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Webinar 3 (Nov 17, 2016 @ 2 pm CST

ACADEMIC SERVICES: BEST PRACTICES AND GAPS


Guest Speakers:
Dr. Amir Alakaam, University of North Dakota
Mr. Emmanuel Akanwa, Central Michigan University
Dr. Joanna Al-Youssef, The University of Nottingham
Dr. Swathi Ravichandran, Kent State University
Dr. Nara Martirosyan, Sam Houston State University,
Dr. Tara Madden-Dent, Sierra Nevada College
Dr. Shyam Sharma, Stony Brook University (SUNY)
Dr. Uttam Gaulee, Morgan State University

1. What types of academic support services are working well to address the needs and
challenges of international students?

Amir- Used qualitative approach including sociological approaches. First place that
strikes the mind is International Student Office, which is responsible for
supervising the international student community in general. Second, the
counseling center that address the concerns of international students on the thrive
inside the universities. In some universities, there are specially designed programs
for the international students that helps them to share personal experiences. Third,
dining services that impacts students mental health and academic performances.
And, health service center (wasnt discussed much on this one)

Nara- A. Free tutoring


Support in improving English which is considered most important for
international students.
Giving IELTS or TOEFL doesnt always mean students are ready to write
academic papers.in such cases these tutoring helps them to understand the
mechanism and the way papers are written.
Most students appreciate free tutoring
B. Library resources
Interlibrary loan services (student can borrow books, articles and other
copyrighted documents that are expensive to buy and are not necessarily
required forever). This service saves money.

Tara- (have specialty on pre-departure)


Beside the services student get when they are already in campus, what is more
important is what services they can get when they are still in their home country
Providing pre-departure online university preparation that helps
international build confidence that eventually help them get academic
success and increase graduation rate

1
And if there are students form places where it is difficult to have internet
access these preparation classes can be provided to them in collaboration
with partner high schools or some other academic institutions

Joanna- Also gave emphasis to tutoring but in different cases.


Tutoring services which helps students with improving their academic skills,
research skill beside the language improvement can actually help them after their
graduation. And this can go beyond International Student Community

Swathi- During her interview with international students, most of them said they want
honest feedback or critique form their American professors which they dont often
get. Because, according to them, most of their American professors tend to be nice
to them.
Uttam- talked about services that are integrated institutionally

2. What social and curricular resources are missing to assist international students with
transition into the US higher education?

Emmanuel-
1. One-to-one mentoring students need a mentor to whom they can look up to
as a source of guidance
2. Campus-wise promotion/advertisement of International Student Activities
3. Active involvement of international students in on-campus volunteering
activities. Community involvement
(In which Uttam adds involving international students in these activities can help
them to avoid the feeling of exclusion or feeling of being a part of different
community.)

Amir- Teaching and learning services


1. Online course, tests, quizzes, time management etc.
2. Information of food environment in and out of campus

Shyam- A task force that comprise of at least one member from every critical places from
which the international student community must be addressed, to advocate for
international students. This force should be of university level, visible, reachable
to students so that it can be easy to get and send out students message to the
system around the university

Swathi- Domestic students helping international students. Help from the domestic student
is absolute necessity because they contribute to the overall success of
international students in socio-cultural and academic fields

Nara- Sending some teachers to teach in places where the potential students live and
share the experiences so that when the students come to university they see
familiar faces & know who to go to when they get stuck in problems

2
Uttam- Know the strength of international students, know what they are good at and
designing an assignment based on that, and asking domestic student to work
on that collaboratively and give their perspective. It helps in changing the
attitude with which a domestic student sees an international student and
breaks the barriers between them in many levels

[At the end of discussion on this particular question, Shyam added bringing
people together to work on something that doesnt lean towards one
particular direction helps creating understanding. And, many teachers claim
to teach in a transnational class, however they are limited on words. They
actually do not teach transnationally; they do not focus on the students form
all different cultures.]

3. How might the changed political/national climate affect support for this student body,
and what can we do to counter any adverse challenges?

Joanna- We should stop talking about international students as if they are one different
group with their own labels, own needs. Instead, we should talk about students
unit together.

Uttam- There are many stereotypes and misconception about international students
prevailing among Americans such as international students are the reason most of
them are jobless. They do not understand that international students bring
innovation, ideas, and success stories to the table

Amir- Visa regulation; Student- professor & professor-students interactions


Swathi- Assure safety of current international students with the help of resources on and
around campus
Tara- Educate culturebuild a bridge between different cultures

Note Taken by Anup Ghimire, Emerging Scholar