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CIEE Announces New VP Academic Affairs, Maritheresa Frain

Six months ago, CIEE began the search for a new vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) to join our team in Portland. Our search cast a wide net to find a candidate with a unique blend of leadership skills, academic credentials, and expertise in the field of international education. We spoke to many qualified candidates with diverse and interesting backgrounds. In the end, we realized that the perfect VPAA was already part of the CIEE family—Maritheresa Frain, director of our study center in Seville, Spain.

Maritheresa brings strong leadership skills, deep knowledge of both international and higher education and of CIEE, and impressive academic credentials to this role. She truly understands the challenges and the successes found in international education, having been on the frontlines of study abroad since 2000. During this time, she has not simply maintained the quality of our programs, she has built upon and strengthened what it means to take part in a CIEE study abroad program.

Maritheresa’s remarkable achievements in Seville include strengthening the academic quality of our existing programs while developing new summer and semester programs. She led the renovation of a 300-year-old palacio to house our new state-of-the-art study center. Perhaps most importantly, she built a team of resident staff in Seville who deliver the highest-quality international experience to more than 800 students each and every year. The success of CIEE’s programs in Seville is a true testament to Maritheresa’s knowledge, skills, and commitment.

Her dedication to study abroad doesn’t end at CIEE. Maritheresa often presents at international education conferences, such as NAFSA and Forum, on numerous topics, spreading her knowledge and passion to others.

Originally from Philadelphia, she completed her undergraduate work in international politics at the Pennsylvania State University, and earned her master’s degree and doctorate in international relations at Georgetown University. In addition to Seville, she has lived and worked in Greece, Russia, Switzerland, and Portugal. Maritheresa previously worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C., and was a visiting professor at Georgetown.

Drawing on her passion and experience, Maritheresa will be a dynamic, hands-on, and integral member of CIEE’s Study Abroad leadership team. She will work closely with the program management and development groups, our resident staff, and the Academic Consortium Board to have an impact on both CIEE programs and the field at large. In the first year, she’ll work on critical projects focused on CIEE’s approach to intercultural learning and language acquisition, and our commitment to faculty engagement. Maritheresa will also ensure the academic quality of our entire portfolio of study abroad programs.

We look forward to welcoming Maritheresa to Portland on July 1. Until then, she will begin her new duties as VPAA and manage the transition of the Seville study center to our new center director, Jaime Ramírez.