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Diversity & International Strategic Leadership Forum

Updated Information Coming July 2020


The 2020 Strategic Leadership Forum – Inclusive Support for International Students – will take place in New Orleans during the 8th Annual Diversity Abroad Conference.

Diversity Abroad will bring together institutional leaders from across the nation to explore how Chief Diversity Officers, Senior International Officers and other diversity and international education leaders can strategically collaborate to provide inclusive support for inbound international students. As diversity, equity and inclusion increasingly play a critical role in higher education, diversity and international education leaders must work to ensure both exchange and full degree international students are prepared to navigate the diversity & inclusion landscape as well as be supported as they explore their own intersectional identities, including that of being an international student.

Too often the SIOs, CDOs and other diversity and international education leaders work in silos without taking advantage of the shared goals and opportunities for collaboration that can enhance the support for and improve the success of international students. Participants of the forum will learn from inspirational speakers and panelists about the challenges and successes faced through their work to bring this important topic to light, and the lasting impacts made through their collaborative efforts. They will also have the opportunity to engage with fellow senior leaders/colleagues and ultimately walk away with a blueprint for meaningful collaboration to implement on their campus. A publication from the forum featuring the work of the group will follow.


Schedule to be Updated

12:00 - 5:00pmRegistration Open
4:00 - 4:30pm
Welcome & Introductions

Participants will be welcomed to the third annual Strategic Leadership Forum, focusing on Inclusive Support for International Students, in conjunction with the eighth Diversity Abroad Annual Conference. Participants will be placed in Learning Partner groups for later activities.

Andrew Gordon: Diversity Abroad
Kati Bell: Dominican University

4:30 - 5:30pm
Plenary & Fireside Reflections

A plenary address will be delivered with space for “fireside reflections” with participants to kick off our two-day event.


Speaker: Dr. Kelechi A. Kalu, Professor of Political Science & Founding Vice Provost, International Affairs

University of California, Riverside

6:00 - 8:30pmWelcome Dinner

7:00 – 5:30pmRegistration Open
7:30 - 8:15amBreakfast & Learning Partner Connections
8:15 - 9:15am
Exemplar & Promising Practices for Inter-Office Collaboration

As the world becomes ever more interconnected and the demographics of students change to reflect new flows of global migration, campus leaders are faced with the task of increasing access, fostering inclusion, and preparing their students to thrive in our global society, both while they are enrolled as students and after. This panel will explore how diversity offices and international offices have strategically partnered to foster inclusive environments for international students. Topics that will be considered include:

  • How can we build in measures of success for international students?
  • What types of challenges exist in breaking down barriers to international student integration?
  • What are examples of collaboration among offices to create a welcoming environment for international students in a campus community?
9:15 - 10:00 am
Think Tank: Identifying Opportunities for Better Engagement of International Students in the U.S. (Pt. 1)

Across the country there are a variety of promising practices for how the campus community can strategically collaborate to reach the goals of their individual units as well as the campus as a whole. This session will allow participants to take a deep dive into exploring collaborative opportunities to increase inclusion for international students on their respective campuses. Participants will group together to focus on one of the four outcome areas.

The outcome areas to be discussed are as follows:

  • Learning outcomes and measures of success for international students
  • U.S. cultural education: breaking through the Hollywood, USA stereotypes
  • Classroom and faculty interventions
  • Bridging the areas of cross-cultural and social justice agendas
10:00 - 10:20am
Lightning Round: Innovative Practices for Inclusive Support of International Students

Presenters will share selected innovative practices from their institutions in a “lightning round” style between think tank sessions to highlight creative solutions that are currently being implemented.

10:25 - 11:10am
Think Tank: Identifying Opportunities for Better Engagement of International Students in the US (Pt. 2)

Participants will continue their group discussions of one of the four outcome areas. They will discuss recommendations and prepare an informal group presentation for after the break. Instructions and assistance from the facilitators will be provided.

11:10 - 11:20amBreak
11:20am - 12:20pm
Think Tank: Reporting Out

Each of the Learning Partner groups will have 10-15 minutes to present and respond to questions and feedback from the larger group. 

12:20 - 12:45pm
Reflection, Goal Setting, & Closing Comments

Comments from attendees and Diversity Abroad will conclude the seminar. Facilitators will also provide time for closure and personal goal setting through a reflection activity. A publication will follow. You may be contacted to provide anecdotal statements or for permission to use your photo for the published document.


Andrew Gordon - Diversity Abroad

Kati Bell - Dominican University

Strategic Leadership Forum Planning Committee

Sherif Barsoum
New York University

Kati Bell
Dominican University of California

Lauren Chow
Babson College

Andrew Gordon
Diversity Abroad

Carol Sumner_64
Carol Sumner
Texas Tech University