International Programs increase in size

Mackenzie Mathews

The Office of International Programs has undergone several significant changes within the last year.

Raza Tiwana, chief international officer of Global Recruitment, said the program has been divided into two segments known as “inbound” and “outbound.”

Inbound supports international students who have come to the United States in order to attend WKU. Outbound supports WKU students who wish to study abroad. 

Tiwana said it was important, particularly to President Gary Ransdell, that sending and bringing in students identify with separate sources.

“Everything was under one umbrella first, but Dr. Ransdell wanted us to have different expertise,” Tiwana said.

In an email sent to faculty and staff, Ransdell said the changes have already shown proficiency in allowing staff to work according to their skills and understanding.

“These structures are proven to be quite efficient and effective in allowing people to focus on specific responsibilities designed to achieve strategic outcomes,” he said.

Tiwana said bringing international students to universities affects diversity in student population, and with United States high school graduation rates on the decline, international recruiting can help build enrollment. Reorganizing the offices was the next step to developing WKU’s programs.

“A lot of institutions are doing restructuring, but I think we’re ahead of the game,” Tiwana said. “The commitment of this institution and President (Ransdell) is far ahead of other institutions that are now realizing the value of bringing students into the US.”

In almost a decade, WKU’s international student population has grown by about 800 students. President Ransdell and Provost Gordon Emslie are aiming to reach 2,000 students within the next three to five years, Tiwana said.

There are several programs that offer students help if they find trouble reaching certain enrollment requirements, especially in perfecting the English language. The English as a Second Language Program takes students who have met all enrollment requirements, besides speaking English, and eases them into the language.

“We have resources that help students adjust to the culture,” Tiwana said.

In the same email, Ransdell said WKU was devoted to serving each student from meeting them in their home country, to watching them walk at graduation.

“Our intent is to provide a complete experience to all undergraduate international students from being a prospect in their native lands to graduation from WKU,” he said.

Tiwana said all faculty and staff have worked to bring students in, but academic advising has really stepped up to help students adjust to life in the United States and at WKU. It all equates to retention, which helps the WKU compete with other countries and universities.

Tiwana said WKU has accomplished a global sense throughout campus in that each office and program has an international component.

“People are defining what ‘international’ means on their campus, and we’ve been able to achieve that with inbound and outbound,” he said.