Importance of Background because our Chinese Initiatives unit with a full-time staff dedicated to Chinese student and visiting scholar support is unique and not often found at other universities 2004-AASCU—American Association of State Colleges and Universities CEAIE—Chinese Education Association of International Exchange 2008Explain Relationships: Campus visits by China Programs Coordinator, University President, Provosts/Faculty Exchanges/Short-term student 2009-10 Explain my position: I was hired in the Fall of 2009 in this new position. One reason for the creation of my position was that the growing number of students put additional pressure and stress on our university advisors in fullfilling the administrative requirements of the dual degree programs, as well as the additional time it took to meet with students while experiencing language and cultural barriors. While my function was to be a resource for all international students, I was to have a focus on Chinese student support regarding transitions, academic success and degree progression as well as a general support for transitions to the US educational system. The position has now expanded, and I facilitate and coordinate international academic advising across campus including enrollment support, transfer/transcript management, PIE transitions, language and classroom support. 2011-As numbers continue to grow, so have we. Our current staff includes our Director who handles recruitment, program development, partner relations and support for NAU trips abroad. We also have a Student Specialist who helps students in their day-to-day adjustments to the US, such as banking, managing finances, legal, medical and family issues, as well as support to Chinese scholars at NAU. Our most recent addition is our Assistant to the Director, and he handles marketing, program promotion, translation assistance, pre-arrival outreach and student support.
Creation of Both Academic Advisor and Sponsored Student Coordinator in response to advisor concerns about the increasing numbers of international students, and the additional required to work with China Program Students and Middle Eastern Sponsored students. This is not only because of language and cultural barriers, but also because of the administrative requirements of managing these specific programs.
Point out my position, AcES, Language transtition support, ANT 211
Collaboration: and close contact with department advisors for clarification, back-up and support with student issues.—advisors will contact me when they are concerned about a student’s degree progression or class sequencing, academic/language problems, or to reinforce advisor recommendations. Also communicate with a “head’s up” when a student may have some concerns Faculty communication in identifying struggling international students and connecting students with the most appropriate resource.-special summer tutoring paired with Jr. Writing REQ Communication with advisors to initiate new benefits for international students—priority enrollment facilitation PIE to Major transition support—in class presentations and translated documents Monthly contact meetings with CIE Admissions, ISSS and International Advising Coordinator, as well as advising representatives from each of the colleges, the Program in Intensive English and the Director of University Advising.
Translation of Important documents to ensure understanding (PIE transition process; Probation/Academic Standing/Degree Posting and transcript policies) Semester monitoring of degree progression and graduation dates Mid-term and semester grade monitoring Probation outreach (1:1 meetings with each at-risk student—any student with a 2.2 (or below) cumulative and/or semester GPA) Invasive Outreach: Frequent emails; emails about other issues often illicit responses for meetings Collaboration with Student Affairs Faculty to identify Chinese students to participate in a counseling/mentoring practicum course for student affairs graduate students
How to contact professors, importance of office hours and GPS alerts
Social Relationships: Students more comfortable in hierarchial relationships where expectations and rules of behavior are clear Most students have no experience with an academic advisor. (When first meeting a student, explain who you are, what you do and how you can help. Also, how and when students should contact you.) Harmony vs. Truth: Students tend to avoid direct confrontation, open criticism and controversial topics. Concern with maintaining harmony and with “face.” Students prefer to handle problems on own, rather than “bother” others. (Make clear to students that while in China, asking for help may not be seen as good thing, but in the US, we expect ALL students to seek out help if they need it, and this is not bad or shameful. This is responsible.) and (Students prefer to handle problems on own, rather than “bother” anyone else. If you notice a student who may be having trouble, invite them to meet with you) Student: “I learned something valuable—always ask. American are like this. When you need something, say it , or no one will be helping you.
Friendship/helping: Many students believe they are “helping” their friend when they share the work of assignments. This is a good time to talk about Academic Integrity and what it means. Roles/Regulation: In China, many people aren’t treated fairly, and reciprocal relationships are how many solve problems. Many rules and laws in China are merely suggestions, so students feel there can be a way aournd things. (liberal studies, transfer credit acceptance) Students may persistently ask you the same questions without understanding we create policy so everyone is treated fairly Friendship: Many students believe they are “helping” their friend when they share the work of assignments. Time Consciousness—money, progression towards the future and academic preparation are main concerns
Patience is important. Don’t try to finish students’ sentences or cut them off while they are speaking. This only makes students more self-conscious of their speaking. Written references are helpful for international students. Encourage students to write down questions they want to ask you. After your session, send a quick email covering the most important points. Check for understanding. This doesn’t mean asking the student “Do you understand everything I said?” as students will likely say “yes” if they do or not. Ask the student, “What are you going to do next?” If the student has a list of tasks to complete, write them down. Keep language simple: “benefit of the doubt” “the bottom line” “piece of cake” “bent out of shape” “jump the gun” “finger’s crossed” Hard instead of complicated. Be Open: Avoid controversial questions—Do not ask a Chinese student what they think about communism or if they have any brothers or sisters. (Although this question could be very appropriate for a Middle Eastern student). Don’t ask a Middle Eastern student how they feel about the US presence in Iraq or the rights of women. The purpose is to develop trust with the student, not to make them feel uncomfortable or asked to answer on behalf of their entire race or ethnicity. How do you celebrate birthdays? What would you do on the weekends in your home country? Tell me about your hometown. Recognize feelings/behaviors: This can be you or the student. Feelings of frustration, offense, repitition, inappropriate responses (distraction, nodding when not understanding) can be indicators this is happening. Take a deep breath, regroup, and start over with a different approach or way of explaining the situation.
Assumptions: Some international students were educated in English (Nigeria, Philippines, Micronesia); some international students are dual citizens, some students with “international names” are American citizens. Some international transfers have already studied at US institutions Be accessible with timely responses to email—especially appointment requests. Students tend to not want to use the phone to schedule appointments—they will want to schedule in person or by email Recognize many students may have never heard the vocabulary of the US university system—Many of the words we use frequently—Liberal Studies, Academic Catalog, Academic Probation, Cumulative vs. Semester GPA, for example—are completely new to international students. Encourage group advising sessions. Many students will bring a friend whose language skills are more advanced, and students can clarify with each other and help each other ask appropriate questions. Be aware international students may not know things we expect American students to know—the purpose of office hours, the need to be well-rounded for graduate school applications and Warren Buffet trip Involved: One of the best way for students to make and meet American friends, and to practice English in an informal conversational setting .
Outreach with purpose an integrative approach to chinese undergraduate support
Outreach with Purpose:An Integrative Approach to Chinese Undergraduate Support Kathleen McKeiver, M.Ed. and Bruce Feng Wang
Presentation Outline: 1. NAU /China partnerships and China Initiatives 3. The academic experience of students in China 5. Pre-arrival support and social media outreach 7. Support and advocacy through pointed outreach and collaboration with NAU departments 9. Advising considerations for working with Chinese students (and other international students)
Background:NAU and China Relationships 2004: AASCU invites NAU to join the 1+2+1 dual degree program in partnership with CEAIE. 2006-2007: 1+2+1 program demands lead to hiring Coordinator (now Director) of China Program Initiatives 2007-2008: Strategic recruitment and strengthened relations with Chinese partners lead to Chinese student growth 2009/2010: NAU’s Global Leaning Initiatives leads to development of the China Initiatives Division and the addition of International Academic Advisor (now Coordinator) 2011: The China Initiatives Division now has four fulltime staff dedicated to Chinese student support and success.
China Program Student Population Growth: Fall 2008: 64 Program Students Fall 2009: 124 Program Students Fall 2010: 191 Program Students Fall 2011: 241 Program Students 10 NAU Total International Student Population: – 973 students from 62 different countries – Largest populations from the Middle East and from China – NAU CIE also employs a Sponsored Student Coordinator to work with our Middle Eastern student population
Common Stereotypes of Chinese Students “They are really good at science, especially Math…” “They don’t actually want to learn; they just want good grades” “They never answer questions in class or participate in discussions.” “They never make any effort to talk with anyone other than those who are also from China."
Academic Experience of Students in China • A score-oriented learning behavior ---- The imprint of “Gao Kao” • A one-way teaching (grading) system Why? China’s current conditions/culture
What is Gao Kao?Gao Kao: The National Higher Education EntranceExamination; the “Chinese SAT” The sole criteria determining whether or not a student is allowed to go to college Considered the “destiny determinant” This is the foundation of China’s test-oriented education system The main impact on student learning behavior
Learning in the Chinese Classroom • Lecture-based courses • Critical thinking is not encouraged • Less faculty-student interaction • Exam oriented: cramming; memorization
How Cultural Expectations ImpactChinese Student Learning One Child Policy + Fierce Competition High expectations from parents Focus on certain majors Clear Objective of studying in the U.S. Academic success – most important goal!
NAU Chinese Website: cn.nau.edu Current Students Admitted Students Prospective Students Alumni Visiting Scholars
NAU Chinese Newsletter An outreach tool to connect and inform current Chinese students, alumni and new/existing partner institutions about current happenings at NAU • NAU facts • Current Events • Highlights of Colleges and Departments • Successful stories of Alumni • Career Opportunities
Social Media Outreach Chinese Facebook Chinese Twitter China Student Forum
International Student Support :University Collaboration NAU Campus Wide Student NAU International Student Academic Support: Specific Academic Support:• SI (Supplemental Instruction) • International Academic Advisor• Math Success Program • The AcES Program• 1:1 Tutoring Appointments • Language Transition Support Leaders• English Writing Center • Conversation Partners• Business Communication Center • PIE Supplemental Evening Classes• Gateway Student Success Center • International Student focused courses: Programs: – NAU 100: University Transitions – Academic Coaching (international section) – Career Planning – ANT 211: Anthropology of Everyday – Resume/Personal Statements Life
International Academic Support:CIE and NAU Academic Advisor Collaboration • Student support communication and collaboration • Faculty needs regarding international student support • International Exchange/non-degree seeking enrollment cooperation • Identification of instutional processes that can be improved for international students • PIE to Major transitions—in class presentations and translated documents • Monthly cross-campus contact meetings for confirmation, review and input regarding academic support for international students.
Academic Support:China Initiatives Specific • Translation of important documents to ensure understanding • Semester monitoring of degree progression and graduation dates • Mid-term and semester grade monitoring • Probation outreach • Invasive Outreach • Collaboration with Student Affairs Faculty • Academic Glossary –(Chinese translation) • Graduation, Transcript, Diploma Assistance
New Program Student:Meetings within the ChinaInitiatives Division Meetings Include: • Review of syllabi and course schedule • Introduction to LOUIE and BB Learn •Introductory meeting within the first 3 weeks of • Degree progress, transfer credit and the new semester. enrollment dates • PIE Transitions •Students meet with Advising Coordinator and • Faculty Communication Student Specialist • Midterm Grades and GPA calculator • On-Campus Academic Resources •Meetings are with 2-3 students and last about 30 • Academic Probation and Suspension minutes. • Student Clubs and Organizations • Chinese Student website and Chinese Student Scholar Association
Cultural Considerations for AcademicAdvising of Chinese Students Cultural Norm Advising ConsiderationsSocial Relationships:Comfortable with hierarchical •Explain who you are, what you do,relationships and clear behavioral and how you can help the student.expectations.Harmony vs. Truth: •Explain that we expect ALL Students tend to avoid conflict, students to seek out help on theirconfrontation, criticism and own.controversy. Attention topreserving harmony and “saving •Direct outreach may be necessary.face.”
Cultural Considerations for Academic Advising of Chinese Students Cultural Norm Advising ConsiderationsFriendship:Longtime friends treated like family. • Implications for cheating andFeel obligated to help each other Academic IntegrityRelational reciprocity.Roles of Rules and Regulations:Believe more in personal relationships • Students may persist after being than rules and procedures told “no”Time Consciousness:More focus on the past and the long- • Focus on graduation. Graduate term future School preparation.
Quotes from Students—English Language “English became the biggest problem in my life. I have been studying English for no less than 10 years, but American people still could not clearly understand what I wanted to say. In order to finish a [group] project, teammates usually have many meetings to discuss the detail of the project. Because I still did not get used to communicating with American students, I always remained silent at the meeting. Other teammates did not consider I tried my best to make any contribution to the project. I am sure I scored low on peer review.” --Zhang Chi B.S. Economics 2009 “I couldn’t understand what the teacher said in class because of the unfamiliar accent and the fast speaking speed. I felt frustrated but I didn’t give up. I started to learn everything from zero, yes like a new born baby. I became a hard-working person watching English movies all the time and imitating the US accent and the pronunciation. Ever since my English improved, I began to like the way teachers instruct the classroom, which was, teachers barely talk in the class, instead they prefer to give clues to lead students to think independently.” --Li Yi B.A. English 2009
Quotes from Students—US classroom“In China, when we study, we only need to listen and take notes, but in the US the mode of teaching is so different. Teachers like everyone in class making discussion, thinking by themselves and making their own conclusions, rather than read the textbooks and make notes for students. Teachers attached a great importance to teamwork . This activity greatly inspired my interest in learning.” --Rong Hua B.S. Finance 2009“Study is so different in the US—I have to learn to think differently. In China, they teach you the answer to the problem In the US, they teach you how to solve the problem” --Xu Zhikun B.S. Geology expected 2012“The life in the US adapts to extroverts, and communications with each professor is important. Study in the United States focuses more on participation, assignments and discussions if the students want a high GPA.”—Gu Fengsucheng B.A. English 2009
Quotes from Students—Self Confidence “ I had a hard time picking up school my first semester. I was not able to get everything from class because of the language. Every professor had their own ways of speaking and styles of teaching. I usually had to spend time adjusting to different teacher’s style. Additionally, the textbooks were so hard to understand. It usually took me 3x the average student to complete a reading. But I learned something valuable to me, that is, always ask. Americans are like this, when you need something, say it, or otherwise no one will be helping you.” –Liu Jia B.S Journalism 2009 “The most challenge for me was passing the TOEFL exam. I was a little worried about the exam at the end of the semester. However, all my instructors told me they believe I have the ability to pass and they would love to help me if I had any difficulties of it. It was the first time I had an idea about the way these American educators educate students. They prefer giving encouragement rather than frustrating students. Without their positive attitude towards me, I am not sure I had enough confidence to overcome all these obstacles that time.” --Yang Chang B.S. Political Science 2009
Academic Advising Considerations:Working with International Students • Be Patient • Check for understanding. • Let the student start the conversation • Encourage group advising sessions. • Keep language simple for best understanding. Avoid slang and idioms. • Learn about students’ home culture. Ask non-controversial questions. • Recognize indicators of cultural misunderstanding in communication
Academic Advising Considerations:Working with International Students• Do not make assumptions about students’ language ability or culture• Be accessible and timely through email—especially appointment requests.• Recognize many students may not know US university vocabulary• Be aware international students may not know things we expect American students to know• Encourage students to get involved in student organizations and activities• Written references are helpful for international students
Questions or Comments? Kathleen McKeiver. M.Ed Coordinator : International Academic Advising Northern Arizona University Kathleen.McKeiver@nau.edu and Bruce Feng Wang Executive Assistant: China Initiatives Northern Arizona University Feng.Wang@nau.edu
References References American International Education Foundation. (n.d.). Pre-departure orientation for Chinese students. Retrieved from http://china-nafsa.aief-usa.org Institute of International Education. (2011). Open doors fact sheet: China. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org Northern Arizona University Center for International Education. (2011). Annual report 2010-2011. Retrieved from http://international.nau.edu/communications/annual_report.html Sino American 1+2+1 Dual Degree Program: Collection of 1+2+1 Graduates Experience at US Universities (2010). 3rd Edition. Compiled by American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the China Center for International Education Exchange.