The Office of International and Border Programs (IBP) is taking on a number of new projects, and undergoing some exciting changes, following the July arrival of the new Associate Provost for International and Border Programs, Dr. Cornell H. Menking. Dr. Menking’s overarching approach is one that begins with a clear vision of the integration of the various components of comprehensive internationalization, while recognizing the important role of developing financial sustainability for the unit. The following are examples of how he is working to carry out that vision.
One of the first things Dr. Menking did was arrange for all English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs to be transitioned to IBP. English for international students, while extremely labor intensive, is a critical part of achieving international student satisfaction and success. ESOL programs are also a vital part of recruiting, as many international students require a bit of ESOL training before being allowed to fully matriculate into the university. ESOL programs can also be a valuable source of revenue to generate funds to reinvest in campus internationalization. For these reasons, the Center for English Language Programs (CELP) is now part of IBP. Formerly known as the Center for the Intensive Teaching of English (CITE) when it was housed in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Communication Studies, CELP will continue serving the needs of the conditionally admitted students requiring intensive English. CELP will also expand its role as it collaborates with other units on campus to improve services for matriculated international students requiring specialized English training, and begins providing TESOL services for what Dr. Menking believes will be the Center’s biggest area of growth — special programs.
One example of a special ESOL program is the recent arrival of 40 Ecuadorian English teachers who have come to NMSU on a special subcontract that is part of a larger contract that Kansas State University has secured with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education. These students, who will be here for seven months, will receive a combination of intensive ESL training provided by CELP, as well as pedagogical training in the teaching of English provided by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. Other cohorts of Ecuadorians are expected over the next couple of years as the Ecuadorian president tries to make good on his commitment to train 3,000 Ecuadorian English teachers to prepare its own country to be economically and educationally competitive on the world stage.
The Ecuadorian program is a pilot that IBP is working to expand. In these projects IBP and the partner college will share not only in the financial benefits resulting from the projects, but also in the increased global engagement that such projects bring to both students and faculty. Revenue from these projects will then be reinvested into internationalization efforts, including a new Targeted International Initiatives Grant (TIIG), which will be unveiled sometime in the Summer of 2013 once monies from the first projects are freed up and available for use. The TIIG, which will be administered by Dr. Menking’s office, will be available for faculty to support any type of international project requiring seed money.
Another change is that the Office of International and Student Scholar Services (ISSS) and its staff, led by Ms. Mary Jaspers, will become part of IBP. ISSS, which will be transitioned out of the Admissions Office in the Spring 2013 semester, oversees all visa services and provides international student support. Part of the rationale behind the change is to better serve international students through combined efforts. The international admissions functions will remain in the admissions office, but international recruiting efforts will be coordinated by IBP. Doing this will allow the ISSS staff to focus on international student support and integrate its efforts into those of other IBP offices, all of which lead to better services and increase the appeal of NMSU to prospective international students. For example, the Office of Education Abroad (OEA) has developed a highly personalized and successful approach to hosting the nearly 200 international exchange students that visit the NMSU campus every year. Combining ISSS and OEA efforts will help ensure that all international students – both degree-seeking and exchange students – are integrated into campus life. Many other initiatives that ISSS is involved in (fairs, festivals, special events, the International Student Association, etc.) will also benefit from the synthesis of efforts.
The Office of Education Abroad continues to grow and expand. First of all, the office was recently renamed to more accurately reflect the multiple ways students can pursue an “education abroad”. The former name, Office of Study Abroad, only reflected the “study” approach. Students can also pursue education abroad by engaging in service and internships abroad. OEA continues to collaborate closely with Aggies Go Global, which is housed in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, but serves the entire campus. Secondly, to facilitate what OEA Director Kristian Chervenock believes is the next big wave of growth in study abroad opportunities, the Faculty Led International Programs (“FLiP”) Office has been established. FLiP offers support for faculty wishing to organize NMSU courses that travel abroad. In the first six months of operation over 17 courses have been slated for the 2013-14 school year, and 20 for 2014-15.
Comprehensive internationalization means that the entire campus and community is engaged in internationalization efforts. Internationalization affects not only NMSU students and NMSU courses, but also the entire community. Over the next year IBP will be hosting new events, both on campus and in the community. You are invited to participate in these new events, such as the International Education Week celebration in the Fall, or the new “Global Encounter Series” which will bring interesting, open-to-the-public, lectures and performances to campus. If you see an international student on campus, reach out, say hello. Whether you are a student, faculty member, staff, or a community member, if you want to get involved please stop by IBP in Garcia Annex and ask how you, too, be part of the fun!