Working Group on International Student Support (WGISS)

Motivation
MIT has experienced a 30% increase in the international student population over the last decade to 3,244 students enrolled in Fall of 2013 from 112 countries (~29% of the total student population). MIT’s international students contribute in an astonishing number of ways to the innovation, culture and fabric of MIT. For example, by serving as officers in their residence or the student government, designing projects to improve the quality of life in communities through public service activities and their thesis research and by participating in the over 60 active student-led international and cultural groups which organize cultural and social events, professional development, and entrepreneurship workshops.

In order to remain a world class University, MIT must ensure that we are providing sufficient support for international students consistent with our mission: “to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Charge
The charge of the Working Group on International Student Support was to:

  • Review existing data for international student population (e.g. 2013 Quality of Life Survey) compared to domestic population, in particular differences between undergraduate and graduate international students;
  • Outreach to relevant groups; e.g. housemasters; student groups, graduate and undergraduate admins, Chaplains, etc.;
  • Discuss the types of specialized support international students need and the most appropriate 1st points of contact and units for providing such support;
  • Discuss coordination among service provider offices;
  • Discuss whether different organizational structures, staffing and resources would be advantageous in light of the changing needs of international students;
  • Collate list of available support programs and support structures;
  • Identify and exchange best practices, for example in creating a welcoming climate for internationals, cultural sensitivity in communications, etc.
  • Identify recommendations to enhance the educational experience of international students at MIT.

Membership
Barbara Baker, Senior Associate Dean for Students, Office of the Dean for Student Life
Jennifer Camacho, Development Assistant, Office of Global Initiatives (Staff to Committee)
Denny Freeman, Dean for Undergraduate Education, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, Director, International Students Office & Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Greg Harris, Senior Project Manager, Institutional Research, Office of the Provost
Xiaolu Hsi, Psychologist, MIT Mental Health and Counseling, MIT Medical
Maryanne Kirkbride, Clinical Director for Campus Life, MIT Medical
Jiayin Ling, Graduate Student, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Jason McKnight, Assistant Dean for Graduate Education
Sarah Mountjoy, Undergraduate Student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Julie Norman, Senior Associate Dean, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education
Christine Ortiz, Dean for Graduate Education, Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering (Chair)
David Randall, Associate Dean, Student Support Services, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education
Lydia Snover, Director of Institutional Research, Office of the Provost
Blanche Staton, Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Victor Zue, Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Reporting
draft report from the Working Group was made available on July 11, 2014 (Please note: MIT certificate authentication is required to view or download this document.).