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Archive for the ‘NAFSA’ Category

Last week, NAFSA published a Trends & Insights essay, Welcome to the Era of “Global Competition 2.0,” which described how rankings drive intense competition between research universities pursuing a global institutional model. The authors described several common features of these institutions, including global mission, research intensity, and worldwide recruitment. They also noted that “many strive toward [such] characteristics . . . regardless of the alignment between these features and their original missions (for example, providing quality teaching or service to local populations.)”

That same week, Times Higher Education announced its 2016 list of the most international universities in the world. Such lists always produce the usual range of pride and consternation. While I know the rankings are based on very specific published criteria, in this case, the proportions of international staff, international students, and research papers co-authored by scholars from different countries, they always leave me dissatisfied. Do such criteria truly reflect the values of internationalization?

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Edited by Ellen Badger

Welcome to the first edition of Advice From the Field, a new monthly online column that offers trusted career and professional development advice for international education professionals at all levels. Informed by NAFSA’s Phase II Member Interest Group, each column will explore real questions from NAFSA members in the field looking to further their personal and professional development.

Q. I often hear about opportunities for working in NAFSA in various leadership areas or in general as volunteers. Does such involvement lead to greater professional development and institutional recognition? What are the time demands? I’m hoping for some ideas that I can use in making the case for myself with my institution.

A. Gary Althen, Retired, University of Iowa, NAFSA Life Member

NAFSA leaders and volunteers have opportunities not often available at their place of employment to learn and practice skills such as: organizing projects; motivating people; appreciating alternative perspectives; conducting meetings; participating effectively in meetings; networking; public speaking; using technology; teaching and training; and writing. NAFSA leaders and volunteers can become personally acquainted with knowledgeable and experienced professional colleagues, key government-agency personnel, and staff in relevant international education organizations. They can get ideas from other schools or organizations concerning programs and ways of doing business and then use those ideas in their own operations.

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that questioned whether everyone in a state’s congressional district has a right to representation, or if only eligible voters in that district do. Following the civil rights struggle for equal representation, and up until now, the principle of “one person one vote” has been understood to mean everyone in a district—including children and immigrants –is entitled to the representation by that district’s elected officials. Districts are thus determined on the basis of population, with the goal being roughly equal numbers of people within each district.

The challengers in Evenwel v. Abbott question that premise and argue that instead, only eligible voters should count when creating voting districts. This raises important questions about what kind of democracy we want to be: one that represents all people equally, or only those who register to vote (keeping in mind that huge percentages of citizens never register to vote). It is antithetical to our goal of creating a more welcoming United States to tell residents of a district, including children, immigrants who are here legally, aspiring Americans, and others that elected officials do not represent them. If we value the contributions of those who are not eligible to vote in our schools, colleges and universities, our homes and our workplaces, we cannot discount them when it comes time to be represented in our State Houses.

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End of Year Campaign

By Fanta Aw

Last week, we blogged about the importance of NAFSA’s Diversity Impact Program. Today, I want to reinforce that message.

We know that tribal colleges and universities; historically black colleges and universities; Hispanic-serving institutions; and community colleges and associates’ colleges are underrepresented in international education. Often representatives of these organizations find it difficult to get the training, networking opportunities, and resources they need to build or grow their international programs.

This is where the Diversity Impact Program plays such an important role. We live in a time when access to global education is key to student success. The Diversity Impact Program allows the outstanding individuals at these institutions to receive peer-to-peer support with the ultimate goal of expanding capacity, increasing student exchange, and improving students’ global competencies. Let’s join together and support this important program.

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The January issue of the journal Teaching Theology & Religion aligns the topic of study abroad with the discipline of religious studies. There are many interesting essays in the collection, including one by Elijah Siegler which explores the ways in which the framing of research in the discipline of religious studies can help mitigate some of the problematic aspects of study abroad. In “Working through the Problems of Study Abroad Using the Methodologies of Religious Studies,” Siegler incorporates vignettes of students’—and his own—experiences and reflections to demonstrate how issues such as the essentialization of the “other” and the colonialist baggage of study abroad can be examined through approaches used in the academic study of religion. The four applicable approaches that he identifies include: (1) a move from the study of text to the study of “the embodied” place, (2) a move from looking at religion as something “timeless” to something historical, (3) a move away from looking for something “authentic” in religion (i.e., rather than searching for the beliefs, artifacts, rituals, behaviors, etc. that could be identified as the pristine version of the religion, current trends in religious studies question the notion that such elements of religion exist), and (4) a move toward self-reflection. Siegler suggests that all of these approaches can help students as they make sense of their experiences abroad. Siegler shows how these techniques can be applied to international education through the use of examples from a study abroad trip he led to China. Along the way, he presents situations that demonstrate student learning and student awareness, as well as offers some guidance to study abroad leaders.

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#GivingTuesday 2015

By Fanta Aw

NAFSA remains an inclusive and diverse association committed to hearing and acting on the many dialogues that are part of our association. Being committed to inclusion and openness requires that we are vigilant about engaging with others and intentional about hearing their voices. That is why I am asking for your support of NAFSA’s Diversity Impact Program through today’s #GivingTuesday online giving campaign.

The NAFSA Diversity Impact Program aims to increase access to our field and profession by underrepresented institutions and, in so doing, broaden the perspective, understanding, and inclusiveness of the NAFSA community. As a member of that broader, welcoming community, I urge you to join me in supporting the Diversity Impact Program through #GivingTuesday, today, December 1.

Celebrate NAFSA on Giving Tuesday with your gift to the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program. Donate Now.

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While campuses were celebrating the best of what international education has to offer during International Education Week, troubling events (and many troubling responses to those events) were dominating the media. Just over a week ago, we witnessed horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut, and last Friday, more tragic deadly attacks took place at a hotel in Mali. Every day, there seems to be breaking news of violence somewhere. As the co-chairs of the 9/11 commission, Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean, wrote in a joint op-ed last week: “Absolute condemnation is the only possible reaction to these abominable attacks by those who embrace the universal values of life and liberty. But faced once again with innocent lives taken by a murderous, radical foe, we must re-examine and re-energize our response.”

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#GivingTuesday is a day to celebrate generosity and to give back. Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, it has grown into a global movement engaging 30,000 organizations worldwide every year. NAFSA participated in the #GivingTuesday movement for the first time in 2014. Our efforts helped contribute to the more than $45 million in donations contributed in a single day last year.

NAFSA is once again asking everyone to join in #GivingTuesday by contributing in support of the NAFSA Diversity Impact Program.

The goal of the Diversity Impact Program is to help foster diversity, both professionally and institutionally, within the field of international education.

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By Kristen Albrecht

What do the NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies™ and kickball have in common? Well, nothing, except for the fact that we had both at the University of Missouri International Center staff retreat this summer.

NAFSA unveiled its competency model at the 2015 Annual Conference & Expo in Boston this year, and our director of international student and scholar services, David Currey, wanted to review the model as a team and discuss how we could utilize the information in our office. Our annual staff retreat seemed like the perfect place for this to happen.

With the time we had for this portion of the retreat, I chose to focus on the competencies specific to the field of international student and scholar services:

  • Contributing to comprehensive internationalization
  • Crisis management
  • Office administration
  • Orientation, retention, and student services programming
  • Student and scholar advising

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Amanda KelsoBy Amanda Kelso

This past July I had the opportunity to attend NAFSA’s Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders in Washington, D.C. Like most full-time administrators, my days are filled with a steady stream of e-mails, meetings, and crises (both big and small), making it a struggle to reflect on and discuss big-picture ideas. The prospect of a two-day retreat with colleagues to focus on and discuss strategy was appealing.

In preparation for the retreat, we were assigned to read four articles in which the authors challenged us to rethink the definitions of “global learners” and “global learning,” a challenge echoed by Neriko Musha Doerr in the retreat’s keynote address. What followed was innovative and inspiring, and completely different from the typical education abroad workshop.

Each participant came to the retreat looking for something different, and as the retreat drew to a close, it was evident that each would leave with equally diverse outcomes. I came away from the retreat with a richer vision of how education abroad fits into the shifting landscape of global higher education, as well as new ideas and pathways to explore to ensure that the global programming in my care meets the needs of 21st century learners. These insights will certainly inform my work at Duke and as a leader in NAFSA’s Education Abroad Knowledge Community.

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