What’s Happening in International Education at Northwest University?
While the pandemic has certainly impacted every aspect of life, it has not stopped International Education at Northwest University from thriving as we continue to serve International students as they pursue their educational goals.
Preparing for New Students
Fall is recruitment season, and our team has been working hard to make sure people know about the amazing programs at Northwest University. We had a great time learning how to navigate virtual recruitment fairs and speaking with prospective students from around the world. During this time, we were able to tell interested students about our new majors, the positives of small classrooms with personal connections, and the opportunities that stem from obtaining a degree at NU (check out our Alumni spotlight). Our President was even able to send a message to potential students in Spanish!
- We offer over 70 majors. New majors include Audio Production and User Experience Design
- You will know your professors, and they will know you. Our Student-to-Faculty Ratio is 12:1
- Nu has an International population of 9.5%, with 35 countries represented on-campus
- Our international alumni now work at successful companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google
Of course, the global pandemic has meant altering our methods of education so that every student can learn in a safe environment. To that end, we have adopted a Hyflex modality for our CELE, Undergraduate, and Graduate classes. This means that students attend classes in person with social distance measures in place for half of the week, and then virtually for the other half of the week through synchronous learning. While we prefer to see our students in person, we have been amazed at the positive results of Hyflex learning.
CELE Instructor, Nikki Beckenhauer, preparing for a Hyflex CELE class
The International Education Department also has a thriving Short-Term Program which we have adapted to become a virtual program. Our short-term programs are customizable and focus on ESL, cultural learning, networking, and more. The change to virtual short-term programs has been exciting as it opens the door for more students to attend from the safety of their home.
Additionally, throughout the summer we hosted Virtual Talk Time to connect students with domestic students and help them practice conversational English. We also hosted a virtual graduation ceremony for students graduating from our CELE program.
CELE Virtual Graduation. We are proud of our graduated students!
Caring for Our Students
In 2020 our staff has been further compelled to advocate and care for our international students. During much unrest and unease, it has been our intention to create a safe place for our students. Some of our advocacy efforts included:
- During the height of the pandemic, we were able to find masks for our visiting scholars, provide emotional support while students frantically searched for flights home, solicit help to ensure they all found flights, and provided rides to the airport. We also prepared care packages so that students knew that we were there for them.
- During the unrest in our area, we made sure to stay connected with our students and ensure their safety however necessary.
- We joined forces with NAFSA (National Association of International Educators) to advocate for reversing the SEVP policy regarding international students learning in the U.S during Fall 2020. We were thankful to see that guidance rescinded.
- Our latest advocacy efforts have been to, once again, join with NAFSA in petitioning against the recent limitations on student’s duration of study.
Here at NU, we truly believe that we are our international students’ home away from home. We will continue to care and advocate on behalf of every international student that studies with us.
A Message from Our Director
Lastly, we would like to leave you with a message from the Director of International Education at Northwest University, Li Lowry.
“Many of us would agree that 2020 is a year that we would not easily forget. No matter who you are, what position you hold, and the field you are in, we have experienced a sense of loss, uncertainty, and fear. This could not be truer than for those of us in the international education sector, where a vibrant worldwide student mobility that was brought to a halt due to the unprecedented pandemic. With border closures and travel restrictions, our world of learning and meeting shifted from in-person to virtual. What an adjustment it is for us! We know that in general, humans flourish only when we are in relationship with other human persons. However, at the International Education Department at Northwest University, we are a genuine, resilient community who love God and the people we serve. We know we can overcome any obstacles because we are never working alone. We know our virtual world is only temporarily. It will not be long before we can meet in person again.”
Our Director of International Education, Li Lowry, worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to meet the needs of all international students at NU