Last week the University of Toronto hosted the 2013 Worldviews Conference from June 19-21. The topic of this year’s conference focused on the global trends of higher education and the role of the media in portraying topics such as the popularity (and unpopularity) of MOOCs, international education, academic freedom, and student activism. For me, it was a unique opportunity to engage with journalists who cover some of the hottest topics in higher education, and to attend the keynote addresses led by prominent thinkers, like Sir John Daniel, Chad Gaffield, and Andrew Keen, just to name a few.
Certainly, international education and the increasing number of international students enrolling in North American and European post-secondary institutions was a topic of much discussion. At one session, titled “International students and campus integration: Institutional strategies and media interpretations,” panelists discussed the importance of developing strategic programs and services to support incoming international students. The panelists, which included Jane Ngobia, Teboho Moja, Shaun Curtis, andMaria Mathai, focused on the importance of intentionality from host institutions to assure that international students are supported, integrated, and validated at every step of their international experience. To support international students, administrators need to have a vision and mission that supports these students’ success.
Panelists spoke passionately about the benefits of hosting larger and larger cohorts of international students, benefits that surpass any economic advantage. International students bring a wealth of experiences and knowledge that enrich the campuses and the experiences of students, faculty and staff, and the broader community.