SAS is Deeply Committed to Student Success

Our mission, vision, strategy, and core values are rooted in student success and global comparative education. We take pride in our participants’ achievements, spanning back to our first voyage in 1963.


To be the leader in comparative global education.


To educate students with the global understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world. With the world as our classroom, our unique shipboard program integrates multiple-country study, interdisciplinary coursework, and hands-on field experiences for meaningful engagement in the global community.

Strategic Plan: New Horizons through 2014

The work of the Institute for Shipboard Education and Semester at Sea program is guided by a strategic plan, developed every three to five years and approved by the ISE Board of Trustees. The ISE strategic plan focuses the mission and vision of the Institute for Shipboard Education across four goal areas: Educational Quality, Financial Strength, Advancement through Relationships, and Organizational Excellence.

Educational Quality

The student experience remains at the core of ISE’s education mission. The Institute will enhance academic quality in all programs. Semester at Sea and related programs will be known to universities and students as a premier program that attracts the most qualified applicants and an excellent faculty. The shipboard curricular and cocurricular learning environment will excel as an unparalleled living-learning community. By 2014, this level of coordination and integration among courses, co-curricular programs, and the field experience will create an international education model that achieves significant and measurable learning outcomes and builds upon recent research findings about program value and impact.

Advancement through Relationships

By 2014, the Institute will strengthen its comprehensive advancement program and expand its support base with alumni, friends, parents, and corporations. The Advancement program will further the mission of the Institute by garnering support for its initiatives and programs around the globe. Corporations will understand the value a global perspective brings to their workforce, higher education professionals will understand the importance of a comparative global education, alumni will see how they can contribute to the future of the Institute, a growing number of nonprofits and NGO partners will engage with SAS faculty and students, and the world’s foremost leaders in business, politics, education, and human rights will understand the impact Semester at Sea has on developing future leaders. This will result in increased support, greater brand awareness, and opportunities for program enhancement and expansion.

Financial Strength

The Institute will achieve financial sustainability through strategies which result in: greater brand awareness, increased student enrollment, increases in the number of universities who send students on Semester at Sea, continued financial aid support to ensure all students who are qualified can afford to sail, a successful Enrichment Voyage program, increased net revenue, a five-year budget forecast, and the ability to anticipate changes in marketplace demands.

Organizational Excellence

As one of ISE’s core values, organizational excellence will remain a primary focus. ISE will maximize business performance, customer service, and employee satisfaction by ensuring the infrastructure, human resources, and technology necessary for the organization to excel. We will establish a framework of performance metrics to track and evaluate measures of success. Employee creativity, entrepreneurship, responsibility, and satisfaction will be vital to our achievements. The culture and working environment will foster innovation, new ideas, open conversation, and deliberate collaboration. Finally, the Institute will be well regarded for its commitment to safety, customer service, and responsiveness to internal and external

Core Values

We, the Institute for Shipboard Education, place high value on:


Global engagement that educates and connects our students to world challenges.


Academic quality that fosters global awareness through profound international experiences.


Health and safety as the leading priority for all programs and operations.


Commitment to our alumni and friends, with whom we seek to create a lifetime connection.


Integrity and the commitment to uphold the principles of honesty, trust, and respect.


Diversity among people, ideas, and points of view.


Organizational excellence through financial sustainability, continuous learning, teamwork,
innovation, transparent communication, and adaptability.