitation to lead a study abroad class. Then in 2016, I met the team of professionals at Accent. They specialize in the very administrative and logistics support functions that were holding me back. I said “yes”, and in 2017, led my first program in Paris, France.

The Accent team far exceeded my expectations. They substantially reduced the time I would have spent in planning the course by helping to arrange local guest speakers and organizing a number of class excursions that complemented my course material. They helped me find outstanding housing accommodations for my students and my family who accompanied me. The Accent Study Center in Paris is in a terrific location and had all of the amenities we needed to run a class comfortably and efficiently. Accent was even there to arrange for appropriate medical care when one of my students fell ill during our trip. Each member of the Accent staff was professional, knowledgeable, energetic, helpful and fun to work with. My students, my family and I had such a great experience that I said “yes” to going back in 2018. I would not have been able to have this experience without Accent’s help with the time intensive administrative tasks that made me resistant for so many years. Thanks to the Accent team, I foresee study abroad being a key component of my academic career in the years to come.