May 20, 2009
Mary Baxton is the Director of Admissions, Client Services, and International Recruitment at Tseng College, California State University, Northridge. Her position focuses on international enrollment management, which coordinates recruitment, admission, and registration. She also facilitates international program development, partnerships, and strategic enrollment management.
Ms. Baxton has been an active member of NAFSA for more than 25 years; she has held various leadership positions in Region XII, and regularly presents at regional, national, and international conferences. One of Ms. Baxton's most recent written contributions is the chapter "Building an On-Campus Recruitment Team" within NAFSA's revised Guide to International Recruitment. She participated in the 2005 Baden-Württemberg Seminar, and served as Vice President for International Education at AACRAO from 2006 to 2009.
How has the Field of Marketing and Recruiting Changed in International Education Since You started Your Career?
Beginners in the field of international education may not be aware of it, but there was a time (not long ago) when the primary mode of global correspondence was air-mail. We had to wait six weeks for a written reply from overseas partners or students. Back then there were very few authorized recruitment fairs, and I can remember visiting unfamiliar cities around the world by myself to "cold-call" potential partners. Robust research with any reasonable authenticity was scarce. If you were lucky, there were two people in your area who had knowledge about both international issues and recruitment concepts.
To be sure, it is different now. Reliable research is more readily available, for everything from armchair to direct country recruitment. Communication can be instantaneous.
But what is the most dramatic change? In a more applied sense, it is an umbrella called "enrollment management." In today's climate, we need to think of the process that facilitates synergy across the functions of recruitment, admission, advising, enrollment, and retention, which too often are viewed as independent. We will hear new terms related to international education besides where and how to recruit. We must speak of cost-benefit analyses and return–on-investment (ROI). We need to frame the activity of our offices in terms of enrollment management.
What Do You See Currently as the Most Critical Element in Trying to Encourage Globally Mobile Students? Why
Two trends in particular are re-shaping international education: Worldwide growth of the middle class and rapid global expansion in postsecondary education. These global issues are reconfiguring the markets and systems that govern education around the world. Current programs support a more diverse set of country and regional knowledge needs. Likewise, the subject matter within major disciplines themselves must be expanded to account for the dynamics affecting the environment, health issues, and global business markets. As we hear that the global demand for seats in higher education may double in the next 15 years, we must rethink and reshape international education.
Ten Years from Now, How Do You Envision the Landscape of Marketing and Recruiting in International Education?
Globalization is moving from the periphery of the campus to center stage. International education will come under a new type of spotlight that will create new challenges but also new opportunities. To rise to the occasion, we all must broaden our scope to include more aspects across campus. All of us, whether it's the VP or the SEVIS advisor or the staff who receive applications for admission, must see our work as related and critically important to the overall success of the campus.