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NAFSA 2011 Region VIII Presentation-Expanding ACCESS to International Students

NAFSA 2011 Region VIII Presentation-Expanding ACCESS to International Students



National Association for International Education (NAFSA), Region VIII Conference...

National Association for International Education (NAFSA), Region VIII Conference
November 3-5, 2011 - Philadelphia, PA


Nicole Sealey, Director for the Center for International Student Access, Mason
Rick Davis, Associate Provost, Undergraduate Education, Mason
Karyn Mallett, Assistant Director, English Language Institute, Mason
Ghania Zgheib, Faculty, English Language Institute, Mason

SESSION TITLE: Expanding ACCESS to International Students

ABSTRACT: Mason's recent foray in international education is an innovative new foundation year program for international freshman designed to increase their academic English language skills while enrolled as full-time students. The presenters will discuss historical development of the program; its academic foundation utilizing cross-departmental collaboration between university and intensive English programs; and its implementation this past fall. The program provides a cohort-style, credit-bearing, custom curriculum, along with academic and student services designed for students studying abroad. The session will address research-backed program revisions; implications for comprehensive approaches to language-supported internationalization in US higher education; and the development of a new university entity developed to manage administration of the program, which builds further on interdepartmental partnerships.



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  • Nicole general intro & each participant introduce herself briefly; mention that Rick couldn’t make it.
  • Nicole: (5-10 minutes) Setting stagePublic institution located in Fairfax, VAFounded in 1972Three campuses (distributed model) & several sitesEnrollments upwards of 32,000International enrollment averaging 6%Location close to Washington, DC Metro area
  • Nicole (5 minutes)Defining Internationalization:Defined “... as the process of integrating an international perspective into a college or university system. It is an ongoing, future-oriented, multidimensional, interdisciplinary, leadership-driven vision that involves many stakeholders working to change the internal dynamics of an institution to respond and adapt appropriately to an increasingly diverse, globally focused, ever-changing external environment” (Ellingboe, 1998, p. 199).University’s interest/vision for creating these programsCreation of an entity to manage and house w/ academicsCollaboration to build
  • NICOLE (2 minute)Describe basic program elements
  • KARYN 2 minTheoretical Bases for developing language support beyond ELI and with ELIELI at Mason = 2011 is the 30 year anniversary of the ELI (Mason’s IEP); we’re established, we have a proven track record of success; we are connected to faculty/administrators throughout the university = partnering with CISA allows both sides to capitalize on what we know works and the program that we have spent years and years refiningIntensive English language instruction = our intensive English language program has 7 levels from near-beginner to undergraduate and graduate transition (1-2 academic courses with in-class and out-of-class support) as well as a full tutoring staff for individualized instruction. While the IEP is takes an integrated skills approach, the highest levels of the program directly address academic skills/genres in preparation for full academic study. Therefore, the notion of setting up the language-support for CISA’s ACCESS program presented an opportunity to take our current program to the next level, closing the gap between the IEP and academic coursework that we have known/felt for years.
  • Karyn (1 min) One aspect of ELI-CISA collaboration is entrance testing for non-ELI ACCESS applicants as well as exit testing for all ACCESS students. However, since there are a variety of language proficiency tests out there, we worked for several weeks on the development of a chart that would streamline assessment measures and communicate a clear range to non-language-specialists across the university. A colleague in the ELI (also the ACCESS assessment coordinator), Julie Kim, developed the concordance chart.The process of researching and developing the concordance chart was quite an endeavor (this will be a well-received fact among those involved with language assessment), since the process of deciding proficiency entrance/exit thresholds requires a deep awareness of how/what each test measures, how tests compare with regard to raw scores on different scales (for each sub-section and overall). The resulting ELI concordance chart is correlated to the Common European Framework Reference scale. We decided, based on the new chart, that students could probably come into ACCESS at the B1 level (regardless of what test they took). We expect that students will complete ACCESS at the B2 level or higher (with no sub-score below B1+), and we will be conducting our first exit proficiency assessment of the ACCESS pilot group in April.
  • Karyn
  • NICOLE (2 minutes)Extra & co-curricular endeavors& contributions to university efforts at internationalization
  • Nicole (3 minutes)Highlight collaborations occurring all across campus
  • NICOLE (3-4 minutes) Financial model Human Resources Program enrollment goals
  • KARYN (2 minutes)A second piece of ELI support for ACCESS has been the development of a longitudinal study examining ACCESS students’ and ACCESS faculty experiences (review title, phases of research project, and data collected from student and faculty participants)
  • Karyn (1.5 minutes)Exploratory comparative case study analysis (faculty & students) for pilot year (i.e. phase I); descriptive goalsReview purpose (driving question) and participants
  • Ghania (2 minutes)Data = 90% of student/faculty interviews have been coded and analyzed. So far, we have a number of themes developing. The project is longitudinal, so data-based findings and implications are very tentative at this point. All of the themes in yellow are ones that apply to both faculty and students. (In other words, the same/similar questions of faculty and students, so the data we have is comparable)
  • Student-only themesComing from different educational and cultural backgrounds international students face many challenges beyond academic challenges which may affect their academic performance. Here = students mention a variety of challenges they feel they face as international students.
  • Ghania (2 minutes)Highlight: Of the themes mentioned, one issue of interest has to do with faculty/student perceived challenges; among the variety of challenges addressed by both groups survey and interview data, academic challenges were the most common. Here – ACCESS students’ perceptions of the most common academic challenges they faced. (bits of data are used to illustrate the kinds of things students said about these specific academic challenges)
  • Ghania (2 min)Here – ACCESS faculty perceptions of the most common challenges they faced when teaching academic content/skills to students. (bits of data are used to illustrate the kinds of things faculty said about these specific academic challenges) Issues = making content accessible to students at varied/developing levels of English proficiency; teaching not just academic content, but also the Western Educational system; evaluating students on a different set of criteria than other courses; teaching classroom expectations (studentship in US higher education)
  • Ghania (1 min)One of the themes that we have been interested in is students’ and faculty perceptions of academic writing, especially given the strength/comprehensiveness of Mason’s stacked writing program and WAC/WID programs. Here = a bit of data showing students’ varied descriptions of academic writing in general and, below that, a repeated finding that students (100% of the time at multiple points of data collection) have said that rubrics are helpful (especially when the teacher reviews the rubric with the class and then sticks with it when evaluating the students’ work) and individualized teacher feedback on student writing is helpful.
  • Ghania (1 minute (or less))One consideration with regard to producing academic texts for ACCESS students has to do with grammatical accuracy. Here = faculty perceptions on the importance of grammatical accuracy in ACCESS students’ success in the course (overall) all = some level of importance; blue = very important
  • Guenia (2 min)Individualized instruction/attention; meeting students at varied and developing points of need; and teaching students to become autonomous = these things have to be the stated goals across the ACCESS curriculumBeyond asking students to consider what they find helpful in terms of developing academic writing proficiency and asking faculty to consider the importance of grammatical correctness in terms of overall course success, we also asked faculty to consider what they think would be helpful/useful for teachers of international students at Mason (*Notice that 1 = a workshop on providing effective feedback on students’ writing; 2 = a collection of stories told from the ACCESS student perspective; 3 = a mentoring program for experienced ACCESS teachers to coach less experienced teachers) * Also note that 0% of faculty wanted a grammar workshop for faculty* This is an area of focus that we need to address = beginning with clear suggestions for faculty across the ACCESS curriculum on constructing assignment-based rubrics that tie in 1-2 major grammatical points. In terms of professional development opportunities offered through the ELI, I feel that the ELI needs to 1) lead in the process of reaching out and collaborating with academic faculty on rubric creation and 2) develop and teach basic metalinguistic terms that we can all use and be familiar with when discussing teacher feedback on ACCESS student writing.
  • Karyn, I am wondering if we should have a slide with each of the interview answers with the question before the response because they will not fit on one slide
  • Karyn (1 min) (if we have time) Students have consistently stated their satisfaction with the ACCESS program. They recognize that it is difficult on a number of levels, but they do feel supported and that they are succeeding. Here = a few of their most memorable moments from this pilot year.
  • NICOLE (3 minutes)Basic lessons and considerations from an administrative point of view[I suspect that some things may be adjusted before conference]
  • K – faculty training & student orientation information; faculty response to training and general feedback about differences.
  • We have an unusual mix based on our backgroundCultural diversity is paramountDiluted population due to area
  • N (1-2 minutes)Any wrap up comments you might like to make (e.g., positive direction for future development)

NAFSA 2011 Region VIII Presentation-Expanding ACCESS to International Students NAFSA 2011 Region VIII Presentation-Expanding ACCESS to International Students Presentation Transcript

  • Expanding ACCESS to International Students NAFSA Region VII Conference Philadelphia, PA November 4, 2011 Rick Davis, Associate Provost, Undergraduate EducationNicole Sealey, Director, Center for International Student AccessKaryn Mallett, Assistant Director, English Language Institute Ghania Zgheib, Faculty, English Language Institute Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • IntroductionMason’s international profile: • a fortunate confluence of strategic intention and circumstance • international goals articulated in strategic plan • enrollment goals as part of a larger discussion of internationalization Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Internationalization at MasonExpanding international student enrollment • catalyst -- approach by outside partner • decision to “DIY” • conversations with stakeholders: ELI, academic programs, OIPS. Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • ACCESS Program• International Freshmen• Alternative Admission Requirements • Meets academic qualifications • Lower English Proficiency threshold • Provisional admission• Goal: One year comprehensive first-year experience Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Key Programmatic Components• Academic Coursework utilizing teaching methods supported by theory and research for content-based English language acquisition• Advising and acculturation support in an environment designed to elicit comfort and trust• Co-extracurricular programming and activities designed to engage and enrich international students in the larger university community• Coordinated university resources and assessment made possible though collaborative efforts among units and faculty Successful Completion: Passing Language Portfolio/Exam & Achievement of GPA of 2.0 Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Pilot Program Structure FALL 2010 - 12 credits Enhanced Using innovative English World History team teaching Composition I (4) approach (3) Offered with in-class and Incorporating Public after-classPeer Advising from Freshman successful Mason Transition (1) Speaking language Undergrads (4) support Mathematics Placement Seminar (0) Additional tutoring made available during afternoon and evening hours Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Pilot Program Structure Spring 2011 - 12-16 credits EnhancedUsing innovative English Mathematics* team teaching Composition II (3) approach (3) Major Courses (2-4) Introduction American to Research Cultures English Methods (3) Grammar (3) (Summer) (3) *Mathematics: Per placement exam Additional tutoring made available during day and evening hours Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • English Language Support Structure GMU ELI GMU CISA Intensive Program CISA CISA Language Support Committees PROV 103 Transition Language PROV 104 Guidelines ENGL ACCESS 121/122 ELI Applicant Advising Language Assessment BRIDGE Language Near- Advising & Beginner Tracking Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Language Requirement Threshold ELI PROFICIENCY TEST IELTS TOEFL iBTCEFR Speaking Listening Reading Writing OVERALL TOTALC2 C2 115-120 117-120 120 8.5 120C1 C1 110-114 111-116 110 7.5 110-119 B2+ B2+ 100-109 106-110 100 7.0 100-109 B2 B2 90-99 102-105 90 6.5 87-99 B1+ B1+ 80- 89 92-101 80 6.0 80-86 B1 B1 70-79 82-91 60 5.5 57-79A2+ A2+ 60-69 71-81 50 4.5 40-56A2 A2 50-59 57-70 40 4.0 30-39A1+ A1+ 30-49 30-56 30 3.0 20-29A1 A1 11-29 11-29 20 2.0 12-19N/A Pre-A1 0-10 0-10 0 1.0 0-11 Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Incoming-Outgoing Language Proficiency Scores: ACCESS 2010-2011 Incoming Access 2010-2011 Outgoing Access 2011-2012 Incoming Access 10 9 8 7# of students 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 A1 A1+ A2 A2+ B1 B1+ B2 B2+ CEFR Level C1 Where Innovation Is Tradition C2
  • Co-Curricular Connections Complementary Programming Co-curricular Programming • Peer Mentorship Program Academic Support • Peer Learning Partnership • Advising & Acculturation Program • Academic Success • Student Leadership Council Workshops • “Alumni” Program • Tutoring Student Activities • Fall Themes: Academic/Acculturation • Spring Themes: Community & Self-directed Success Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Inter-area CoordinationConsultation with liaison from ELI (English Language Resource & Development Coordinator)Faculty/Staff trainingsCross-course coordinated assignmentsCommunication & resource sharingAcademic department resources & English language support resource coordinationInter-unit activities and collaborations: • University English Language Institute • International Programs & Services (Immigration) • Honors College • Residence Life (Living-Learning Community) • Diversity Programs & Services • Peer Empowerment Program (Counseling Services) • Student Involvement/University Life Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Enrollment ManagementFinancial Model:  Initiative-based budget model  Out of state tuition rates + flat‐rate premium costEnrollment forecasts:  Strategically planned with a fairly aggressive growth within the program  Modest increase of ~2% university-wideShared Human Resources & Facilities:  Staff, faculty, course scheduling, and space coordinationRecruitment:  Fairly aggressive recruitment schedule with visits covering Far East, Indonesia, and Middle East  Use of agents & tours  ELI Pipeline Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Program AssessmentResearch project: “Assessing the pilot year of the access program: A mixed-method, longitudinal research study of ACCESS students’ and faculty experiences”Phase I: Pilot year ACCESS 2010-2011Phase II: ACCESS 2011-2012Data Gathered from ParticipantsQL Data:• Monthly video-recorded classroom sessions (Students)• Three audio-recorded individual student interviews (Students)• Samples of student-generated writing (Students)• Four focus groups (Students)• Monthly video-recorded classroom sessions (Faculty)• One audio-recorded individual interview (Faculty)• Samples of student-generated writing with teacher feedback (Faculty)QN Data:• Weekly on-line ACCESS student surveys (Students)• Two individual English language assessments (Students)• Weekly on-line ACCESS faculty surveys (Faculty) Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Purpose & Participants Phase I Driving question: How do ACCESS students’ perceptions of the academic, linguistic, and cultural experiences compare with ACCESS-affiliated faculty feedback on teaching academic content/skills across the ACCESS-included disciplines? ACCESS student participants for phase I • n = 21 for Fall 2010; 19 for Spring 2011 • All students = multilingual • Majority = Asian or Arab; one student from Ivory Coast ACCESS faculty participants for phase I • n = 8 for Fall 2010; 6 for Spring 2011 Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Findings: Themes1. Factors that appeal to international students (i.e. things that students say make them feelengaged/motivated)2. Perceived challenges (classroom, transition)3. ACCESS faculty expectations and goals4. Students’ perceptions of ACCESS faculty/program5. ACCESS group/cohort dynamics6. Language and cultural permeability7. English language proficiency8. Satisfaction with ACCESS program9. Academic writing10. Academic preparedness11. Revision to ACCESS program12. What works for ACCESS faculty13. Students’ experiences at Mason14. Faculty professional development and lived experiences15. ACCESS teaching-related issues Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Challenges Reported by Students on Being InternationalStudents in the United States• “understanding the text,” • “finding real friends,”• “thoughts and opinion • “language,” understanding,” • “integration,”• “getting involved,” • “making real American friends,”• “essays,” • “reading,”• “being away from home,” • “time management only,”• “understanding American • “getting used to atmosphere,” educational system,” • “understanding American• “writing papers,” culture”• “ideas and culture,” • “adapting to university life” Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Perceived Academic Challenges: Students’ Perspective Language intensive • Reading and writing-intensive requirements courses, especially Managing pressure to • 90% of the students reported pressure to succeed in ACCESS succeed in the ACCESS program Understanding course “…but when we ask for clarification, the professor isrequirements or the process always there to help…the problem is how to achieve the for achieving course goals requirements” Academic study “Note taking is a little bit of a problem but its beingskills, especially note-taking handled” Staying ahead of • “you must work hard from the start, otherwise assignments everything will pile up on you” Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Perceived Academic Challenges: Faculty Perspective • “One challenge Ive faced is the difference in both language ability Range of Student Levels and motivation/preparation among the students. In attempting to design lessons that will help the lower level students, I am worried(language and motivation) that some of the more advanced members of the class are being neglected.” • “While socialization issues do occur, the most urgent issue for Academic Readiness ACCESS students is academic readiness and understanding the context in which the Western Educational system operates.” • “can they cover enough?”Evaluating Student Work • “do they understand the difference between putting information down and answering a question?” • Tardiness Studentship Issues • Absences • Quality of assignments/work Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • ACCESS students’ viewpoints of academic writing • Interesting, enjoyable, great Positive • Long, hard, confusing, difficult, time consuming, not easy, struggle Negative • Thinking, new, there are no rules, organization, different Neutral • 100% of the students reported that rubrics are helpful • 100% of the students reported that teachers’ feedback on their writing is helpful “In writing my second draft English essay, I wrote way more than I expected.” Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Faculty Perceptions on the Importance ofGrammatical Accuracy Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Faculty Perceptions on Resource Development Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Students’ Perceptions of Educational SystemsDifferencesStudent A“Like, in XXX teachers are to tell you what you should remember. So and they give youlots of homework… So, actually during class you don’t have lots discussion or use yourbrain… So teachers here is more help you thinking; they question rather than tell youthe answers. So you actually, you give lots of your own opinions and use your brain.”Student BIn my country, for example, before coming in class you have to knock at the door andyou can’t enter in the class if you are late. And when the teacher come in class you haveto stand, yeah, until he said you have to sit. And you can’t make suggestions; yeah, theyhave like masters in the class so you can’t say anything. And I think that the exams aremore difficult because they just give you what you have to study and you need tomemorize everything. And they don’t give you clue, like, choose one answer, multiplechoices; yeah, we don’t have this. And, I don’t know, I think it’s not organized like here. Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Students’ Perceptions of Language Support Student A You’re not really on your own. You have a lot of other open doors. You can go to thelibrary, you can go anywhere. Especially the ACCESS program; you have a lot of otherpeople who are willing to help you. Student B I mean, there is a lot of positive things…like the most, the most important I think is thesupport of the English program, English language… I mean even if they are our Englishteachers, we know that we can, whenever we need help, we can ask them for help andthey’ll be there for us. And we’re a tight community, we are really tight. Student CI think the positive thing is that you guys care about us. If we get, like, low grades youtalk to us, you try to support us so we can get high grades. Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Most Memorable Moments of ACCESS 2010-2011 CohortStudent Faculty• “Study groups that were organized by • “The first draft from an ACCESS student ourselves…” which demonstrated lack of exposure to• “Just the experience of having all the American academic writing.” classes together” • “coming into class with everyone• “The trip to New York, so much fun and prepared and ready to participate and getting to know each other better” turn in assignments…” • “they really know how to express• “how exciting I was in the beginning of themselves in multiple nuanced ways the semester. And how I was doing (even beyond language)…” assignments happily because I knew it’s • “listening to their speeches; remarking all for crated (credit)” how far they’ve come, how much more• “The support classes help a lot” confident they are…”• “that I have to work really hard” • “…more than language ability, motivation is the key factor to success” Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Phase II – ACCESS 2011-2012 QL Data:• Three audio-recorded individual student interviews (Students)• Samples of student-generated writing (Students)• One audio-recorded individual interview (Faculty)• Samples of student-generated writing with teacher feedback (Faculty) QN Data:• On-line ACCESS student surveys (Students)• Two individual English language assessments (Students)• On-line ACCESS faculty surveys (Faculty) Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Implementation Considerations• Program development is always a work in progress; utilize functioning academic model already in place• Pre-implementation planning critical to success• Both upper administration and faculty buy-in a requirement• Programmatic buy-in essential to smooth the pathway to full major status• Student affairs must be fully enmeshed in program to assure student success Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Program RevisionsAcademic Administrative• Week-long student • Faculty Training Workshops orientation & Handbooks• Student Handbooks • Student Tracking (via Map-• Student Development goals Works)• Course sequencing • Interdepartmental adjustments negotiation strategies for• Advising protocols resources• Cohort based on language • Adjusted enrollment areas projections Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Language-related Program Revisions Faculty Retreat • Research Guided • Scenario-based Discussion Questions • Faculty- generated strategies Faculty Training Module • Academic home base • Feedback on Student Writing Student Orientation • Language Proficiency Benchmarks • Interpreting Faculty Feedback on Writing Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Moving Forward – Enrollment DataPilot Year Second Year• 21 students from 8 nations • 57 Students from 14 nations• Average Student: • Average Student: • Male (76%) • Male (78%) • Saudi Arabian (61%) • Saudi Arabian (42%) • Attended university ELI • Attended university ELI (76%) (49%)• Retention to sophomore • Retention to sophomore year: 71% year: TBA Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Moving Forward – Momentum • Development of research initiatives • Development of new partnerships • Elements modeled by other programs as a “best practice”Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • ConclusionMeasuring success of ACCESS as an institution- building activity: • enrollment growth • student progression to graduation and beyond • campus culture • test bed for innovative strategies with broader application Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Karyn Mallett Nicole Sealey Ghania ZgheibKmallet1@gmu.edu nsealey@gmu.edu gzgheib@gmu.edu You can access this presentation online at: http://cisa.gmu.edu/research DISCUSSION Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • ReferencesACCESS Program website. George Mason University’s Center for International Student Access - http://cisa.gmu.edu/programs/access/.Davis, R., Mallett, K., Sealey, N. & Zgheib, G. 2011. “Expanding ACCESS to International Students.” Presentation at 3rd Annual Colonial Academic Alliance Global Education Conference. Fairfax, VA.Ellingboe, B.J. (1998). Divisional strategies to internationalize a campus portrait: Results, resistance, and recommendations from a case study at a U.S. university, in Mestenhauser, J.A. and Elllingboe, B.J (eds.), Reforming the Higher Education Curriculum: Internationalizing the Campus. Phoenix, AZ: American Council on Education and Oryx Press, pp. 198-228. Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • References (continued)Fischer, K. (May 29, 2011). Colleges Adapt to New Kinds of Students From Abroad: Younger, sometimes less-experienced students require more academic and social support. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Educate-a-New- Kind-of/127704/Fischer, K. (August 7, 2011). College 101 for Non-Native Speakers: Pathways programs blend English and academics to help foreign students succeed. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/College-101-for-International/128535/Habib, A. S. and Mallett, K. E. (eds.). 2011. “Diversity at Mason: The pursuit of transformative education.” Fairfax, VA: Diversity Research Group, George Mason University. Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • References (continued)Hill, B. A. (2008). A Guide To Internationalization For Chief Academic Officers. American Council on Education.International Association of Universities. 2010. Internationalization of Higher Education: Global Trends, Regional Perspectives. IAU 3rd Global Survey. Paris: UNESCO House. Where Innovation Is Tradition
  • Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the following individuals at Mason whose contributions led to the development of the program reflected in the presentation:• Peter Stearns, Provost• Linda Schwartzstein, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs• Rick Davis, Associate Provost, Undergraduate Education• Ann Schiller, Assistant Vice President, Global Strategies• Andrew Flagel, former Dean, University Admissions• Kathy Trump, Associate Dean, International University Life• Judith Green, Director, Office of International Programs & Services• John Pope, Director, English Language Institute• Terry Zawacki, Director, Writing Across the Curriculum Where Innovation Is Tradition