by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published March 30, 2020
Ensuring that all graduate students, both domestic and international, are ready to contribute to the job market is one of the core values of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) USA along with the recommendations of the Higher Education Advisory Council recently recognized the school’s efforts in this area with its Best Practices in International Enrollment Management Award.
The award cites the SEAS 360° Professional Development Program, which is a collaboration between the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, International Student Services, Alumni Relations, Blackstone Launchpad and Career Services, as being critical to the successful recruitment and retention of its international students.
The program, known as SEAS 360°, was created in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in response to the challenges surrounding intercultural assimilation for international graduate students in the School, particularly for those who are the only student from their respective country and domestic students with limited international experiences.
SEAS 360° enables all graduate students to participate in and earn a cost-free 25-hour Certificate of Professional Development. Eight areas of training that focus on the development and improvement of high demand “power skills,” as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), are available. The program also includes feedback from industry partners about how to enhance “soft” skills, such as the professional skills needed by international students.
“Successfully recruiting international students requires an understanding of their capabilities and a willingness to assist them in developing a sense of their roles as global citizens in preparation for a competitive labor market," says Christopher Connor, assistant dean and chief enrollment officer, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “SEAS 360° is a key differentiator in a highly competitive student market, and its impact is reflected in international graduate enrollment increases.”
According to IELTS, “The University at Buffalo, SEAS 360°, and its collaborators are an example of an outstanding international enrollment management model that sets institutional goals for recruitment, retention, and graduation of international students. The variety of internal and external stakeholders demonstrates the importance of working in unison to foster an environment where international students have equal and equitable opportunities to take full advantage of their education.”
In addition to Connor, the team includes: Jennifer Gammell, associate director of graduate enrollment management, Katie Lengel, assistant director for graduate student professional development and corporate engagement, Bethany Mazur, director of constituent and alumni engagement, Todd Brooks, annual giving officer, Betty Johnson, senior staff assistant, Lindsay DiAngelo, graduate recruitment coordinator and Lauren Rothschild, graduate academic coordinator, all from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Ed Brodka and Holly Justice, career counselors, Office of Career Services; Kate Tudini, assistant vice provost and director, Office of International Student Services; Jude Butch, senior associate director of student engagement, Office of Student Engagement; Hadar Borden, program director, UB Blackstone LaunchPad; and Jim Wehrfritz, an alumnus of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and retired executive/project manager, Exxon Mobil Corporation.
UB will be presented with the award at the 2021 NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
IELTS USA provides English language assessment literacy to support strategic international enrollment management initiatives that link admissions and recruitment practices to institutional support programs at their network of more than 3,400 higher education institutions and organizations.