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SAHE students, faculty and administrators visit China

April 2, 2013

During the Winter Break, eight SAHE graduate students traveled with CSU SAHE faculty and administrators to present at a conference at Beijing Normal University in China.

The conference, "Quality Improvement in Higher Education: the Role of Student Affairs," brought together higher education professionals from around the world, including representatives from fifteen universities in Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and the United States. All members of the CSU delegation presented and engaged in stimulating professional dialogues with conference attendees.

Course prepared students for experience

This international field experience was preceded by a course titled "Global Perspectives of Student Affairs." This three credit course highlighted various international student affairs and higher education models and whose purpose is to increase the global competencies of course participants. Students researched themes and cultural influences shaping student affairs in international higher education settings. Two field experiences were integrated into the course with eight students participating in the China field experience and five students participating in the Mexico field experience. There were also a number of campus experts and international students who served as guest presenters to help students better prepare for their field experiences.

Exchanging ideas, strategies

During their time in China, the SAHE delegation met with CSU partners at East China Normal University and Beijing Normal University, as well as colleagues at New York University Shanghai and INTO Higher Education Shanghai.  The delegation included SAHE course instructors, Oscar Felix, executive director of the Access Center; Andrea Reeve, director of the Academic Advancement Center; Dean of Students Jody Donovan; and university representatives: Vice President Mary Ontiveros, Associate Vice-President for Student Affairs Paul Thayer and Associate Legal Counsel and SAHE faculty, Jannine Mohr. Students and professionals exchanged ideas and strategies for working with international populations and discussed the cultural implications of the increasingly global environment of higher education.

While in Hong Kong, the SAHE delegation met with the leaders of the Hong Kong Student Services Association at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Discussions were based on current student affairs best practices, and learning to serve the growing diverse populations of both Hong Kong and the United States.

The group also established cultural foundations by visiting various historic sites including the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. The travelers were very impressed by the graciousness and kindness extended by their Chinese hosts during their visit. Many described the experience as both life-changing and transformative. Both students and faculty conveyed the excitement and gratitude for this experience, and see it as an opportunity to continue to strengthen partnerships between CSU and our Chinese colleagues.

“As higher education professionals and student affairs advocates,our motivation is to better understand the diverse populations we serve at CSU while also building mutually satisfying relationships to strengthen our professional practice,” said Spencer Ellis, a student in the program.

Participants in the program

The SAHE graduate student participants in the China international field experience were:

  • Zulema Sierra,
  • Daniel Hammerquist,
  • Olivia Des Chenes,
  • Chelsie Tarish-Ciscell,
  • Azra Crnogorcevic,
  • Melissa Williams,
  • Joey Kimes, and
  • Spencer Ellis.

The SAHE program is located in the School of Education within the College of Health & Human Sciences.