History of Frontiers

The idea to publish a peer-reviewed journal focusing on study abroad was born at Boston University in 1994 when Brian Whalen, then Associate Director of International Programs, proposed the concept to Tim Perkins, then Assistant Vice President for International Programs. They became Executive Editor and Editor respectively of this venture, initially called Odyssey. In the fall of 1994, a group of distinguished international educators came together to support the journal as a vehicle for publishing and disseminating rigorous research and provocative articles that would play a role in shaping the future of the field of international education.

The first volume appeared in fall 1995 under the title, Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, with three volumes appearing between 1995 and 1998. The journal, which was then owned by Boston University, published articles that were both commissioned and unsolicited and set a standard for the type of scholarly and thoughtful writing that would fill the pages of the journal in the future.

In 1998, after leaving Boston University for Marist College in Poughkeepsie, Whalen, with the permission of Boston University, incorporated Frontiers as a 501 (c) (3) and established a consortium of colleges and universities to support the journal.

In late 1999 the editorial seat of Frontiers moved to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when Whalen became Associate Dean and Director of Global Education there. Frontiers continued to flourish and in 2002 became a strategic partner of The Forum on Education Abroad. Thanks to this partnership, all members of The Forum received complimentary subscriptions to Frontiers, one of the first member benefits. 

The Frontiers-Forum collaboration resulted in some excellent initiatives. Quality undergraduate research conducted by students on education abroad programs and selected for The Forum’s Undergraduate Research Award appeared in three Special Issues (2005-08). Frontiers published two volumes that provided the field with the first comprehensive account of U.S. study abroad: A History of U.S. Study Abroad: Beginnings to 1965 by William W. Hoffa, (2007) and A History of U.S. Study Abroad: 1965-Present edited by Stephen C. DePaul and William W. Hoffa (2010).

In 1997 Frontiers began the practice of publishing Special Issues overseen by guest editors.  The focus on specific themes and topics has complemented the regular issues and generated significant, extended examination of key developments in education abroad. These issues were very well received and mark  key developments in the field of education abroad.

In 2013, the Frontiers editorial board made the decision to enter the post-print age. Frontiers became an open access, online journal. In addition to reducing costs, this transformation has the advantage of making the archive and future issues available to all scholars and practitioners.  The peer review process was retained to ensure quality.

In 2015, the Frontiers editorial board agreed to offer ownership of the journal to The Forum. On July 1, 2015, The Forum Board of Directors unanimously accepted the proposal. Since then, Frontiers is owned by and under the full management of The Forum and remains a key resource for international educators. 

Whalen resigned from his position as the journal's Editor in 2018. He was succeeded by Amelia J. Dietrich, Director for Research and Resources at The Forum on Education, who served as Interim Editor to guide the journal through some administrative and structural changes, culminating in the appointment of Audrey J. Murrell, Professor of Business Administration, Psychology, Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, as Editor beginning in September 2020.