Editorials, Opinions

Prasad: Our commitment to international students

By
Op-Ed Contributor
Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Herald’s article, “U. Hires new international student experience program director” (Sept. 13) underscores the importance the University is placing on offering essential resources to support our international students at Brown. It also provides an opportunity to outline additional steps we are taking to address some of the concerns raised in the article, such as student access to the resources we offer to support their scholarship and to navigate Brown effectively.

Among Brown’s greatest strengths are the breadth and depth of the diversity of our community. It is only by bringing together the most talented individuals in the world, from an array of perspectives, nationalities and experiences, that we are able to fulfill our mission at the highest levels. Central to this is our community of international students.

This academic year, we welcome 257 international undergraduates and 322 international graduate students to the Brown community. These individuals join the more than 1,930 international students at Brown who collectively comprise 14 percent of our undergraduate population and 37 percent of the graduate population. Their influence and impact goes far beyond these numbers, and ensuring that they are able to thrive academically and engage fully in the Brown experience requires thoughtful and relevant support.

The hiring of a director for the international student experience highlights the most recent example of key investments that the University is making to strengthen the international student experience. As The Herald reported, we have also welcomed a new assistant provost for global engagement, launched a new international fellows program in partnership with the Graduate School, re-launched the international student advisory board and will be co-locating all of the global offices to J. Walter Wilson in January 2018. This co-location will reinforce the launch of Global Brown Community and Support, our one-stop referral service to streamline help across the more than 40 staff and multiple offices that support the international community at Brown.

This fall, we look forward to welcoming a new assistant dean of the College for international students, who will fill a critical need for dedicated academic advising and professional development for international undergraduates. In addition, a new international lounge in JWW in the spring will provide a space for this community to gather and collaborate.

We recognize that while progress has been made, more work is needed to fully support our international student scholars. We welcome feedback to shape our efforts and are planning a second installment of our international student survey this spring.

We benefit enormously from the full engagement and contributions of our international students and remain committed to ensuring that they are able to thrive during their time at Brown.

Shankar Prasad is the associate provost for global engagement and strategic initiatives. He can be reached at shankar_prasad@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and other op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com.