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Update from the ISEP Council of Advisors

December 12, 2016

The Council of Advisors represents the strong institutional, cultural, and administrative diversity across the ISEP membership. COA meetings provide an opportunity for discussion and debate with the goal to develop a middle ground on many kinds of issues. In November, when the Council met, the topics focused on five challenges that ISEP has identified: visibility, simplicity, value, scalability and exchange.

Visibility: Breakout groups discussed how to improve methods of communication for the ISEP Global Office and ISEP membership, and learned about strategic partnerships that Mary Catherine Chase (Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships) has been developing to support ISEP goals, including partnerships with Diversity Abroad, the IIE GET Program and the Gilman Scholarship Program. These partnerships will increase the visibility of ISEP programming in the broader international education community and also provide resources to ISEP students. The ISEP Global Office would love to hear about your recommendations for partnership as well.

Simplicity: Council members often provide an excellent source of feedback to the ISEP Global Office as they work to simplify processes and procedures. In the November meeting, the Council of Advisors provided feedback on the new website, new fee structure for student applications and on the development of WebIS 2.0 (expected to be complete in the next year). ISEP continues to welcome your feedback on the website and have been actively responding to any challenges that ISEP coordinators communicate about. Tutorials are available about the new website, and feedback can be given here or to your Program Officer.

ISEP Value & Affordability: ISEP remains one of the most affordable ways for students to study abroad. In the last year, ISEP has added more front-line staff to work with students. New program officers have been added in different U.S. regions, and ISEP is working to have someone onsite in Australia. They have also developed a strong health and safety protocol to support the membership, and changed the application placement fee structure. Did you know that a dual placement now costs the same as a single placement?

Scalability: One of the newest additions to the ISEP program is ISEP for All. ISEP has opened up 13 ISEP Direct programs to students from other institutions. This program adds resources to help offset exchange costs and will hopefully lead to new members in the future.

Exchange: Exchange is at the core of ISEP programs. The Global Office continues to seek new members and is looking strategically in areas of high demand. Within the U.S. research-based institutions who can offer access to STEM programs are sought, as are institutions with flexible programs. ISEP members will receive updates to both membership departures and new members on a regular basis. A new members internationally to consider includes a summer program at the Institut d’Etudes Africaines de Dakar (Senegal). New members are being sought in the Middle East, China, India, Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, Peru and sites in Europe.

Trends: Council of Advisors members often share trends happening on their campus. Some common themes included a high interest in internships, and several programs are in the process of developing further internship programming (e.g. University of Pavia, Italy and Providence University, Taiwan). All coordinators were continuing to work to increase mobility after some declines this year. Some ISEP institutions are working on either freshman outbound programs (Agnes Scott, VCU), or on developing inbound program-specific ESL options (VCU and Maryville College). There are ongoing conversations about curriculum integration and course matching. ISEP is considering ways to support these initiatives and program officers can assist if you have specific needs.

ISEP Site Tours & Conferences: ISEP member institutions held site tours this fall in both France and South America. Both tours got strong reviews and council members thought they ought to be regular events for ISEP. This spring Providence University will have a site tour which will take place after APAIE. ISEP expects to have another site tour in the fall in conjunction with EAIE (watch for information this spring). Plan to attend the Fall 2017 ISEP conference in Washington, D.C. Details to come soon.

This spring the Council of Advisors will be seeking new members. Please consider self-nominating and contributing your valuable insight to ISEP. It is also a great opportunity to learn more about ISEP, network with other U.S. and International Coordinators and contribute to the field of international education.

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