I don’t know how many of you went to the NAFSA National Conference that took place in Washington DC in the last week of May and early June but there was a vibe of excitement in the air! I heard that 8,500 people came to DC and walked the streets, attending sessions, setting up meetings, catching up with old friends, making new friends and enjoyed the many receptions and celebrations that took place.
I know many of our readers and colleagues that engage in outreach with the International Educators of Illinois may not have been able to attend the NAFSA National Conference, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the information that was covered at the conference as well as some recent updates that have been announced in the last few weeks that will be relevant to individuals that advise international students on an F-1 visa:
As always- you are appreciated for the work that you do at your institution, and we recognize the hard work that you’ve had to put in during the last few years as we encountered and overcame personal and professional challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You Matter!
How Identity, Intersectionality, & Unconscious Bias impact our work, our lives, and the world around us
Creating an inclusive workplace and diversifying the field of international education has been an ongoing challenge and conversation. The topics of strengthening diversity efforts are also present throughout the international education annual conferences. Dialogues across networks are constantly taking place, and spaces to discuss potential strategies, tools, and best practices in the field are proactive.
As a Latina professional in the field of International Education, it’s important and meaningful for me to network with other professionals locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Not only am I interested in sharing knowledge and best practices, but it’s also imperative for me to build a sense of community with other colleagues of Latin American ancestry. That connection or experience that I seek in the professional platform is no different from when I was a student navigating college. As a young adult, I sought opportunities for community engagement and identity expression. Effectively, many of us received that guidance from a student affairs multicultural or student college success office. This notion is relatable and translates to the professional setting. As professionals, we want to feel supported and encouraged, but primarily, we want to enhance our experience as Latinos in the workplace.
After some reflection, I have identified a missing piece; a Latinx professional support network for international education professionals. Indeed, this field offers knowledge-based community groups but doesn’t offer ethnic-based communities. Furthermore, If we analyze the main objective of other Latinx professional organizations (in other sectors), there’s a common goal; to raise awareness, create engagement, and empower.
To support Latinx professionals in the field, we need more groups that focus on Latinx identity and professional development. The lack of supportive networks can create internalized narratives that make Latinx professionals believe that we are incapable of being part of those spaces. Additionally, we talk about the importance of retaining diverse talent and the importance of staff representation, and how students need to see people who look like them in the offices that serve them. But what are we doing to address and support this?
Some Institutions/organizations already have professional coalitions or affinity groups that provide spaces for staff to develop opportunities for engagement as it relates to their experiences in their respective organizations or institutions. Within higher education, there are various local, statewide and national organizations dedicated to Latino progress and advancement:
In the Future
Next month, students, professionals, and international educators across the nation will observe National Hispanic Heritage Month. This is celebrated from September 15- October 15. Given the timing and the start of a new academic year, I want to use this opportunity to reach out to Latinx leaders in the field, creative minds, advocates, mentors, and educators that hold the same sentiment. Who is willing to create that space for us? Study abroad advisers like myself and new professionals in the field of international education would find this extremely beneficial. More importantly, this field needs Latinx momentum and a model to serve our current and future international education practitioners.
As we move forward into a post-pandemic era, this might be the right time for Latinx professionals in the field to gather and create a space of belonging and unity. Together we’ll revisit and discuss the lack of underrepresented students studying abroad and how we need to improve and make positive changes. More importantly, we’ll discuss how we can better our hiring practices and how we should retain talent… The Latinx talent in the field of International Education.
Education Abroad Representative
Rep Newsletters: Making the Best of Two Sides of the Same Coin - International Admissions and International Services
International Admission (IA) and International Student Services (ISS), or whatever your institution’s
name for each is, are two sides of the same coin – the international experience and support at an
institution. IA recruits international students and brings them in, then ISS supports the students
throughout their academic journey. Each traditionally operates separately in their assigned roles, but
are there ways they can better collaborate to support their students? Not only is there a key transition
period between when a student is admitted until they become a fully enrolled and attending student,
but there are ways throughout the entire process of admission and enrollment that the two offices can
support each other and collaborate. As an international professional that has worked in both areas
(separately and at the same time), I have been afforded a unique vantage point that has helped me
identify key areas in which they can. The following is anecdotal based on over a decade of experience to
provide my reflections and tips that I hope can help you and your offices at your institution.
First and foremost, have office structures and staffing that meet the needs of your institution and its
goals, and understand the structures you have, the overlap, and the transition period. This is essential to
ensure a comprehensive and actionable workflow for staff and experience for students, and structures
and staffing naturally vary from institution to institution. In some institutions an admission DSO issues all
incoming F-1 and J-1 documents, but in others it’s an ISS DSO. In others it might be a staff member that
reports to both offices – someone that essentially is the transition point for students. Other factors
when setting up your structure and flow are to consider are: which team follows-up regarding next steps
(both academic and status related), which handles arrival and orientation, and who are a student’s
contact points and for what. Knowing, understanding, and enacting the answers to these questions is
essential for smooth operations and transition for the student.
Hosted By: Andie Ingram Eccles
Whether your enrollment is down or at a surplus, non-degree programs can be a strategic tool to spread your institutional mission, generate revenue, build a pipeline, and more. This presentation shares a case study from the University of Chicago’s four-year development on non-degree programs. While this case was developed within enrollment management, non-degree programming can relate to communities of education abroad, teaching and scholarship, and populations of undergraduate and graduate students. Participants will learn key principles of non-degree programs and considerations for implementing them at their own institutions.
Akiko Ota: Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship Rep
International and second language students often face academic culture shock when transitioning into U.S. higher education. This presentation focuses on specific academic struggles facing international and second language students in the context of academic expectations, using popular infographics, East Meets West: An Infographic Portrait by Yang Liu. The participants will receive perspectives of how collectivist cultural norms and academic expectation possibly hinders students’ successful performance and work collaboratively with colleagues on how to use the infographics in their work contexts.
The presenter also provides suggestions for culturally inclusive practices when teaching and assessing students’ writing assignments and faculty training.
As the Education Abroad sphere shifts to overcome and adapt to the current travel restrictions due to COVID-19, there has been a greater emergence of virtual international programming. We have seen this in a variety of ways, including programs for any given term at an international institution virtually for credit, international internship placements for full or part time, and/or internships or classes concurrent with home university course work in order to gain additional credits or experience.
No international educators would deny the importance of Intensive English Program/English support courses to their international students on campus. However, it does not always compute well with higher education upper administration – especially when institutions pursue a business like management model.
IEPs in this still decreasing trend (IIE, 2020) have raised concerns that they may be the next candidates for the chopping block.
In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic and school closures that started in March have increased concerns. Under such pressures and unpredictable circumstances, how are IEPs planning for fall and the future?
Rep Newsletters: Trends in International Admission and Enrollment - The Rise of Corporate Pathway Providers in the State of Illinois
The idea of a pathway program for international students is not a new concept in the state of Illinois, but agreements are evolving and new stakeholders are emerging. Since time immemorial, community colleges and four-year institutions have participated in Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’s), which result in students matriculating into degree programs at four-year institutions after completing language-training and/or academic coursework. Similar models have been employed by four-year institutions and often involve language training before, or in combination with, academic coursework. More recently, some institutions have engaged in agreements with corporate partners to provide off-site language training before students begin academic coursework.
The newest form of pathway program is a bit of a hybrid of these models. Recently, several institutions in Illinois have partnered with corporate pathway providers to share in the recruitment of students, delivery of education, and division of tuition revenue. This model differs greatly from those of the past because corporate partners participate much more in the administrative and academic aspects of the educational experience. In some cases, pathway providers employ their own administrators and faculty members — located on campus — and assist in the development of curriculum.
Generation Z has a vast understanding of the necessary skills to acquire a job. With the increased focus on hands on learning via internships and co-op focused degree programs students are ensuring their academic degrees are not the only point of pride on their resumes. Many students are looking for not just study abroad opportunities but also hands on experience to add to their college careers
What is going on with Intensive English Programs (IEPs)? International Educators who do not work with IEPs may wonder about their current trends in the U.S. Have IEPs been experiencing growth? The answer is, unfortunately, no, for many programs.
Department of Labor (DOL) has developed a new system for requesting prevailing wage determinations via Form ETA 9141 (Application for Prevailing Wage Determination). The Foreign Labor Application Gateway (or FLAG) will replace iCert in an effort to modernize and to improve customer service. You can access FLAG at https://flag.dol.gov and will need a login.gov username and password to enter the site. Any ETA 9141 forms for H-1Bs that were submitted before June 10, 2019 will remain in the iCert system. All new ETA 9141s must be submitted through FLAG. DOL will eventually shut down iCert completely so if you have any prevailing wage determinations in that system that you will need to reference in the future, be sure to print them or save the PDF files as soon as possible. DOL has not yet announced when this will happen, but it is likely to be sometime in the late fall or early winter – after all currently pending determinations have been issued and once all functions of FLAG are active.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.