The mandate for ISSS to provide programming for our student & scholar population is clear. The mandate to determine which programming to provide is much less so. Therefore, ISSS has worked to develop a theory-backed framework around which to construct our program offerings in order to ensure they support holistic development and provide appropriate support for the unique circumstances and challenges presented to our international student & scholar population.
By synthesizing the best and most recent research on student thriving and international student success in the US setting, we have developed four primary programming objectives for the ISSS office. These objectives are used to guide the current operations of the office and the development of new programs and functions. Though the research explored highlights international student development, ISSS invites international scholars to all ISSS functions and recognizes scholars as significant members of the Baylor international community.
ISSS Programming Objectives
By following theory-backed practices and research, ISSS will strive to provide the following opportunities through our program offerings:
Celebrate Home Cultures: Students will be given opportunities to celebrate and share the unique aspects of their home cultures, therefore strengthening their ties to their homes and enriching the Baylor community.
Foster Intercultural Understanding: Students will be exposed to US culture as well as the unique cultures of their peers in ways that promote dialogue and respect.
Provide Holistic Support: Students will be connected to resources and opportunities to thrive in their transition to Baylor, their time at Baylor, and beyond.
Promote a Sense of Belonging: In addition to belonging to a distinct a community of international student and scholars, students will be valued as integral parts of the larger Baylor and Waco community.
ISSS Programming Overview
Please see below for a brief overview of the ways in which different ISSS initiatives meet each of the four different programming objectives.
Every student, whether they are from Dallas or Dubai, brings an important story and culture with them to campus. ISSS creates ways for international students to celebrate and share their home culture while on campus. Because we believe that Baylor as a whole is most beautiful when it reflects the beauty of its unique individuals, our desire is not for students to leave behind their home culture, but to bring their home with them when they come, thereby enriching the Baylor community. In order to promote this, we create opportunities for students and scholars to share their history, their language, their music, their cuisine, and so much more.
As our students prepare to enter an increasingly multicultural workforce and world, developing intercultural competencies are a vital part of a student’s growth. At ISSS, we work to create learning and exposure opportunities for our international students and scholars to engage with US culture as well as the cultures of their international peers.
The ISSS office serves as a conduit, connecting our students to people and resources around campus. We seek to be an office and group of staff members who can assist students in any needs that arise during their time at Baylor, from academic advising to physical and mental health, from housing questions to transportation and food needs. ISSS proactively connects students and scholars to the places and people around campus who can meet those needs.
A strong sense of belonging is one of the key determinants for college student success. International students in particular can face additional barriers to achieving a sense of belonging when encountering the unique barrier of linguistic, social, and even culinary comprehension. ISSS creates opportunities for students and scholars to develop that sense of belonging, specifically by emphasizing the important part they play as members of the ISSS community, the Baylor community, and the Waco community at large.
This framework was not built in a vacuum. Many thanks are owed to scholars in the field of student--and specifically international student--development theory. Please see below for a bibliography of articles and resources International Student & Scholar Services found as instrumental to creating a bedrock foundation upon which to build our ISSS Programming Framework...
Ballo, A., Mathies, C., & Weimer, L. (2019). Applying Student Development Theories: Enhancing International Student Academic Success and Integration. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 11(Winter), 18–24.
Briggs, P., & Ammigan, R. (2017). A collaborative programming and outreach model for international student support offices. Journal of International Students, 7(4), 1080–1095.
Johnson, L. R., Seifen-Adkins, T., Sandhu, D. S., Arbles, N., & Makino, H. (2018). Developing culturally responsive programs to promote international student adjustment: A participatory approach. Journal of International Students, 8(4), 1865–1878.
Montgomery, K. A. (2017). Supporting Chinese undergraduate students in transition at U.S. colleges and universities. Journal of International Students, 7(4), 963–989.
Museus, S. D. (2014). The culturally engaging campus environments (CECE) model: A new theory of success among racially diverse college student populations. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (pp. 189 –227).
Rose-Redwood, C., & Rose-Redwood, R. (2018). Fostering successful integration and engagement between domestic and international students on college and university campuses. Journal of International Students, 8(3), 1267–1273.
Wu, H., Garza, E., & Guzman, N. (2015). International Student’s Challenge and Adjustment to College. Education Research International, 2015, 1–9.