Western Education will look to its newly created Global Initiatives Office to strengthen the faculty’s international presence and improve supports for its graduate students, university officials announced this week.
The initiative draws together the Western English Language Centre, International Student Services and International Program and Partnerships all into a single office.
Recruitment will be at the centre of the effort, explained Matt Bazely, Senior Director for Global Initiatives.
“We’re being proactive in how we’re dealing with this,” said Bazely. That includes making sure programs and courses match the needs of students.
Unlike some international students enrolled for a broad-based Western education, Education international students are seeking specific programs and specializations to help them expand existing professional expertise and careers.
“The idea of somebody putting their life on hold for the curiosity of pursuing a graduate degree (in education) just isn’t realistic,” he said. “It has to be relevant and get them to where they want to be.”
That could mean, for example, helping them work towards gaining a MPEd in the field of Teaching English Speakers of Other Languages – an important and popular international specialization – while embedding a project management certificate through Continuing Studies.
And once students are at Western, they need the supports that will help them reach their goals. That means cultural and language supports and helping students navigate through logistical issues such as finding child care or helping them enrol their children in elementary school.
Bazely noted there are “several hundred” international graduate students from six countries enrolled in Western Education.
“There’s a granularity to our work that the central office (of Western International) wouldn’t have the resources to do,” he said, but the Global Initiative is possible only because there is “a very collaborative relationship” between Western Education and Western International.