Orientation overhaul: INTO virtually welcomes 2020 cohort to US amidst COVID-19

INTO The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s new student cohort participates in the center’s first virtual orientation.

When the COVID-19 crisis pushed US universities to close campuses and move courses online six months ago, one could scarcely imagine that the fall 2020 semester would find new students starting classes from behind their computer screens.

Even so, the student experience teams at INTO’s US centers have quickly adapted to support students through the unimaginable since the start of the pandemic.  Earlier this month, they overhauled orientation to virtually welcome a new cohort of international students to their respective universities.

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Highlighting inclusiveness and internationalization through design

Oregon State University’s International Living-Learning Center (ILLC) is symbolic of many things: a shift in the approach to serving international students; the power of collaboration; and the globalization of higher education. The modern, elegant aesthetic reflects the building’s purpose – to represent the institution’s vision of a 21st century education. Continue reading “Highlighting inclusiveness and internationalization through design”

Everything counts in large amounts: even the smallest things contribute to a quality student experience

Group of studentsA couple of months ago, staff from Boston University marshalled themselves to phone all 4,300 freshmen and transfer students – just to see how they are getting on. Even the Dean of Students Kenn Elmore and the Provost got in on the act.

Closer to home at the University of Manchester, the new Directorate of Student Experience – created and delivered an Ask ME campaign during orientation week. More than 2000 academic and administrative staff including the University President, Dame Nancy Rothwell, volunteered to wear a badge with the words Ask ME emblazoned on it. The idea was that any student could approach anyone wearing the badge and ask them anything. Who are you? Where is the closest Starbucks? How do I register for class? Continue reading “Everything counts in large amounts: even the smallest things contribute to a quality student experience”

Universities will need to come out fighting in new era of HE funding

The almost universal pressure on higher education within the developed world has been on my mind recently. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the dramatic changes being faced by the UK HE sector – a situation in which, for the first time in years, our partner universities are being made to feel the pressure.

In two moves the UK Government has signalled an intent to expose the sector to the full force of consumerism and for the most part UK universities appear ill equipped to respond. The removal of the cap on recruitment of AAB students and the 8% quota reduction at universities charging more than £7,500 pa is going to make the next recruitment year is interesting to say the least.

There will be winners and losers and of course lots of change, but I’m not sure we’ll end up with a better sector. Some universities will thrive, others will have to focus on their teaching mission and realign their staff and operating models to the reality that only world-class research can be subsidised through student fees.

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