Plymouth State University — China Office

April 6th, 2014 by Tim

by Dick Hage, Coordinator of International and Domestic Admissions

Plymouth State University efforts to engage international recruitment partners around the globe are focused on ethics, quality, and reputation. A United States Consulate public affairs officer in Shanghai advised a group from American universities, “Be sure you know your partners. Your institution is only as ethical as the least ethical partner you have, your quality is only as good as your worst quality partner, and your reputation is only as good as your least reputable partner.”

Following that advice, PSU is pleased to announce our partnership with United Education and Investments (UEI), and the opening of our PSU China Office in Chengdu, China. United Education Investments professionals have offices in both the U.S. and China, and more than a century of combined experience of dedicated commitment to their students.

In the accompanying photo, from left to right, U.S. Consulate General, Chengdu Education Specialist Lily Li and Chief Consular Officer Gregory Marcus pause for a picture with PSU China Office Executive Director Dan Plaut and Vice Executive Director, Misha Cao during a joint presentation on U.S. higher education and student visa policies. Such activity is emblematic of what Dan, Misha, and the UEI team do in support of PSU.

Following last October’s visit to Plymouth, Dan and Misha said of PSU, “Our time there, most especially our interaction with you all, did nothing but augment our previous belief that PSU is a very special place … and thus an institution with which we would very much like to be, and look forward to, working with very closely.

Dan and Misha will visit Plymouth again this spring, working with faculty and staff to advance plans for the development of PSU partnerships with Chinese high schools and universities; utilizing long-term, integrated or short-term, intensive U.S. higher education preparation programs, including programs for Chinese students pursuing 2+2, 3+1 and other joint-degree programs.

Our PSU China Office is already engaged in the development of promotion campaigns to recruit and screen prospective Chinese students for study here in Plymouth. United Education Investments is one of 16 formal international recruiting partnerships developed through the PSU Admission Office over the past 15 months, and is unique among them in establishing a Plymouth State University office abroad.

For more on this topic, see “International Recruiting Partnerships.”

GEO Offers Three New Exchange Opportunities in Europe

April 6th, 2014 by Tim

By Jess Pine, International Programming Coordinator

The Global Education Office now offers Plymouth State University students the choice of three new exchange opportunities in Europe. Through each of these new partnerships, students pay tuition to PSU and room and board at the host university. This arrangement makes these opportunities very cost effective for our students and allows us to keep tuition dollars at PSU.

The new exchange agreements are with schools in Sweden, Germany, and Spain.

Dalarna campus

In Sweden students will study at Dalarna University and take a wide variety of courses. The exchange collaboration in Spain is with Universidad de Carlos III in Madrid and gives students not only a wide variety of courses to choose from in many majors, but an opportunity to live and study right outside of Madrid. This university is accessible by train and offers an optional language course. In Germany, students may now study at Dortmund University of Applied Arts and Sciences.This agreement is currently with the

Carlos III campus

Dortmund business department. Thus, we encourage students in the College of Business Administration to consider this new exchange opportunity.

The application deadline for the fall semester 2014 for these exchange programs is April 15, 2014. If students would like to study abroad in the spring semester 2015, encourage them to submit applications by October 15, 2014.

We are excited about these new exchange collaborations and are

Dortmund campus

happy to be able to offer more affordable choices for students who would like to study abroad. Please contact Jess Pine at jpine@plymouth.edu for more information about international exchange programs.

International Recruiting Partnerships

April 6th, 2014 by Tim

by Dick Hage, Coordinator of International and Domestic Admissions

Plymouth State University must quadruple its current international student enrollment if we are to meet our 10 percent of enrollment strategic goal by 2020, and provide the rich, experiential global academic and cultural environment we envision for all of our students. That goal translates into an average growth of 40 international students per year over the next six years.

Multiple approaches are being employed to achieve this important goal. International faculty and student exchange programs, articulation agreements with foreign high schools and universities, partnerships with international governmental organizations, merit-based financial awards for international students, targeted recruitment travel, collaborations with language schools, partnerships with professional recruitment agencies, and more, are all part of the mix.

Over the past 15 months, Jessica Pine and Dick Hage have secured 16 formal partnerships with agencies across the globe to promote PSU and recruit both undergraduate and graduate students. With a plan of securing approximately 25 partnerships to meet our international enrollment and global diversity goals, negotiations are ongoing with additional agencies. Our current 16 agency partnerships and the 33 countries they recruit from are:

  • Abacus Education Advisors: India
  • Adventus Education: India, Malaysia, UK, Sri Lanka
  • American Council for International Students: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Palestine, Saudi
  • Arabia, Syria, Tunis, Yemen
  • Bluechip Study USA: Norway, Sweden
  • Canam Consultants Limited: India, Kuwait, UK
  • Capstone Vietnam: Vietnam
  • College Recruiting Finland: Finland
  • Daquiprafora Intercambio: Brazil
  • iaeGlobal: Australia, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan,
  • Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, South Korea
  • Oval Office for Studies and Research: Jordan, Saudi Arabia
  • PAC Asia Services: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
  • Sindibad Education Consultancy: Saudi Arabia
  • StudyCo Pty Ltd: Iran, Libya, Pakistan
  • The Professional Network: Bangladesh, Mauritius, Nepal, Sri Lanka
  • United Education and Investments: China
  • Valmiki Group: India

Frequent meetings via Skype and other communications minimize the miles that separate us and assist the long and critical process of cultivating mutually beneficial relations with our new partners. The collegial relationships that result portend well for the environment we are building for our students.

PSU / Benin Connection

April 6th, 2014 by Tim

Houdegbe North American University of Benin

By Peng Khuan Chong, Associate Professor of Political Science

About the time in 2003 that Plymouth State College became Plymouth State University, a former  international student who studied political science here in 1973 was building his country’s first private university in Benin, West Africa. By 2004 the American style, Plymouth State-inspired university which would bear his name, the Houdegbe North American University of Benin (HNAUB), was established. Chancellor/President Octave Cossi Houdegbe’s  HNAUB started with about 200 students and in ten years has grown to 18,500 students on several campuses.

Commencement at HNAUB

Professor Peng-Khuan Chong of the Social Science Department was the keynote speaker to HNAUB’s  5,000 student matriculating class in January 11, 2014. The enthusiastic and jubilant students majored in agriculture, business, communications, computer engineering, international relations, law, medicine, nursing, political science, sociology and others in the sciences and liberal arts. Most of the students come from Benin, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and other West African countries.

HNAUB’s Main Library

It is hoped that PSU students will take the opportunity to study in HNAUB and experience the vibrant, friendly and beautiful country of Benin. PSU faculty and staff have had excellent exchanges with their  HNAUB counterparts, and this coming fall some students from HNAUB will attend PSU.

The Global Education Office is a good place to start this next exciting adventure in international education.

 

 

PSU’s Global Ambassadors—Students Mentoring Students

April 6th, 2014 by Tim

PSU’s Global Ambassadors—Students Mentoring Students

By Jess Pine, International Programming Coordinator, and Jane Barry, International Student Advisor

The Global Ambassador Student Leadership program, now in its second year, has become a showcase program that highlights the affirmative power of student-to-student mentoring as it pertains to international student success and retention. Student mentoring programs are considered best practice in the international education environment due, in part, to the positive outcomes and connections that are made as a result of shared perspectives. Effective international peer mentoring programs allow for both parties to gain from the partnership in a myriad of ways—increased confidence, self-reliance, increased comfort in a new setting, greater cultural awareness, outlets for meeting new people and forming friendships, as well as a greater sense of autonomy and independence as a student.

Our Global Ambassadors (GAs) are matched up with incoming international students prior to the start of the school year. They communicate with their mentees early and, as soon as the new students arrive on campus the GAs guide and support them as they acclimate to a new environment.  These activities are as varied as touring the surrounding area, discussing differences and challenges of American classroom culture, studying together in the library, attending campus events, or simply going out for coffee.   GA mentors have gone through cross-cultural awareness and leadership training, and are well supported and guided by the professional staff of the Center for Global Engagement (CGE).  Some past GA mentors have expressed their own growth and satisfaction, saying:

  • “One of my greatest achievements is seeing the international students thrive at Plymouth.”
  • “Being an international student myself, holding this position has helped me learn and grow as an individual.”
  • “I now see the international students around campus … and they are full of smiles telling me how great they are “getting along here in academics, sports and socially.”
  • “I have gained confidence and my leadership skills have improved.”

Global Ambassador applications for the 2014-2015 academic year are currently being reviewed. While the review process is not yet completed, it already appears as though PSU will have yet another group of peer mentors who will be excellent supporters and friends to our new international students.

Faculty Profile: Mziyanda Mancam

April 6th, 2014 by Tim

by Debra Regan, Director of the Global Education Office

This semester Plymouth State University welcomed visiting professor Mziyanda Mancam from South Africa to the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance. Mziyanda is the outreach coordinator, choreographer, and production director of JazzArt Dance Theatre in Cape Town. PSU Director of Dance Amanda Whitworth began working with Mziyanda last summer when JazzArt Dance Theatre hosted one of her former students, now alumna, Annamaria Klucevsek for an internship.

Mziyanda is one of South Africa’s most exciting young talents in dance. His choreographic and teaching excellence has been recognized and applauded internationally over the past several years. Most recently, Mziyanda was selected as one of three choreographers to represent Africa at the CROSSINGS International Choreographers Showcase through the Institut Francais in Johannesburg. This is a tremendous honor and experience for Mziyanda and solidifies his reputation as a passionate and collaborative choreographer. Similarly, he trains advanced level dancers in a variety of dance genres through the Artscape Center which is home to JazzArt Dance Theatre.

View some of his work online at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XEcjnLi_H8
(forward to 17:00-20:07 for his works)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5BA2uS0fB0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENko7p5QJgo

Photographs of recent choreography are on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.223710214458397.1073741836.135831139912972&type=1

Mziyanda is teaching three PSU courses this spring, presenting informal talks on dance-related topics, and providing guest lectures and discussions in selected courses.

 

 

International Student Athletes

December 5th, 2013 by Tim

What does Plymouth State University’s internationalization mission and Division III non-scholarship athletics have in common?  One common link is PSU international alumnus Claes Joakim Frisk, executive director of Bluechip – Study USA in Goteborg, Sweden. Since Joakim’s graduation and return to Sweden in 1986, he has sent numerous exceptional international students to his beloved alma mater.

This year, 25 international students — 53 percent of our undergraduate international enrollment — proudly wear Panther green.  They represent seven countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Peru, and Sweden, and they are wonderful ambassadors of PSU.

Overall, our international student athletes excel in the classroom, in their sports, and as leaders in our community.  Half of PSU international student athletes are honor students, , 70% are at 3.0 GPA and above, and 100% are in good academic standing.

Their predominant sports are hockey, skiing, and soccer.  While they are stars on the ice, slopes, and turf, many are also stars in the classroom and on campus as community assistants, global ambassadors, lab assistants, office assistants, student senators, tutors, volunteers, student employees, and more.

Much credit must be given our Athletic Department administration and coaches for their “student first, athlete second” philosophy and for their higher GPA standards for athletic participation.

Joakim Frisk is one of the prides of PSU Athletics. Joakim made his mark at Plymouth State as a student, mid-fielder soccer player, and community ambassador, and continues to make his mark on PSU through the high-caliber students who come to us through his personal counseling. Following are two recent graduates, among scores of Bluechip examples, who exemplify all that the University hopes for in internationalizing our community.

Martina Ryberg, from Stockholm, Sweden; a member of the class of 2013; a graduate of the  communication and media studies program; earned President’s List designation; served as an international fellow in our Center for Global Engagement; a member of the PSU ski team; was a USCSA National Giant Slalom Champion; and led PSU to first ever women’s national title.  Coach Andrew Gannon refers to Martina as a true global citizen who excels in all facets of life and continues to represent the University with distinction.

Jack Astedt, from Angelholm, Sweden; a member of the class of 2013; a graduate of the marketing program; was a goal for the men’s ice hockey team; was a two-time MASCAC All Academic Team recipient; earned the 2013 Paul E. Arold Male Athlete of the Year; played on the 2013 Division II/III All-New England Team; is a PSU record holder for wins, goals against average, and shutouts; and led PSU to its second straight MASCAC regular season title; signed a professional tryout agreement with the Peoria Rivermen in October. Coach Craig Russell ’03 says, “Jack was a rock for us on the ice, but especially off, in the classroom, and in the citizenship example he set for others on campus.”

Thanks to our growing number of quality connections abroad, the future of PSU’s internationalization goal is looking bright, and in no small part due to our sports offerings and sound athletic philosophy.

Best Practices for Working with International Students

December 4th, 2013 by Tim

by Anil Waghe, Associate Professor, Atmospheric Science and Chemistry Department

Many students and even some faculty and staff members at Plymouth State University do not find the time or opportunity to visit foreign countries. International students bring this opportunity to our door with their diverse views and vibrant culture.  A diverse and inclusive image of Plymouth State University will only be upheld by our contributions and dedication.

International students leave their friends, family, and loved ones behind to come here for excellent educational and social experiences. Our best advocates and recruiters are all of our students who get a positive impression of us.

There are some barriers that keep a free flow of ideas from international students. Language and cultures usually keep them from mixing with other students in the class. Giving group assignments to students with diverse backgrounds is one way to break this barrier. This will help our domestic and international students learn to respect and appreciate each other’s culture and point of views. They may not necessarily agree with each other’s ideas, but they understand each other more this way. This will benefit all students.

Many international students are used to working on problems in a different way that sometimes makes it hard for them to answer, even if they know the answers. One of the ways to tackle this issue is by rephrasing the questions or asking students to re-word the problem.

Understanding problems of international students is not a difficult or laborious job. In fact, there are many services available right here at PSU that can help our international students to thrive. PSU’s Center for Global Engagement offers an excellent service for international students to take exams in their office. Professional and helpful staff can proctor exams and rephrase questions if students need help in that regard. Of course, students and faculty members must work out an arrangement with the Center for Global Engagement to do this before exam time.

As a part of being global inclusive community, you may do the following things

  • Revisit examples in your lectures and make them more globally oriented.
  • Rephrase important concepts and repeat it if you see puzzled faces. Missing a single word or phrase, or using American idioms often makes it hard for a non-native speaker to understand the idea.
  • Post PowerPoint presentations on Moodle so students can take notes on printed slides. This is also useful for slow-note-taking domestic and international students.
  • Talk to experts or friends to get ideas and suggestions. The Center for Global Engagement has splendid resources.
  • Communicate regularly with international students, as some of them may be shy.

Anil Waghe was born in Mumbai, the largest city and financial capital of India. He studied at University of Mumbai and Indian Institute of Technology for his BSc and MSc degrees. Professor Waghe earned his PhD from University of Maine and did postdoctoral work at the University of Oklahoma before coming to Plymouth State University.

PSU Writing Center: A Welcoming Place for All Writers

November 26th, 2013 by Tim

The PSU Writing Center is an excellent place for ESOL students to visit while they are working on their writing assignments. One-to-one, individualized conferences allow students the opportunity to ask about cultural references, grammatical rules and conventions, and general expectations of writing at an American university. A weekly appointment can be especially beneficial. The Writing Center welcomes all ESOL students.

The Writing Center is staffed by a diverse group of students and professionals from various disciplines. We assist students with course-related writing or any other writing task they have, such as resumes, scholarship essays, etc. We help at any stage of the writing process, whether brainstorming ideas, creating outlines, sharing a draft or partial draft, responding to professors’ comments, checking mechanics and grammar, or citing sources. We work with writers of all levels, and we strive be friendly and supportive at all times.

Conferences can be as short as five minutes or as long as an hour. After the conference, the consultant will write a few sentences on the visit slip about what was done during the session and what the writer plans to do next. This information is not evaluative—we’re not here to judge the writers who visit. If the writer is working on course-related writing, we email the report to the student’s professor. This is good news for the writers who visit, because we hear that professors like knowing that students are taking care with their writing.

plymouth.edu/office/writing-center/

 

Dr. Osama Taani

November 26th, 2013 by Tim

Inspired by his father, an archaeologist, and his love of history, Dr. Osama Taani was born and grew up in a historical town in Jordan (one of the “Decapolis,” the Graeco-Roman confederation of ten cities).

After finishing high school in Jordan, Dr. Taani moves to Iraq to study mathematics. At the University of Mosul, he pursues his graduate studies in applied mathematics in the College of Computer and Mathematical Sciences and earned his MSc in Numerical Optimization in 2001. Dr. Taani returned to his hometown in Jordan to teach elementary and secondary mathematics in the Ministry of Education. He then moved to Saudi Arabia to teach elementary and middle school mathematics. While in Saudi Arabia he implemented the Interactive Learning System and taught the American curricula bilingually.

Wanting to pursue his PhD in Financial Mathematics, Dr. Taani moved to New Mexico State University to study and do research. He taught mathematics courses in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and at a local high school.  After teaching mathematics in different levels and several countries, he found that his new field (Financial Mathematics) might isolate him from students and embed him in industry. Dr. Taani realized that helping students to break the anxiety wall, which prevents students from enjoying the benefits of real life mathematics, is what makes him happy. He decided to change his plan and research interest to mathematics education. Dr. Taani decided to integrate history of mathematics in mathematics education. His research focuses on using original sources in classroom teaching. As the famous mathematician Niels Henrik Abel observed: It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. By doing so, students will live and enjoy the experience of mathematical creations, without an intermediary interpreter. Dr. Taani, in his recent paper, showed that how incorporating the history of mathematics in his teaching provides students with both flexible thinking and opportunities for comparison, as well as improved creative thinking while creating a network of ideas.

In Summer 2011, he moved from New Mexico to New Hampshire to start his career at PSU. Dr. Taani teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers in online and face-to-face formats. He uses many different pedagogical tools to help students learn. Manipulatives are used extensively to enrich students’ pedagogical and content knowledge, historical sources are integrated, technology is used to support learning, and both the flipped classroom model and Inquiry Based Learning model are implemented.

In addition to participating in several campus-wide committees, Dr. Taani serves as the mathematics graduate programs coordinator. He also interacts and serves the international students body at PSU and ELS center. Outside of classroom he keeps busy with his wife and three children. He enjoys hiking, fishing, traveling, and canoeing. Dr. Taani is pleased to work at PSU and enjoys living in the Plymouth community that he describes as a great place to work, live, and raise kids.