NYU School of Professional Studies to Host Conference on the Challenges International Students Face When Acclimating to U.S. Universities and Culture
 
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NYU School of Professional Studies to Host Conference on the Challenges International Students Face When Acclimating to U.S. Universities and Culture

“Reaching International Students: Effective Teaching in Today’s Classroom” Will Explore the Ways in Which Faculty Members and Administrators Can Work to Promote Cross-Culture Engagement That Builds Confidence and Improves Learning Outcomes

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NEW YORK, April 7, 2015 – As students from around the globe attend U.S. colleges and universities in ever-increasing numbers, there has been a deeper recognition of the special issues they face. According to a recent report by the Institute of International Education, in the last academic year, the number of international students in the U.S. grew to 886,052, up 72 percent from the number in 2000. NYU enrolled 11,164—the largest number of international students at any U.S. college or university. The NYU School of Professional Studies itself enrolled nearly 1,706 international students in the past year, a marked increase from just five years ago.

To address the academic and social barriers that international students face, the NYU School of Professional Studies (sps.nyu.edu), will host a special pedagogical conference titled, “Reaching International Students: Effective Teaching in Today’s Classroom,” for the School’s faculty members on Friday, April 24 at 7 E. 12 St. The first of its kind presented by the School, the conference will focus on developing effective strategies for teaching its diverse population of international students.

“Our international students bring their culture to our classrooms, adding a rich dimension to the teaching and learning experience; however, they often face unique challenges in adapting to the American college/university environment,” noted Lisa Springer, associate dean and clinical professor of the School’s Division of Humanities and Languages, which houses the American Language Institute (ALI). “With this event, we hope to initiate and to lead a dialogue that focuses on how we can more efficiently help them adapt to American cultural and academic life as well as how we can adapt our classroom to take full advantage of the rich diversity and the vast experience our international students can share with our domestic students.”

The conference will feature four interactive sessions that will be facilitated by faculty members and administrators who are experts in multicultural communications as well as current international students who will provide their perspectives. The session on “Cultural Difference” will provide participants with an opportunity to experience the classroom from an international student’s point of view. Discussions and exercises will center on how and why cultural differences manifest themselves in the classroom environment, as well as on the benefits of addressing these challenges in a direct manner. Pragmatic solutions will be offered that enable faculty members to successfully deal with these issues without compromising course content.

“A Two Way Street: Writing in the Multinational Classroom,” will explore assumptions underlying rhetorical practices in American academic and professional settings, including expectations of “good” writing and how those expectations might seem strange to international students. Participants will come away with practical strategies for using writing in classes and for communicating effectively with students about their written work.

In “Speaking in the Multicultural Classroom,” facilitators will touch on essential methods and techniques for encouraging discussion in the multicultural classroom, sharing best practices drawn from experience working with non-native speakers of English. The goal of this session will be to provide practical tools for encouraging speaking in the multicultural classroom.

“Global English” will introduce participants to a “new” language. Idioms, cultural references, sarcasm, and inside jokes can sometimes be lost on even the most fluent of non-native speakers of English. Speaking “Global English” widens the audience for ideas considerably, providing international students with access to complex classroom material.

By conference end, the participants will have a common framework of ideas and practices that will lead to a better understanding between faculty members and students and, in turn, to better teaching and learning outcomes.

“We hope this is the beginning of a very important discussion that will continue to evolve in the months and years to come. Our goal is to develop ways of encouraging cross-cultural engagement for all of our students,” said Springer. “Although the conference is open to NYU School of Professional Studies faculty members only, if it goes well this year, we may decide to expand this opportunity to educators from other institutions of higher learning who face the same challenges that we do. We can all benefit from a greater understanding of what these international students face, and the best practices for ensuring that they make the most of the education they receive here,” she concluded.

About the NYU School of Professional Studies
Celebrating its 80th anniversary, the NYU School of Professional Studies (sps.nyu.edu) is one of NYU’s several degree-granting schools and colleges, each with a unique academic profile. The reputation of the School of Professional Studies arises from its place as the NYU home for study and applied research related to key knowledge-based industries where the New York region leads globally. This is manifest in the School’s diverse graduate, undergraduate, and noncredit programs in fields such as Accounting, Finance, and Law; Applied Politics; Creative Cities and Economic Development; English-Language Learning; Foreign Languages, Translation, and Interpreting; Fundraising and Grantmaking; Global Affairs; Health Information Management; Hospitality and Tourism; Human Resource Management and Development; Liberal and Allied Arts; Management and Systems; Marketing; Professional Writing; Project Management; Public Relations and Corporate Communication; Publishing; Real Estate, Real Estate Development, and Construction Management; Social Entrepreneurship; and Sports Management, Media, and Business.

More than 100 distinguished full-time faculty members collaborate with an exceptional cadre of practitioner/adjunct faculty and lecturers to create vibrant professional and academic networks that annually attract nearly 5,000 degree-seeking students from around the globe. In addition, the School fulfills the recurrent continuing higher education needs of local and professional communities, as evidenced by close to 48,000 annual noncredit enrollments in individual courses, specialized certificate programs, workshops, and seminars. The School’s community is enriched by more than 28,000 degree-holding alumni worldwide, many of whom serve as mentors, guest speakers, and advisory board members. For more information about the NYU School of Professional Studies, visit sps.nyu.edu.

 

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