When international students travel to the United States to learn English, the language barrier is just one of their challenges. Cultural differences like being overwhelmed in the grocery store, being embarrassed about not tipping a server (there is no tipping…
Council Develops Survey for International Students
Syracuse University’s Internationalization Council has developed an online survey for all undergraduate and graduate international students to solicit feedback on their experiences, perceptions and interactions with the University prior to and throughout their academic career here.
Mehrzad Boroujerdi, who co-chairs the Internationalization Council with Margaret Himley, says he believes this is the first such survey of international students ever conducted at the University. “Fostering a truly integrated international community of scholars was one of the priorities that emerged from the Academic Strategic Planning process,” says Boroujerdi, professor and chair of political science at the Maxwell School and Provost Faculty Fellow for Internationalization. “The council is charged with leading that effort, but it is absolutely essential that we hear from the students themselves, who come here from all over the world and who have very distinctive stories to tell about their Syracuse experience. This survey will provide valuable data on what kind of a job we are doing to attract and retain these students and support their academic success, and how we can do even better.”
Co-chair Himley, associate provost for international education and engagement, says the University’s international student body has long been a valued part of the social and academic life of the campus. She says the council wants to address the concerns it has heard from international students, and to understand more fully and broadly the issues they face here. “The council has representation from students, faculty and staff from across the University,” Himley says. “And we all share a commitment to our international community of scholars and want to do all we can to integrate them fully into University life, supporting them from recruitment through graduation.”
The survey builds on the feedback from an international student forum hosted by the Internationalization Council on Feb. 28. At that forum, about two dozen international students shared their experiences on a wide range of topics, including University recruitment efforts in their home country, international student orientation, housing and safety issues, and inclusion, among many others.
The Internationalization Council, appointed by Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly last October, met regularly through the fall and has been meeting biweekly through the spring semester. It has identified three priority areas for this first year:
- Define what an exemplary international student experience looks like at the undergraduate and graduate levels
- Collaborate with Peter Vanable, associate provost for graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School, on recruiting international students
- Recommend specific resources and support to foster a truly outstanding student experience and integrate international students more fully into the academic and social life of the University
The council also is looking at best practices among institutional peers regarding safety, integration of international and domestic students, and other protocols regarding international students.
For more information on the Internationalization Council, its membership and activities, go to its website here.