In the 2013-2014 academic year, over 886,000 international students attended 2,500 colleges and universities across the United States, according to the 2014 Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Open Doors Report. Since 2000, IIE reports a 72% increase in international students in the United States. These students can be described as ambassadors bridging the U.S. with other countries, as world citizens bringing global perspectives into classrooms, and innovators infusing new ideas into the science and math industries in the U.S (Hser, 2005; Luo & Jamieson-Drake, 2013). These students have distinct needs that do not fit the traditional college student’s profile. The relationship between international students and the role of university career services is a growing point of interest as the number of international students continues to increase at U.S. colleges and universities.
It is with this in mind that the NCDA Award for Service to International Students was introduced in 2014 “to recognize college and university career services offices that have made an active commitment to partnering with and supporting the career development of international students.” Looking back at the 2014 and 2015 winners, NCDA has recognized two exemplars in this area, Purdue University and Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Both institutions have developed dynamic programming to better serve the international student population on their campuses.
Purdue University: Global Connections Initiative
Launched in 2014, the Global Connections Initiative at Purdue University focuses on international student career readiness and employer engagement. Program initiatives include a peer career coaching model and the Mandarin-English career fair. A pinnacle of this program is Purdue Pathways, which provides international students with legal assistance in the H-1B visa process. New this year is the Global Maker career fair, which connects talented and qualified students who have foreign language fluency with both internships and full-time employment in multi-national organizations. This career fair is a unique event for organizations that are seeking to hire globally competent students with foreign language fluency for their U.S. and international operations. According to Cher Yazvac, Associate Director for Career Development, this type of event was needed as “more and more U.S. companies are looking to hire international graduates for home country opportunities.”
Indiana University Kelley School of Business: Immigration Bridge™ Program
A highlight of Indiana University School of Business is a career services team dedicated to both graduate and undergraduate international students. A premier example of their customized approach to international student career services is the Immigration Bridge™ Program, which brings together international students and recruiting firms with a top immigration lawyer in order to ease navigation through the H-1B visa application process. Newly developed programs include the Global Career Association led by Kelley international students, which includes a database of both domestic and global career opportunities built through connections with Indiana University and Kelley alumni. Also new is the International Career Fair, with a specific focus on Indiana-based employment opportunities for international students.
Focus on H-1B Visa Advising
One initiative both of these institutions have in common is their programmatic approach to advising and navigating students through the H-1B visa process, a topic which can be intimidating for career services to tackle. Schools like Purdue University and Indiana University are embracing this topic by working directly with international students, hiring companies and law firms. The universities’ role is to make introductions and assist in a streamlined process. Employers are responsible to pay all legal fees including federal filing costs. International students are advised that while the purpose of these programs is to facilitate the hiring process by removing obstacles, there is no guarantee of sponsorship.
The benefits affect all involved. The universities have received strong accolades from both international students and employers for creating these unique programs. The international students receive guidance and support that could lead to employment in the U.S. and the employers are better positioned to hire and gain the global perspectives they need to stay competitive. Paul Binder, associate director of graduate career services at the Kelley School, said the program is designed to help students who have a solid prospect for a job in the United States with employers who are hesitant to go through the visa application process. “A lot of them will say to our students, 'I'm sorry. You're a great candidate, but we don't hire internationals' … Employers often think it is cumbersome,” Binder said. ”With this program, that barrier is mitigated if they truly want to hire an international student.”
2015-2016 NCDA Awards
The above is just one example of an NCDA Award and two terrific winners! Don’t miss the opportunity to nominate your colleagues, your office or yourself for one of the many NCDA awards. From Outstanding Practitioner to Diversity Initiatives to Exemplary Career Center and more, there is something to capture the many wonderful ways in which we provide career development for the students and clients we serve.
For more information, visit the Awards section of the NCDA website. Award nominations are due January 31st.
Hser, M. P. (2005). Campus internationalization: A study of American universities' internationalization efforts. International Education, 35(1), 35.
Institute of International Education. (2014). Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors
Luo, J., & Jamieson-Drake, D. (2013). Examining the educational benefits of interacting with international students. Journal of International Students, 3(2), 85-101.
Sheri Young is a member of the NCDA Awards Committee and the dean of Experiential Education & Career Services at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. Sheri has worked for the university for the past 21 years, spending the first half of her career recruiting international students for JWU in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She joined EE&CS as director in 2005 and became dean in 2014. Sheri has a Master’s degree from JWU and is pursuing a doctorate at Northeastern University. She is a founding member and the past president of the Rhode Island Career Development Association and may be contacted at email@example.com and 401-598-1872.