• Prose and Purpose

    After 25 years on the job, a former provost examines the world on campus and in higher ed.

Title

International Students

I am a tremendous supporter of international students studying on our campuses. When these students ultimately return to their home countries they foster greater international understanding.

January 4, 2015
 
 

I am a tremendous supporter of international students studying on our campuses.  Increased student diversity provides a more cosmopolitan environment and more vantage points on more issues.  International students augment our domestic enrollment.  Many countries around the globe are now sources of substantial numbers of international students.  When these students ultimately return to their home countries they foster greater international understanding.

Sometimes it is our reputation that brings international students to US campuses.  Other times, more international students arrive on campus as a result of a comprehensive enrollment strategy.  When such an effort is made, it is often the work of recruitment professionals.  I, however, believe a greater opportunity exists for faculty and administrators to contribute to international recruiting efforts.

We already know faculty have an important role in recruiting undergraduates as well as domestic graduate students.  Because faculty are at the heart of the educational process, it is natural for students (and their families) to want to meet them.  In recruiting international students, involving faculty is more challenging.  International students usually don’t attend open houses or plan visits to the campus just to talk with members of the faculty.  Often they arrive just before orientation or just before classes begin.

Yet we can do better in weaving the faculty more prominently into the recruitment process. International faculty at Hofstra often return to their home countries.  If they are willing, they could visit with a few local colleges, universities, and high schools during their visits home.  Skype or FaceTime conversations are another option.  It also makes sense to schedule periodic visits for deans, provosts, and faculty to countries that send significant numbers of international students to the United States.  Exchange programs are particularly valuable in that they increase the sophistication of our students studying abroad just as it increases the sophistication of foreign students studying here.

Higher education in the United States is respected around the globe.  For me, the value of international students is the opportunity to broaden our horizons as well as theirs.  We are a global economy, and in many ways a global society, but we need greater understanding and collaboration to reap the benefits.  More and more diverse groups of students being educated together helps foster global collaboration.

 

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

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