New Year - Global Goals

John Howe, NASPA IV-W IEKC Representative

January 3, 2018

Happy New Year!

Just a few days ago the dawning of a new calendar year was welcomed with cascading celebrations in time zones throughout the globe. As we make resolutions to improve aspects of personal (and perhaps professional) well-being, I would be remised as your International Education Knowledge Community (IEKC) representative if I did not also encourage growth in the global dimensions to your professional practice as well.

On November 13, 2017, the Institute for International Education released their Open Doors 2017 report. This annual report examines global movements of higher education, including international students and scholars studying at institutions of higher education in the United States as well as domestic students studying abroad. For the 11th year in a row, Open Doors reported an increase in the number of international students studying in the United States. In the 2016-2017 academic year, Witherell (2017) reports 1,078,822 international students sought educational opportunities in the United States, an increase of 3.4 percent. “International students represent just over five percent of the more than 20 million students enrolled in U.S. education for the third year, up from three to four percent earlier in the decade” (Witherell, 2017, p. 3). The Open Doors report also shows that more U.S. students are participating in study abroad programs. In the 2015-2016 academic year, 325,339 domestic students received academic credit through study abroad activities, an increase in 3.8 percent from the previous year (Witherell, 2017, p. 2).

The IEKC serves as a great resource to student affairs professionals during these times of increased global interconnectivity. Many stalwarts in the IEKC community partnered with leaders of IASAS (International Association of Student Affairs & Services) to author Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education. This NASPA-published text examines how student affairs professionals may best support global movements of students. IEKC members have started a blogging initiative summarizing chapters of the book as well. I would encourage you to look at this recent publication and attendant blog posts.

I would also strongly encourage you to register for the International Symposium, a pre-conference held before the NASPA Annual Conference in Philadelphia. This one and a half day meeting allows for the exploration of global challenges and opportunities in student affairs and services with peers from around the world. The International Symposium typically has attendees and presenters from over 20 countries and allows for numerous opportunities to grow not only your global understanding, but also your international network. Through sessions, socials, and shared meals, the International Symposium offers continuous learning opportunities that are often the highlight of the NASPA conference. I look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia!

Witherell, S. (2017). Open Doors 2017 Executive Summary. Retrieved from 

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