The International Education Alliance (IEA) was formed as a result of Jodi Simek’s efforts following a restructuring of the Center for Global Education. Through IEA, faculty and staff can participate in the International Education Alliance Workshop Series (IEAWS) - a 5-week series of one-hour sessions to raise awareness about the various facets & challenges of the international students/scholar lifecycle. Though the program is in the first year, over 70 attendees have participated, including eight certificate awardees - primarily faculty.
The IEA fosters an environment where cross-campus relationships can be nurtured as a tool for enhancing the quality of support for international degree-seeking and exchange students. Matt Aschenbrener, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Retention, has “seen the growth of strong relationships with key campus stakeholders to advance the international student experience. The course objectives for the IEAW empower and “incentivize faculty/staff across campus to learn how they can support international students in a seamless progression from inquiry to alumni.” Increasingly, the certificate is recognized as a component of meritorious performance for faculty, self-motivated groups are applying for funding for projects to promote international education success, and international students can seek out support, guidance, and advice from university officials who have a personal interest in international student success
The workshop series has been most successful in educating “faculty and staff so that they could recognize areas of student and immigration concern while being empowered to contact the international office when related questions emerged.” Following the sessions in Fall 2019, questions from faculty and academic advisors about employment authorization, reduced course load, academic progress, etc. have risen dramatically. Participants in Spring 2020 will have an opportunity to learn about academic assessment and grading in foreign educational systems, which “will be very helpful for faculty to understand the grading structure for international students and to help those students successfully transition to a US system.”
Engagement with faculty and staff (academic & non-academic) greatly influences international student adjustment because they determine how students experience the institution. Jodi Simek, PDSO and her efforts to spearhead a strategic approach to addressing institutional gaps surrounding international student services at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater embody the spirit of the IELTS USA Best Practices in International Enrollment Management award, and we are proud to announce the International Education Alliance (IEA) & International Education Alliance Workshop Series (IEAWS) as honorable mentions for the award.
IELTS USA provides English language assessment literacy to support strategic international enrollment management initiatives that link admissions and recruitment practices to institutional support programs. We are eager to celebrate the unique way you are leading international student success at your institution, contact Bolu Oluwadiya to share your details.