UVM Announces Partnership With Global Education and Recruitment Firm to Expand Internationalization Efforts
- By Jon Reidel
The University of Vermont took a major step forward in its efforts to diversify its undergraduate student population by partnering with a global leader in international student education and recruitment.
The agreement with Study Group, known for its worldwide recruiting network extending to more than 130 countries and its academic preparation programs, is expected to help UVM attract some of the seven million students estimated to be studying outside their country of birth in the next decade. The partnership is anticipated to triple the university’s current international student body of 1.8 percent within the next four to five years, starting with an inaugural class of about 50 students in January of 2014. Part of the university’s enrollment strategy, the international students will help UVM meet out-of-state enrollment goals and will not have an impact on the proportion of enrolled Vermont students.
“Study Group has an outstanding reputation of partnering with higher education institutions here and abroad to help universities recruit international students based on quality and integrity,” said UVM president Tom Sullivan. “Increasing undergraduate international student enrollment, part of the University's broad strategic action plan, will enhance the quality of the UVM experience for all members of the UVM community. We already have almost 400 international students on campus, 180 of them undergraduates, who are enriching our classrooms, student organizations, and the broader campus community. Through our partnership with Study Group we will build on this as we recruit and welcome bright, motivated students from around the world to UVM.”
Study Group is expected to help UVM recruit approximately 140 international students per year, primarily from Asia initially, then from areas such as Latin America, Europe, India, Russia, and the Middle East, among others. UVM has nearly tripled its international undergraduate enrollment from a base of 65 over the past four years, driven primarily by the US-Sino Pathways Program, a multi-component program created by the Consortium of North American Universities. International students recruited by Study Group will be initially admitted into an international pathway program. The two-term pathway sequence will be designed to prepare students academically and socially for progression to degree status with 24 to 28 credits, assuming they meet all program standards.
“This program is directly aligned with President Sullivan’s vision to diversify the undergraduate population and is a key part of his overall enrollment management plan, which includes increasing international undergraduate enrollment to 5 to 7 percent,” said Chris Lucier, vice president for enrollment management. “The partnership will enhance the student experience for all students and almost guarantees that U.S. students will develop business, political and social relationships with people from other countries. We feel strongly that partnering with an outstanding company like Study Group and its well-established worldwide network, and focus on student outcomes, is the best way to bring these students and their cultures and experiences to UVM.”
Study Group, which has a 90 percent progression rate for students advancing from its pathway programs, expects to have at least three staff members on campus. With a strong focus on student success, they will work collaboratively with UVM faculty and staff to help international students navigate those academic, social, and cultural adjustments associated with attending school in another country. UVM will deliver the academically-related portion of the pathway, however, in a departure from the group’s standard model.
“One of the things UVM wanted as part of our international recruitment strategy was to make sure we would manage all aspects of the academic experience,” said Gayle Nunley, associate provost for faculty affairs and internationalization and a faculty member in the Department of Romance Languages & Linguistics. “The academic component of the international pathway will be managed and delivered by university faculty with Study Group providing recruitment and student support services. I cannot stress enough how much work the recruitment piece is. Getting students from around the world excited about coming to UVM will take a firm of Study Group’s caliber, which has a strong on-the-ground presence and a great reputation.”
Joseph Cece, Study Group’s managing director for higher education in North America, said UVM has some notable attributes that will make it easier for Study Group’s global recruitment network of 38 offices around the world to attract high-quality students.
“We are so excited to partner with an outstanding flagship university like UVM, one of our nation’s public ivies,” said Cece. “UVM has a number of selling points that will be attractive to foreign students, including the quality and depth of its undergraduate programs. Rankings are very important to many international students and UVM’s top 100 status among U.S. institutions and top 40 ranking among publics is a huge advantage. The university’s location in relation to New York, Boston and Montreal and UVM’s beautiful campus located in a safe and vibrant city like Burlington are very attractive. Our mission is to recruit high-quality students who will be successful students and culturally enrich UVM and the local community.”