On October 14, NAFSA will host a special, one-and-a-half hour webinar exploring how international education professionals can improve their retention programs and practice using the results of NAFSA's new study on undergraduate international student retention.
Lead researcher Rahul Choudaha, chief knowledge officer and senior director of strategic development at World Education Services, will join NAFSA Senior Director of International Student and Scholar Services Sheila Schulte and Rachel Errington, director of the International Student Office for the University of West Florida's Office of Diversity and International Education and Programs, to discuss the real-world applications of Bridging the Gap: Recruitment and Retention to Improve International Student Experiences, a year-long research report that reveals wide gaps in the perspective of students and institutions on the reasons why international students leave their institution of first enrollment.
To help participants put results into practice, NAFSA asked Choudaha and Schulte to share a few of the ideas and guidance they will be offering in the upcoming webinar, "International Student Retention Research: Results and Best Practices."
You've read NAFSA's Bridging the Gap report. What's your next step?
Rahul: The research provides a framework to assess how international student retention practices compare to the national trends. This provides insights about what to continue and what more needs to be done on the campus.
Sheila: The next step depends on the specific campus—it could be a call to action to start a discussion on international student retention or a review of current practices. It could be looking at the gap analysis within the report to see if these same issues ring true for your campus.
The Bridging the Gap report has been available for about six weeks now. What impact do you think it is having on the field?
Rahul: The most important impact is the awareness about an important issue for which evidence and a collection of best practices was missing.
Sheila: Our hope is that this is a conversation starter for campus partners to think further about collaboration around the issue of international student retention.
At a glance, how can practitioners use the information in this report to strengthen their programs and practice?
Rahul: The key is to use the findings of the report and assess practices at your campus. This will not only help in identifying areas of improvement but also areas of strengths.
Sheila: I couldn't agree more with Rahul—I suggest that you take advantage of this information to make the case on your campus for further resources or to bring attention to areas of excellence.