SP4.6: Promote International Student Success, Retention, and Cultural Integration Through Outstanding Programs and Services
Academic success, social adjustment and cultural integration are components of a premier education for international students; a strong international student experience is likely to promote learning for domestic students through their interaction with international students. These outcomes require strong advising, support services and programming on campus. To date, three new professional staff and one new support staff position have been filled in the International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS). New service enhancements include a pre-arrival e-mail series addressing nine (9) topics that was circulated to Fall 2013 admits; a new international student housing website and enhanced immigration advising support both on-line and on a walk-in basis. During the remaining portion of the 2013-2014 academic year, the team working on this project will gather information and data to better understand international student success and the barriers to it.
Goals Advanced (based on general description of project goals):
SP2 (1)- Provide a dynamic and transformative learning community
(3)- Binghamton University Students are prepared for Careers
SP3 (1)- Increase diversity of ugrad and grad student population
(2)-Promote Diversity among faculty, staff, and university administration
(3)- Increase support Services to students/faculty/staff with special needs
(4)- Increase diversity and inclusiveness
SP4 (1)- Enhancing the University’s economic impact on local community
(2)- Enhancing the University’s social impact on the local community
(3)- Enhancing the University’s cultural impact on the local community
(4 & 5)- Enhancing the University’s social and cultural impact on the global community
SP5 (1)- Acquire and manage resources effectively and efficiently
Goals Advanced (based on identified leading and lagging Indicators):
SP4 (4 & 5)- Enhancing the University’s social and cultural impact on the global community
When will success be realized:
Binghamton University’s overarching goal is for every international student to have productive, positive and highly successful experiences at Binghamton. We expect that there will be growth in the number of international students, we aspire to have increasing quality of students, and we look to this investment of effort to helping Binghamton achieve a reputation as a destination of choice for higher education in the U.S.
Specific measures of academic success among international students will include improvement in retention, monitoring of time to degree, monitoring of grade point averages, reducing probations and suspensions, tracking the number of students who use academic advising services, evaluating the advising experience of the students, improving faculty satisfaction with the support they see the students receive, and seeking improvements in graduate school and job.
Improvements in the metrics just listed will be based on the combined efforts of international student recruitment and the quality of student we can attract, the services of the Office of International Student and Scholars Services, the academic advising program to be initiated as described below, the development of the ESL program, and involvement of the Center for Teaching and Learning. We will rely in particular on Institutional Research and the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development the statistical tracking of the metrics. The first effort is aimed primarily at undergraduate students but will be followed by a needs assessment of what institutional interventions would improve academic success among graduate students.
For 2014-2015 success has been realized by:
- The addition of 4 positions within the ISSS (Front Desk Professional; International Student Advisor; ISSS Housing & Communications Coordinator; and ISSSS Programming Coordinator) and the successful integration of these positions within the ISSS team as a whole
- Providing expanded advising, enriched intercultural programming and enhanced support services to higher volumes of newly admitted and continuously enrolled students, as well as a growing population of visiting international scholars (professors and researchers)
- Working collaboratively with International Admissions, ESL, Academic Advising, the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, and the center for Teaching and Learning, among other offices and departments throughout Student and Academic Affairs, and university wide student groups
- Successful hiring of two academic advisors for international student advising in Harpur College
- Establishment of an initial outreach and advising program for international students
- Determination of how the Harpur initiative can be helpful to the other schools with undergraduate international students
- Establishment of a standing committee that will identify best practices we can emulate, refine the metrics we will use to track our success, and determine the cross-campus coordination that will produce the best results.
Milestones since the last progress report:
- In 2014-2015, it was documented that 11,880 students and scholars checked-in at the ISSS for advising and support services, largely due to the move form “Appointment only” advising to “walk-in” advising. This is in additional to advising provided over the phone and via email; immigration document creation/updates for new and continuing students and scholars, and federal reporting requirements, and advising services provided to University faculty and staff.
- The ISSS partnered with the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Assistant Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and various offices across campus (Student Records; Student Accounts; Institutional Research; Academic Advising Offices; Admissions, etc…) focusing on the topic of retention and student success on multiple endeavors in 2014-2015. It is reported that this partnership resulted in a more clearly defined idea of why international students leave, and where improvements/adjustments can be made. Focus will continue to be made on Retention and Student Success in the years to come, though exact initiatives are yet to be identified
- The ISSS worked with ESL to promote a winter-break ESL course; as well as a mid-semester 2-credit ESL course for students who need additional support.
- ISSS and Harpur Academic Advising have formed an “Academic Support Team” that works together to identify international students who are struggling academically based on the mid-semester evaluation process.
- Expansion of pre-arrival email series to newly admitted students on relevant topics related to applying for a visa/student success/life at Binghamton.
- Expansion of faculty/staff training sessions (two hour workshops offered through the Center for Training and Development, given by ISSS staff) providing an overview on basic immigration regulations and intercultural communication guidance.
- Utilized scanfobs to track attendance at all student and scholar events to effectively gather measureable data for future use and assess program success.
- Significant increase in intercultural programs offered by the ISSS, as well as in collaboration with other academic departments and offices across campus and divisions, with a focus on engaging international and domestic participants.
- Two academic advisors were hired in Harpur College in 2014-2015, whose principal responsibility is to develop and implement a comprehensive international student academic advising program in Harpur.