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Director of Study Abroad Shelley Jewell reflects on time at Belmont

After four years, Director of Study Abroad Shelley Jewell is ending her term and leaving the office.

Jewell’s departure from Belmont comes after her husband accepted a vice presidency at the University of Wyoming. The two of them decided to move in order to make it easier, and the decision wasn’t an easy one for Jewell.

“If he hadn’t gotten the position, I would be more than happy to stay,” Jewell said. “I think the tricky part was, you know, I love my job here, and I really enjoyed it. That was a big factor in our decision. Would I be okay with leaving? Ultimately, we decided ‘yes’ because he travels four days a week already.”

In her time here at Belmont, Jewell saw the department grow tremendously. Many more departments now have a hold in the study abroad department and offer trips for most majors offered at Belmont.

“When I got here, we offered 12 of our own faculty-led programs and worked with maybe 20 or so faculty members. Really, my four years here kind of has been waving the flag of how important study abroad is,” Jewell said. “It was really outreach work. I would say this campus was so receptive to that. It was so exciting to me to see the support that was there for study abroad.”

It’s not just the administrative side of things that Jewell got involved in. One of the accomplishments she’s the most proud of is her outreach to students across campus. One of those students is senior Lily Scott, a student who has traveled abroad twice – both times to Spain.

“The study abroad program was one of the reasons I chose Belmont. Shelley has encouraged me in my study abroad experiences and advised me on various programs abroad,” said Scott. “I am absolutely heartbroken that Shelley is leaving but so excited for what is ahead for her and her sweet family.”

But Jewell isn’t pulling away from the university entirely. She will be working in a consultant role, and Mimi Barnard, the associate provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education, will become more involved in the department on a day-to-day basis.

“We’re a very small office, so it’s hard to have one person down. The two others in the office do such wonderful work, so I feel bad leaving them,” Jewell said. “I will continue to work in a consulting-type role to have a bit of continuity. They’ll do a search for the position and hire someone, but in the interim there won’t be an acting director.”

Other than helping at Belmont, Jewell plans to start a doctoral program at the University of Wyoming and, possibly, work in the university’s international department.

“I think higher ed is where I belong, in some way, shape or form,” she said. “I don’t think I will stray too far from study abroad. That’s my hope.”

A reception for Jewell is planned for Nov. 15 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Office of Study Abroad in the Janet Ayers Academic Center.

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