IIE Networker - Spring 2008 - (Page 34)

Knowledge Network Campus View By C. Eugene Allen Initiating an International Recruitment Program at a Large Research University The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMTC), one of the largest campuses in the United States with almost 51,000 students, was facing a steep decline in international undergraduates. International freshmen decreased by almost 50 percent between fall 2001 and 2004. In 2005, international undergraduates represented only about 1.7 percent of the undergraduate student body – about half the average of other Big 10 institutions. Decreases in new international students and the low percentage of international undergraduates were attributed to 9/11, non-resident tuition increases of 30 percent over three years, growing global competition for international students, the loss of an ESL program and lack of a recruiting program. As a result, in 2005, UMTC set a goal that international students would make up 5 percent of its undergraduate student body in a decade and made a recurring budget commitment of $100,000 for an undergraduate recruitment program. (The re-establishment of an ESL program and a new lower tuition structure would come later.) Starting out with no previous history of international recruitment, no staff assigned to the project and a small budget, the university brought together an ad hoc team from across the campus to draft a strategic plan and make a commitment to work together. After three years, the university is seeing results in a variety of areas ranging from wider name recognition abroad to more students on campus. The following is an overview of these recruitment-related activities, the lessons learned, and the outcomes. Beijing International Education Expo in August 2004. A delegation of 11 people, including the Senior Vice President, who is responsible for international programs, represented the University of Minnesota. The experiences at this first fair were educational and helped establish an agenda for future recruitment initiatives. Following the Beijing Expo, the Associate Vice President for International Programs called together a UMTC Recruitment Committee, consisting of a dozen colleagues from Admissions, International Student & Scholar Services, ESL program, Office of International Programs and the Graduate School. Most of the committee members have been involved in numerous recruitment visits to other countries and others have done embassy visits in Washington, D.C. Here are their recommendations based on lessons learned: • Recruitment Committee – Establish a diverse working group interested in international student issues. Members must be willing to devote time to planning, communications, and in-country recruiting, and then give leadership to change in their units. The UMTC committee typically meets two to three times per semester to plan activities, identify needs and solutions, hear and respond to reports and feedback on recruitment trips, and share relevant news and developments. • Consultations – Consult with people from other institutions who have experience in recruiting international students. Input from colleagues with mature recruitment efforts, such as SUNY-Buffalo and Purdue University, significantly helped the formation of UMTC’s recruitment program. In addition, it was helpful to participate in Dean Tsantir, from the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota, talks about the University’s programs at an education fair in India. Recruitment Initiatives & Lessons Learned The first centrally coordinated UMTC international recruitment effort was at the organized recruitment tours abroad, taking advantage of the advice from experienced professionals. • Student Feedback – Gather information from small group discussions or targeted surveys of international students regarding their selection of your university and their experiences on campus. Examples of useful feedback at UMTC included: a) the critical importance of websites, b) the need for basic brochures translated into native languages for targeted areas, and c) the important role of international student communication networks, parents, and agents in student decision-making. • Strategic Plan – Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the major issues, targeted recruitment areas, budget, and staffing. The plan should include a goal for the proportion of international undergraduates in the student body and will be helpful not only in implementing initiatives but in justifying future budget requests. It is important to note that it typically takes two to three years before there are any noticeable enrollment increases – therefore, it is necessary to make repeated visits to the same place and not give up too soon. • Senior Leadership & Budget – Involve one or more senior administrators in initial recruitment visits so they can see what takes place and understand the demanding nature of international student recruitment. Support from leadership can be helpful in establishing goals and recurring budgets for a comprehensive, longterm international recruitment program. • Campus Services – Review the services for international students that are or should be provided on campus, such as orientation, health care and insurance, housing and food, ESL, visa services, and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2008

IIE Networker - Spring 2008
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
Best Practices in International Education: 2008 Andrew Heiskell Awards
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series A Conversation with President M. W. Scogggins, Colorado School of Mines
Measuring Return on Investment in International Student Recruitment
Making Partnerships Work
Campus View
Latin America
International Students
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Spring 2008