International Educator - July/August 2015 - 50

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INTERNATIONAL ENROLLMENT
By Karen Doss Bowman

Managing Strategic Risk in
International Enrollment Management
THE ASSAULT of a Michigan State University student from China at an off-campus karaoke
bar in January 2015-at the hands of another student from China-garnered significant media
attention in and around East Lansing. The sensationalized stories focused on the prosecution's
charge that the alleged perpetrators were members of a Chinese gang on campus that was targeting Asian students. The extensive media coverage presented a strategic risk, worrying Michigan
State administrators that concerned parents in China would doubt the campus' safety and decline
to send their children to the university.

Experts say
international
enrollment
management
professionals
must be
aware of the
risks they
face and
develop
strategies
to mitigate
those
potential
pitfalls.

50  

"We took action," says Patty Croom, associate director
for international admissions. "We wanted to understand
whether and how this publicity was picked up overseas,
particularly in China. A small group of administrators met
to discuss what we were hearing and to make sure our
offices had consistent information."
Of the more than 4,000 Chinese students enrolled at
Michigan State, this incident involved just a very small
group, Croom says. Still, campus administrators-after
consulting some Chinese student leaders-decided it was
imperative for representatives of the university to travel to
China this year, as they had in years past, to meet parents
and admitted students face-to-face. The Office of Admissions sponsored events for admitted students in April,
and the Office for International Students and Scholars,
partnering with the Office of Residential Education and
Housing Services, hosted predeparture programs in June.
These personal visits covered a variety of issues, including
campus safety.
"Despite potential budget concerns, we decided to
make sure our staff made personal visits to China," says
Croom. "We felt it was important to reassure parents and
families that Michigan State is a safe campus, and address
any concerns they might have as a result of these news
and social media reports. Risk management is an ongoing
process. You don't always know if this kind of incident will
impact you, but you have to be constantly watching and
scanning the environment."
In the aftermath of the situation described above,
Croom and her colleagues were trying to manage strategic
risks that could have serious implications for the univer-

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR J U LY + AU G .15

sity financially and otherwise. Managing risk has become
more critical in recent years as colleges and universities
have boosted efforts to recruit international students.
These days, international students often account for a significant portion of an institution's bottom line. Experts say
international enrollment management professionals must
be aware of the risks they face and develop strategies to
mitigate those potential pitfalls.
"Increasing international recruitment and retention
is mission-critical to our institutions," says Pamela Barrett, CEO of Barton Carlyle, an international education
consulting firm. "Lots of people are aware of the dangers
and difficulties inherent in what we do as far as recruiting
international students, but few actually have a proactive
program to manage and mitigate those risks. The scope for
getting it wrong and having a serious, problematic impact
on the rest of the institution is greater than it's ever been."

What Is Strategic Risk?
While the word "risk" often brings to mind catastrophic events, the concept "strategic risk" lies outside of the
context of insurance or mitigating tragedies, Barrett says.
Instead, strategic risk addresses the anticipated challenges
that may arise out of the complex issues that international
enrollment management professionals face on a daily basis.
Barrett defines strategic risk as "any substantive risk
which is an existential threat to either the international
programs at an institution, or the institution as a whole."
"Those are the big, deep, dark strategic risks that speak
to your ability to map out a proper strategy for what you're
doing in the international market. These can be a range



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2015

Degrees Without Borders
The Right Prescription for Internationalization
InBrief
Global Spotlight
Education Abroad
International Enrollment
View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 1
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2015 - InBrief
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 8
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 9
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 15
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Global Spotlight
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 18
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Degrees Without Borders
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 22
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 24
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 32
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2015 - The Right Prescription for Internationalization
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 38
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 46
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 48
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2015 - International Enrollment
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 52
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2015 - View From Out Here
International Educator - July/August 2015 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2015 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2015 - Cover4
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