SNHU executives made the decision to dissolve the School of International Engagement (SIE) and integrate its services into other campus departments.
“The services embedded in [the School of International Engagement] are not being eliminated,” said Don Brezinski, Executive Vice President on Campus. “It’s more of a functional alignment in where offices can best be served.”
The three areas initially under the School of International Engagement included International Student Services (ISS), Study Abroad, and International Recruitment.
“Putting international students services under the student affairs team…strikes me as culturally and operationally making a lot of sense. The Study Abroad is more… academic…, so we put it under the Learner Engagement and Academic Innovation [department],” said Brezinski. For “International Recruitment, they’re recruiting students as an admissions function. We’ve aligned that up with existing marketing and admission functions.”
International Student Services
SNHU executives observed correlating services and experiences for international and domestic students and reintegrated International Student Services with Student Affairs.
“The International Student Service specifically fits under Student Affairs because…it will provide a better student experience,” said Heather Lorenz, Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus-Based Initiatives. “I think there’s an opportunity to integrate the international students with the domestic students more seamlessly.”
Optical Practical Training (OPT) will also continue to be available. OPT is “tracking down their employment, making sure their visas [are] up to date.” Other resources initially offered will also remain available.
“Our goal is to respond to their needs so I can imagine that is how we support them will evolve,” Lorenz said. “I think it will benefit [international students] because [it] will be a more holistic support system.”
SNHU is looking to grow its international population. According to Lorenz, international students were having a difficult time obtaining visas and weren’t able to come to the U.S. “We used to have a lot more students on campus that were international, both graduate and undergraduate,” Lorenz said.
“Our job as a team is to constantly assess what a student needs, pivot, make a change to better support their experience,” Lorenz said.
International students in need of assistance can now contact Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Study Abroad program will still offer the same experiences that it has in the past.
One option students can participate in is the virtual international exchange. “We started [it] during the pandemic and…we still found creative ways to work with colleges and students and other places to build in some community,” said Lynn Murray-Chandler, Assistant Vice President of Learner Engagement and Academic Innovation.
Short-term trips will also be available to students. Faculty-advised trips last within a range of fifteen days to eight weeks. “Our goal is to offer a lot more of them,” Murray-Chandler said. “As long as we have students who want to go on these trips, then we can keep adding [destinations].”
Students can continue to take part in study away trips, which can last between one semester and a full school year. The study abroad program currently offers over 160 international and domestic locations.
Credits can also be earned during study away. Murray-Chandler recommends that students interested in studying abroad meet with their advisors and determine what courses will go toward their program evaluation. Short-term trips will offer one extra credit to “students who might not have room in their schedule to take the three-credit course but still want to go on the trip,” Murray-Chandler said.
An applicable scholarship for study abroad is the LeBlanc Finland Travel scholarship. “[President LeBlanc and Pat Finland] have been continually investing in this scholarship fund that allows students to get their airfare paid for on trips,” Murray-Chandler said. The LeBlanc Finland Travel scholarship is applicable to short-term trips as well as study away trips.
Financial aid is also available for study away trips. Students can contact Student Financial Services (email@example.com) to address their financial needs.
The Study Abroad office is now located in the library, room 222. Students with additional questions regarding Study Abroad can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Recruitment became part of admission services to create a cleaner and more accessible structure for student support.
“These two teams were both…working with the students together, so they had multiple points of contact, and that was the structure that was really unique to international; it’s not how we’ve traditionally served our domestic students,” said Tim Whittum, Associate Vice President of Campus Admissions.
The restructure occurred to establish a “more robust communication plan.”
“There were some problems with the older structure within International…and the way students were being serviced,” Whittum said.
There has been an increase in admissions from international students, according to Whittum. Graduate students dominate admissions, but undergraduate student interest continues to rise. “I’m optimistic that the trends that we’re seeing will continue to increase in terms of demand enrollments, country diversity, but I also suspect that we have some continued work internally to really achieve the goals that we set out to achieve,” Whittum said.
“For the fall term…we’re going to fill every available seat in the IT program. We’re working to…move [students] to a future term,” Whittum said. “We’re working swiftly to maximize how many students we can bring in and support.”
SNHU is working to expand its range of international students. The goal is to “bring more diverse students with a broader range of cultural values and experiences,” Whittum said.
“I’m excited to see how it evolves,” said Whittum. “I would like to see us continue growth…diversify where students are coming from…find ways to improve the experience for them, and make sure they’re really getting the absolute best degree of service and support possible.”