Founded in 1975, in a collaborative effort by Murray State University, Western Kentucky University, and Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) now includes 25+ member institutions. With the benevolent support of its Sponsoring Institution, Western Kentucky University, KIIS is a nonprofit faculty-led study abroad consortium (incorporated as a nonprofit corporation) of colleges and universities in Kentucky and surrounding states. KIIS founding members include Dr. Milton Grimes of Murray State, Dr. Thomas Baldwin of WKU and Dr. Jacqueline Cross of EKU, with Dr. Grimes serving as KIIS Executive Director from 1975 – 2007. Dr. Chris Bierwirth served as Executive Director from 2007-2014. Dr. John Dizgun has served as KIIS Executive Director since 2015.
KIIS is dedicated to providing exceptional— and affordable— international education programs for students from diverse backgrounds. We believe study abroad should be an integral part of any degree program, regardless of academic discipline, and should prepare students to be globally competent upon graduation. KIIS study abroad programs help students synthesize and analyze information in a foreign cultural setting, enhance written and verbal communication skills, understand contemporary global challenges, and develop a heightened sense of confidence and leadership. KIIS welcomes students from any academic institution in the United States to participate in its study abroad programs.
KIIS operates Winter, Summer, and Semester programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and Middle East. Academic disciplines include, but are not limited to:
- Art & Design
- Criminology / Criminal Justice
- Culinary & Culture
- Fashion Design & Merchandising
- Film Studies
- Foreign Languages
- Leadership Studies
- Legal Studies
- [New] Media
- Political Science
- Public Health
- Social Work
- Urban Planning & Branding
While most KIIS courses abroad are taught in English, we enthusiastically support the study of foreign languages too. KIIS welcomes consortium faculty from all academic disciplines to teach abroad on our programs.
In large part, the success of KIIS as an academic organization, and our ability to make our programs affordable, is due to the commitment of faculty and professional staff from KIIS Member Institutions. These dedicated people have been willing to create international opportunities for their students, and share with them the excitement and intellectual stimulation these experiences offer. It is to these faculty members, many of them Program Directors, and KIIS Campus Representatives that we owe a debt of gratitude for creating, shaping, and leading KIIS to where it is today.
We must recognize that without the backing of KIIS’s sponsoring institution, Western Kentucky University, our ability to provide these opportunities would be impossible. WKU has demonstrated tremendous support of KIIS, including the assistance of countless individuals and units on campus. All of us at KIIS extend a heartfelt thanks to WKU for its significant contribution to our mission, and are committed to furthering WKU’s guiding principle of International Reach, at home and abroad.
KIIS does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all our students, faculty, professional staff, Board members, member institutions, and vendors. KIIS is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take positive action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“We believe study abroad should be an integral part of any degree program, regardless of academic discipline, and should prepare students to be globally competent upon graduation.”
– KIIS Study Abroad