What is an SIO? 

The Senior International Officer-- often abbreviated as SIO-- generally refers to the most senior professional at a university whose charge includes leading internationalization. The Senior International Officer as Change Agent by John D. Heyl notes the SIO designation is given to the person with full-time international responsibilities and/or is the most senior campus administrator with an explicit international portfolio. Depending on the institution, the SIO might be:  

  • The director or executive director of an office with full-time international responsibilities
  • The vice or assistant vice provost focused on international themes 
  • On smaller campuses, it may be a dean, provost, or even the president

The primary distinction between the SIO and other international education leaders is that SIOs have multiple areas of responsibility at their institutions. Examples of these areas of responsibility may include:

  • Education abroad and faculty/student exchanges
  • International student and/or scholar services
  • International student admission
  • International contracting and technical assistance
  • Area, international and/or foreign language studies
  • Intensive English study
  • Internationally oriented faculty and curriculum development
  • International institutional linkages
  • Internationally oriented community and outreach activities
  • International education research

The "SIO" title may have different position titles in different parts of the world. In Europe, for example, the International Relations Manager (IRM) is the equivalent to the SIO position. EAIE (the European Association of International Education) defines this role as "leaders involved in strategic planning related to campus internationalization, international development and the management of all international education activities at their institutions."