Kanaan Kanaan Portland State University Middle East Student Reten6on Specialist
Quick Notes• The majority of M.E. students are from the Gulf countries (GCC). • Cultural adjustment and culture shock to life in the United States is massive for them. • Many are guided by their peers – a paGern that can lead to disastrous results. • There can be pressure from families and individual cultural missions to choose a career path that may not work for the student(s). • Some students bring “baggage” with them to the U.S. (cultural, tribal, religious, family feuds, etc.). • In general, this genera6on has grown up indulged and privileged, from aﬄuent circumstances. Most students have not needed to work prior to coming to the U.S. They have been dependent on their families for their livelihood.
Quick Notes• This privileged lifestyle leads many GCC students who come to Portland State University to expect to be served here in the same manner they’ve grown up with at home. Furthermore, their parents send them to PSU with the expecta6on that faculty and staﬀ will take care of their children in the same manner as they have. • Local and global poli6cs back home play a major role in how these students behave and perceive the world around them. They were brought up in a conserva6ve society, with non-‐democra6c poli6cal systems. • M.E. students are passive learners due to the way educa6onal systems are structured in their home countries.
Quick Notes• There, these students are not allowed to challenge the teacher (who represents an authority ﬁgure) or think independently for themselves. • They have been indoctrinated with approved material by their governments. Crea6ve and/or cri6cal thinking is not encouraged. If students there disagree with someone in a posi6on of authority, they will be retaliated against, punished, etc.
Quick Notes There is a lack of: There is an inability to: • Ambi6on, mo6va6on • Adjust to college and academic life • Seeing the “big picture” despite comple6ng IELP • Accessing resources • Fully understand college academic • Engagement life, focus, be inspired and take • Accountability their studies seriously • Trust and having faith in the • Enjoy the freedom they have by system making wise choices; alcohol and • Self-‐reliance and self-‐assurance substance abuse cases are not • Self-‐conﬁdence and a sense of uncommon purpose • Have friendships with women and • Understanding legal issues and understand gender equality ramiﬁca6ons • See that college life is not a • Planning in advance vaca6on in the U.S. All of the above factors contribute to the reten6on issues we have experienced when serving M.E. students.
Why are undergraduate M.E. students leaving PSU?• Low IELS scores. • Failing IELP, which forces them to aGend other English language schools. In repea6ng the same basic English courses, at the same levels, their overall academic 6meline is stretched out. This can result in suspension of their scholarships because of 6me limits. • Failing and repea6ng sta6s6cs classes (the Math department is the gateway to the Schools of Business Administra6on and Engineering). • Mul6ple academic warnings and lower GPAs while enrolled in academic courses at PSU result in scholarship suspensions. • Admission restric6ons: GPA below 3.0 for freshmen and below 2.25 for transfer students. • Cultural adjustment (one of the major factors for failing).
Why are potential M.E. graduate students leaving PSU? • Graduate applica6on restric6ons. • Not enough 6me and skills to prepare for the applica6on. • No condi6onal admission. • TOEFL score requirements for IELP students. • GRE requirements.
Goals • Inspire, encourage, engage, empower, s6mulate, and develop leadership skills. • Build a formalized reten6on program. • Create consistency, oﬀer clear guidance, and streamline students’ needs with a wide range of resources and connec6ons with the community. • Create core M.E. student leader posi6ons for students who can serve as role models to inspire their peers to have high academic standards. • Provide support, build trust, and make these students feel at home and welcomed. • Build personal rela6onships with current M.E. students – they represent future PSU alumni. • Encourage cultural sharing and understanding, i.e., aim for M.E. students to understand America’s cultural aﬃnity for apple pie . . .or the humor of “Seinfeld.”
NAFSA numbersAssocia6on of Interna6onal Educators es6mates that foreign students and their dependents contributed approximately $20.23 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2010-‐2011 academic year.
Net Contribution to State Economy by Foreign Students (2010-2011)
Contribution to State Economy by Foreign Students Dependents (2010-2011)
Foreign Student Contribution from Tuition/ Fees and Living Expenses (2010-2011)M.E. students represent roughly 1/3 of PSU’s interna6onal student popula6on.
Summary Proposal for M.E. student retention project1-‐ Recruitment and marke6ng strategies, and pre-‐arrival orienta6on in Arabic • Market PSU, the City of Portland, and Oregon as a safe and welcoming environment. • Interview prominent PSU alumni in M.E. countries about the impact PSU has had on their lives and careers, and showcase these tes6monials in brochures, on video, on the Web site, and more. • Assist in pre-‐university decisions and registra6on/admission/ orienta6on. • Encourage PSU administra6on at high levels – president, chancellors, etc. – to par6cipate in communica6on M.E. cultural missions.
Summary Proposal for M.E. student retention project2-‐ FY-‐Path to college a-‐ Life Balance • Orienta6on in Arabic • Smooth entry into American college life • Life stability • Balanced exposure to American culture (community engagement throughout their study at PSU/diﬀerent phases in diﬀerent years) • Housing (food, RAs and cultural competence)
Summary Proposal for M.E. student retention project2-‐ FY-‐Path to college b-‐ Academic Success Starts with English (IELP/ESL) • Con6nue introductory courses oﬀered in American experience, educa6onal system and cultural understanding. • Evaluate progress mid-‐term, each term. • Create and staﬀ mentoring and tutoring programs.
Summary Proposal for M.E. student retention project2-‐ FY-‐Path to college c-‐ College Transi6on • Create a “hands-‐on,” in-‐depth course that addresses American life and culture, as well as American law, and that would oﬀer extracurricular volunteer opportuni6es for students to get an “up close and personal” academic/working experience. This course builds on the introductory courses oﬀered. • Create a strategic, long-‐term plan of ac6on/program geared to improving GPAs and preparing students for college. This includes an academic module featuring college preparedness courses.
Summary Proposal for M.E. student retention project2-‐ FY-‐Path to college d-‐ Professional Development and Networking • Develop professional networks with U.S. companies. • Arrange for leadership training, skills training, and internships or OBT/CPT.
Summary Proposal for M.E. student retention project2-‐ FY-‐Path to college e-‐ Open Graduate Admission Discussion • Help students with applica6on prepara6on. • Reserve graduate spots for interna6onal students by gran6ng condi6onal admission. • Remove TOEFL requirements and subs6tute with full comple6ons from IELP. • Make adjustments to IELP classes to accommodate for graduate students. • Prepare students for GRE or GMAT.