Head of the Class

NAFSA’s Academy for International Education is seeking a dedicated member with Academy coach experience to chair its upcoming class starting in July. The chair helps guide a group of international educators through a yearlong professional development program that will leave them with a greater understanding of the field and propel their careers. Responsibilities of the chair also include training the Academy coaches, selecting participants, and serving as a resource for Academy trainees and alumni.

Class 12 chair and Academy cofounder Patti Jones spoke about her experiences with this unique position and the ability it offers educators to leave their mark on a program and countless members.

NAFSA: What was your main motivation for becoming an Academy coach and later chair?

Jones: There were actually two motivations for my decision to become reconnected with the Academy. My first motivation was to see first-hand how the program had evolved. I had helped create it, and I was the first Academy Chair. The second reason was to give back to NAFSA and the upcoming professional generation. The rejuvenation of the joy I felt as a coach for international education and the future of our new professionals was only magnified as a chair.

NAFSA: What has been the most positive experience during your time as chair?

Jones: That is hard to say since I still have the annual conference and other events to look forward to, but to date, the spring training has been the consummate positive experience. The teamwork of the coaches and the leadership, the bonding and learning of the trainees—these things cannot be explained. They have to be experienced.

NAFSA: What is the one thing that a chair can do to have the biggest impact on an Academy class?

Jones: Each chair has had the gift of insight into how to make at least one of the training areas work better. Sharing that insight and working to implement it into the curriculum of the Academy or into event planning helps the Academy grow and improve every year. Allowing the Academy to evolve as a professional development experience is the secret of its success.

If you would like to lead the next Academy class or know someone who may, review the position description and apply today.