The President’s Cabinet at its recent summer retreat focused on internationalization of West Chester University. The members carefully reviewed and discussed the findings and recommendations from the two reports – International Task Force Report (Fall, 2009) and International Student Task Force Recommended Implementation Plan (February, 2010). The President’s Council, at its annual retreat in summer, addressed internationalization at its major focus area. This group too reviewed the findings and recommendations put forth in the two reports and based on its review offered suggestions for implementation.
Both the President’s Cabinet and the President’s Council complimented the members of the International Education Task Group – Lynn Keiser (Chair), Sylvia Ahramjian, Idna Corbett, Michael Dixon (graduate assistant and graduate student), William Lalicker, Catherine Oberholtzer, Alice Speh, and Babs Winicur – for their excellent work and the quality of their reports.
The President‘s Cabinet considered the suggestions from its own discussion and the President’s Council and arrived at the decisions presented here. The President’s Cabinet endorses several of the recommendations specified in the International Student Task Force Recommended Implementation Plan. For other recommendations, the Cabinet has provided suitable modifications to best serve our internationalization efforts.
I. International Admission and Recruitment Practices
A. Admission Policy Adjustments
A.1. Review current undergraduate admission requirements to allow for more flexibility in the admission process while not lowering admission standards.
A.2. Accept International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores in addition to Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.
A.3. Accept credential evaluations from evaluators approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), in addition to the current WES evaluation.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse A.1., A.2., and A.3.
B.1. Develop a recruitment plan. This should include countries or areas to target for enrollment, a coordinated effort between admission offices and the Center for International Programs.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. In addition, develop enrollment targets for undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate Admissions and Graduate Office to develop and implement strategies to achieve set enrollment targets. Identify potential programs with capacity for additional students and draw international students to them.
B.2. Use recruitment vendors as a last resort.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse.
B.3. Engage faculty and alumni in recruitment.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. Additionally use current students in recruitment.
B.4. Endorse Web Team’s proposed International Marketing Website Plan. Do not translate webpage into multiple languages. Main pages need to have an international presence and be easily accessed by students.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. In addition, faculty and students to assist translation of select main pages into Mandarin and Spanish.
C. Application and Review Process
C.1. Develop a separate online undergraduate application for international students.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. This is a priority to develop and implement.
C.2. Identify a contact person for newly admitted students and arrange for the person to monitor the effectiveness of policies and procedures.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. Moreover, the Center for International Programs should consider what will work better – centralization or decentralization.
II. International Student Services
Lack of services for undergraduate and graduate international students categorized under four areas:
Five issues are considered with four proposed services (includes both undergraduate and graduate students).
Eight issues are considered with seven proposed services (includes both undergraduate and graduate students).
Four issues are considered with seven proposed services (includes both undergraduate and graduate students).
D. Other Student Services
Three issues are considered with three proposed services for all international students.
Cabinet recommendation: For the 17 issues considered and the 18 proposed services start with the most essential under the guidance of Interim Assistant Vice President for International Programs.
Furthermore, recommend the reorganization and revitalization of the Global Development Collaborative (with a new name) with broad representation from those responsible for teaching (faculty) and others offering services such as residence life, off-campus housing, new student orientation, library, financial aid, Center for International Programs, undergraduate studies and support services, graduate education, , undergraduate admissions, the Writing Center, Twardowski Career Placement Center, undergraduate and graduate international student representatives, and community representatives with strong international interests (e.g., Mayor of West Chester) as ad-hoc members.
III. Office Structure
A. Unite all international activity on campus into one central office. Include faculty-led study abroad programs and other study abroad programs, Memoranda of Understanding, Memoranda of Agreement, and Global Development Collaborative (in a newly reconstituted form with a new name) under the Center for International Programs.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. Additionally, require risk and liability management for approval of faculty-led study abroad programs.
Reorganize existing Global Development Collaborative into a new organization (to be named in the near future) with membership that draws upon the strengths of the campus community in areas such as: : I) programs and services for international students; ii) campus cultural events; iii) curriculum; iv) budget,; and v) partnerships/projects with local organizations and international institutions.
Include other functions to the central office. These include: visas, recruitment of students, monitoring for effectiveness of efforts, troubleshooting, community relations, and Fulbright Scholars/visiting faculty/visiting scholars.
B. Create a Director position.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. A full-time management position will begin now for implementing the recommendations and moving forward with our internationalization efforts. Designation of the management position as Assistant Vice President of International Programs is to provide enhanced credibility in dealing with overseas institutions.
C. Expand 1 ½ SUA positions to 2 SUA positions in the Center for International Programs. Assign job functions to the two SUA personnel that best match their professional interest and expertise and cover the functions of the Center for International Programs.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. Also, reassign a staff currently in the Graduate Office to the Center for International Programs on a full-time basis
D. Provide clerical support to carry out Center for International Program functions.
Cabinet recommendation: Endorse. Further discussion will continue at Vice President level about resources to support this new position.
Again, the President’s Cabinet applauds the excellent work done by the members of the International Education Task Group and for the timeliness of their two reports. As is evident from above, the Cabinet has endorsed most of the Task Group’s recommendations. The Cabinet anticipates that the continued guidance and support of the members of the Task Group will serve as a catalyst for further internationalization of our University.