International Student Services at Ontario Universities

Report
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
A Joint Undertaking
 Ontario Committee on Student Affairs (represents the
chief student affairs officers at the 20 Ontario
universities)
 Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Special Thanks
 Chris Martin, Director of Research, and Rylan Kinnon,
Executive Director, Ontario Undergraduate Student
Alliance
 Brenda Whiteside, Associate Vice-President (Student
Affairs), University of Guelph
 Members of the Ontario Committee on Student Affairs
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
The Ontario provincial
government has endorsed
increasing international
enrolment in post-secondary
institutions by 50 percent
over five years with the hope
that many will stay in
Ontario after graduation.
-Government of Ontario, 2010
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Context
 In 2010-11, Ontario universities enrolled 30,978
international students, with two-thirds of them
undergraduate (MTCU, 2011)
 When the Government’s international enrolment
target is met, Ontario universities will see
international student enrolment increase by 15,000, or
roughly the equivalent of a medium-sized university
campus
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Context (Cont’d)
 Ontario’s decision to increase international enrolment
corresponds with a growing market for these students
 By 2025, global demand for international education is
predicted to grow from 1.9 million to 7.2 million
students (OECD, 2006)
 However, there is considerable competition for
international students, especially from the United
States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and
Australia
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Context (Cont’d)
 Currently, Canada takes in 2.5% of all international
students in the global market, slightly more than New
Zealand. By comparison, Australia, a country similar
in size and population to Canada, enrols 7.6% of the
global market (UNESCO, 2009)
 A recent CBIE (Kizibash, 2011, p. 3) report cites that
“Canada, which once ranked in the top five
destinations for foreign students, has now dropped to
14th place, receiving less than three percent of the
market.”
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Thesis
Even the most effective recruiting
strategy will only yield limited
gains if visiting students do not
experience a high-quality,
welcoming and engaging student
experience at our universities.
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Experience & Research Suggests
 International students experience:
 language difficulties (Barron, Gourlay, & Gannon-Leary,
2010; Carter & Xu, 2007; Fitzgerald, 1998; Hansen, 1993;
Tas, 2004; Zhang & Zhou, 2010)
 culture related learning differences (Carter & Xu, 2007
Rice et. all, 2009; Tas, 2004; Tompson & Tompson, 1996)
 academic support issues (Fitzgerald, 1998; Sandeen,
2004; Tas, 2004)
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
An important element to Ontario`s
plan to enrol increasingly larger
numbers of international students is
ensuring that Ontario’s universities
provide a strong array of student
support services.
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Connection to Internationalization
 An important part of the Council of Ontario
Universities (2010) proposed internationalization
strategy
 The Council of Ministers of Education, in their
International Education Marketing Action Plan
(Council of the Federation, 2011), encourage “provinces
and territories to continue to work together to share
information about leading Canadian and international
practices to support international students and ensure
that their educational experiences in Canada are
positive.” (p. 24)
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
“To remain competitive, however, Ontario
must distinguish itself from the growing
number of players in the
internationalization sphere, not only by
providing a high quality educational
experience, but also by building a
reputation as the most supportive
environment for international students in
the world. “
-Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (2011)
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Going Global – The Elements
International Undergraduate Tuition
 Financial Assistance for International
Students
 International Student Health Coverage
 Employment for International Students
 International Student Support
Services
 Branch and Affiliate Campuses

AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Going Global – International
Student Support Services
Best Practices:
Personal Counselling
Peer Networking
Access to Employment
Access to Safety Nets
Language Training
Recommendations:
Provincial Task force on international
student support services
Province insures quality international
student support services
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Purpose
 To inform the Council of Ontario Universities and
senior management at Ontario’s universities that we
must increase our investment in international student
support services if we are to effectively meet the
challenge of enrolling an additional 15,000
international students at our universities.
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Approach
 OCSA wrote a draft paper
 We then partnered with OUSA
 Reviewed all available research
 Conducted an on-line survey to assess the availability
and use of international student support services
 Coordinated consultation with the campuses,
international students, and representatives from
leading international-related organizations
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Structure of Our Paper
 The literature on international student success
 Type of international student support services
 Availability of international student support services
on Ontario university campuses
 A look at how we are doing
 Next steps
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Consultation Day – February 2012
 Senior student affairs officers
 International student support service providers
 International students
 Representatives from:
 Council of Ontario Universities
 Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities
 Canadian Bureau of International Education
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Discussion Group Questions
1. What are universities doing well?
2. What needs are not being met?
3. What can be done to address these needs?




As an individual university
As a university system
As external agencies (ministries, DFAIT, provincial and federal
governments, etc.)
What can be done to inform university leadership of these needs?
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Telling Our Story
 Conference session at:
⁻ Canadian Association of College & University Student
Services Conference, 2012
⁻ Canadian Bureau of International Education
Conference, 2012
 Presented the paper to the Ontario Council of
Academic Vice-Presidents, 2013
 Published paper in the first edition of the SEM
Quarterly, 2013
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Key Findings
 Each of the broad areas of international student
support are available at Ontario university
campuses
 45 percent of our campuses provide maximum
level loans/bursaries to international students of
$2,000 or more
 Most (80%) campuses provide an international
student resource centre that services as a one-stop
location for international student services
 30% of our campuses offer 20 or more
international student-oriented clubs and
organizations
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Key Findings (Cont’d)
 44% of Ontario university campuses provide a
home-stay program for international students
 Nearly half (45%) have 5 or fewer dedicated
international student services staff, with only
30% having 6-10 staff persons
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Services Used the Most






International student advisor
Immigration advising and support
Employment support (off-campus)
International student handbook
Health and medical services
Specialized orientation for international students (in
addition to regular orientation programming)
 Residence opportunities guaranteed for international
students
 International student resource centre
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Services – Not Widely Available
 Financial literacy for international students
 Space where international students can engage with
students from their home country
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Canadian Bureau of International
Education Survey
 Surveys conducted in 2004 and 2009
 Satisfaction increased in all service areas
 More than half of the respondents indicated they had
“little or no success” or “some success” with:
 involvement in off-campus activities
 involvement in on- campus activities
 making friends with Canadian students
 obtaining academic advice
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Comparison - International
 10 universities participated in the International
Student Barometer (ISB)
 Levels of satisfaction across the Ontario cohort were
2% lower than the ISB cohort, which suggests some
possible areas of improvement
 When usage is factored into student satisfaction, the
areas where there appears to be the most potential for
improvement include: health centre and campus
eating places
International Student Barometer
i-Grad, 2012
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 RECOMMENDATION #1: universities should focus
their thinking away from the commonly used retention
rate and toward the more useful retention risk factors.
In other words, the institutional view would ideally
shift toward early prevention and efforts to assist
international students in real time as they confront
challenges to remain and thrive at the institution.
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 RECOMMENDATION #2: OCSA recommends that
Ontario universities focus their efforts on five critical
student support areas:
 Health & Wellness
 Student Living
 Academic Support
 Transition
 Cultural Sensitivity
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 Health and Wellness: Ensure the availability of on-
campus student health services, including both
physical and mental health care, and develop a
culturally-sensitive strategy for handling instances of
sexual assault involving international students
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 Student Living:
 Enhance campus eating places to make them more
attentive to international students, especially with regard to
dietary restrictions which students may have for religious or
cultural reasons;
 Provide residence opportunities that meet the needs of
specific international communities and married students,
and support students throughout the break and summer
periods;
 Increase involvement of international students in on- and
off-campus activities and in initiatives that will result in
international students making friends with Canadian
students early in their student experience; and
 Provide appropriate faith-based and spiritual support
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 Academic Support:
 Provide professional and culturally sensitive academic
advising for international students;
 Enhance academic acculturation initiatives, including
those associated with academic integrity;
 Provide support for verbal and written English
communications; and
 Increase connectivity between career services and
international student support departments
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 Transition:
 Develop in-semester, first semester orientation
programs;
 Increase awareness efforts to ensure that international
students learn about their rights and responsibilities in
Canada, especially for students from different countries
who may have unique circumstances and different
requirements; and
 Provide transition support to spouses, children and
family members
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 Cultural Sensitivity:
 Provide intercultural competency training to all support
staff, faculty and students.
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 RECOMMENDATION #3: OCSA endorses the
creation of service metrics with respect to supporting
international students on our campuses. Such data
would help guide best practices in international
student retention and support continuing research
into the indicators of international student
persistence.
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Our Recommendations
 RECOMMENDATION #4: International students
benefit from some of the same student services as
domestic students. These services should continue to
be supported. Some of the key services include:
 academic support
 accommodations (residence) support
 employment support
 financial support
 health and wellness support
 transition support
AACRAO SEM Conference – Chicago, 2013
Questions & Comments
Clayton Smith
Vice-Provost, Students & International
University of Windsor
[email protected]
Suzanne Blanchard
Associate Vice-President (Students and
Enrolment) & University Registrar
Carleton University
[email protected]

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