e-Learning Seminar
Student Members

Today’s student is accustomed to increased family involvement and interaction. These young adults often depend on their families for advice, guidance, and financial support throughout their university experiences and beyond. As a result, international education professionals have had to modify their methods and procedures when dealing with students and their families.

Parental and family involvement will vary from student to student, but international education professionals need to be prepared to support students academically and developmentally, while keeping parents engaged and informed in a manner that is appropriate and legal for all involved. This requires a thoughtful, yet measured approach to ensure positive and productive communication.

This NASFA e-Learning Seminar will offer a variety of ideas, examples, and resources to use as you review or create a communication strategy that best fits your institution for both urgent or emotionally-charged matters and for more long-term, integrated support. Presenters will provide model practices to establish key relationships between students, families, and the international education professional from the first point of contact through the entire international experience based on student development theory.

Learning Outcomes

After attending this live NAFSA e-Learning Seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Apply methods to engage parents at each stage of the international education cycle (recruitment, application, program, re-entry);
  • Employ techniques that professionals and parents can use to empower students by incorporating Student Development Theory;
  • De-escalate situations with emotionally charged parents; and
  • Describe key legal aspects such as FERPA and in loco parentis.

The content of this seminar will be relevant to professionals working in education abroad, international student and scholar services, K-12,and student advisers.


Ann Hubbard
AIFS Study Abroad

Ann Hubbard is a vice president with AIFS Study Abroad, where she is responsible for university relations for customized programs and academic assessment initiatives. She has worked in the field of international education for nearly 30 years with experience in high school exchange; a campus-based education abroad office; conducting intercultural training; and teaching an honors seminar. Hubbard developed a workshop series for students to reflect on the benefits from studying abroad and has continued to expand her knowledge on the topic of students integrating their career development and learning abroad. Hubbard is an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)-qualified administrator; a doctoral candidate in higher education internationalization at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan; and previously served as a coach in the NAFSA Academy.

Bradley Huggins
Bellevue College

Brad Huggins is the assistant director of international student success at Bellevue College, overseeing academic, F-1 visa, and student life advising for more than 1,100 students. Huggins has held many roles in both international education and student affairs, including extensive international advising and as a principal designated school official. Huggins has a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and culture with Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification and a master’s of education degree in student affairs administration. He is currently the Knowledge Community for International Student and Scholar Services representative for NAFSA Region I.

Meaghan Miller Thul
University of Minnesota

Meaghan Miller Thul is the director of the Parent and Family Program at the University of Minnesota. She is the lead staff member responsible for connecting with the families of current and prospective students via communication, strategic connection events, and individual support. Thul has worked in a variety of roles in higher education for more than 14 years, including parent and family relations, academic advising, student leadership programs, first-year experience courses, and fraternity and sorority life. Thul is active in the Parent and Family Relations Knowledge Community for NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and with the Association of Higher Education Parent and Family Program Professionals.

Liz Shearer
Towson University

Liz Shearer is the director for study abroad at Towson University (TU) in Maryland. Shearer moved to the United States from Bristol, England, in 1998 and joined the TU Study Abroad Office in 2000. Her current responsibilities include the development of policies and procedures for study abroad; health and safety; program development and assessment in collaboration with faculty and academic units; and strategic planning and implementation of TU’s study abroad goals. Shearer completed a BA in social sciences at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and holds an MA in liberal and professional studies from TU.

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