International Educator - September/October 2016 - 45

Focus Groups
as a Tool for Assessment

UCLA students enjoying free coffee and tea at World Café. World Café is a quarterly program
provided by the UCLA Dashew Center, which helps students integrate into campus by connecting
with hundreds of other international and domestic students and staff.

UCLA

UCLA students getting ready to leave on a 4-day skiing and snowboarding trip. The UCLA
Dashew Center provides overnight trips each quarter to help international and domestic students
to explore California, as well as create lifelong cross-cultural friendships.

"Assessment is an absolute necessity for
institutions to measure the success of their
initiatives. The assessment results inform
the success and shortfalls of integration efforts, and should be the foundation of any
planning process regarding international
student satisfaction or integration."
Sillner uses discussion groups to ascertain how international students are faring
in the "living and learning communities."
He and his team discovered that by living together, domestic and international
students are encouraged to join campus

activities that they may have not tried in the
past-language clubs, for instance, or the
International Student Union.
Those discussions also made Sillner
realize that by living with U.S. students,
foreigners are less inclined to become
"cliquish" with students from their native
countries.
"We see that when there are large concentrations of students of a particular
national origin," he said. "That's always a
challenge. These 'living and learning' communities are one way to address that."

McClanahan and her colleagues, who are
part of the university's Global Student Engagement Team, assess the integration
of international students in part by using
pre- and post-integration program surveys
and by conducting focus groups. Some issues that have cropped up during those
exercises-and which McClanahan and her
colleagues set out to address-included the
first-year transition, mental health, campus
living, and academic integrity.
For instance, McClanahan leads the
Foundations in Global Engagement (FiGE)
program for first-year undergraduate, graduate, exchange, and transfer students at
Penn State who are interested in engaging
in cultural conversations, meeting a diverse
group of friends, learning more about U.S.
culture, and developing a globally diverse
perspective. On the assessment feedback
she received from the spring 2016 cohort,
McClanahan saw that many students wanted
to learn more about Native American history and culture. As a result, she's planning
for the coming school year a trip in collaboration with Penn State's Interinstitutional
Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge to
a Native American historical site.
"While focus groups and other qualitative research methods may be a bit more
time-consuming to gather and assess, we've
found that they can provide a plethora of
powerful international student stories that
are extremely helpful in shedding light on
the current state of the international student integration successes and shortfalls on
our campus, thus making them worth the
extra time and resources to gather," she said.
Why is this time and effort worth it?
McClanahan says that the successful  integration of international students at an
institution "causes a whole domino effect of
positive things to happen at an institution."
"This integration benefits not only the international students themselves, but also the
domestic students, staff, faculty, and even the
surrounding community," she said. "International students who are successfully integrated
S E P T + O C T.16 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

45  



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - September/October 2016

Frontlines
In Brief
Insights
Collaborating with Africa
Rice University Finds a Natural Partner in Brazil
Virginia Commonwealth University Students Live and Learn Engagement
At Wake Forest University, Intercultural Skills Start with Faculty
Foreign Student Affairs
In Focus
Going Social
Advice from the Field
Using Social Media to Recruit Chinese Students
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Cover1
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Cover2
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 1
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 2
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 3
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Frontlines
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 5
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 6
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 7
International Educator - September/October 2016 - In Brief
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 9
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 10
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 11
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 12
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 13
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 14
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 15
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Insights
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 17
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Collaborating with Africa
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 19
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 20
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 21
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 22
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 23
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 24
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 25
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 26
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 27
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 28
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 29
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 30
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 31
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Rice University Finds a Natural Partner in Brazil
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 33
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 34
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 35
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Virginia Commonwealth University Students Live and Learn Engagement
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 37
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 38
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 39
International Educator - September/October 2016 - At Wake Forest University, Intercultural Skills Start with Faculty
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 41
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 42
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 43
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 45
International Educator - September/October 2016 - In Focus
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 47
International Educator - September/October 2016 - 48
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Cover3
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Cover4
International Educator - September/October 2016 - SCover1
International Educator - September/October 2016 - SCover2
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S1
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Going Social
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S3
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S4
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S5
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Advice from the Field
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S7
International Educator - September/October 2016 - Using Social Media to Recruit Chinese Students
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S9
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S10
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S11
International Educator - September/October 2016 - S12
International Educator - September/October 2016 - SCover3
International Educator - September/October 2016 - SCover4
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