AIEA Town Hall Discussions

Current AIEA members are invited to take part in AIEA's virtual COVID-19 Town Hall meetings, which take place on Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Originally scheduled weekly, these meetings moved to twice a month in June 2020. 

Guidelines for COVID-19 Town Hall meetings are available online.

AIEA Town Halls are a benefit for current members. If there are others who you think would benefit from participating, you are encouraged to invite them to join AIEA.  Chat transcripts from past Town Halls are available online for current members. 

Many thanks to the Professional Development and Engagement Committee, co-chaired by Erich Dietrich and Meredith McQuaid, for their leadership on this initiative.
AIEA Town Hall Discussions: 2nd and 4th Fridays, 1:00 PM Eastern

Upcoming Town Hall Discussions  

Other upcoming Town Halls:

  • November 12: Implications of the U.S. Election Results

Past Town Halls 

October 22, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
Finance and International Program Offices 
Moderator: Richard Harvey (University of East Anglia) 
Presenters: Tim O'Brien (INTO Global), Ian Callaghan (University of East Anglia), Roger Brindley (Pennsylvania State University), Mary Lou D. Ortiz (Pennsylvania State University) 

The changing demographics of US education and the demands of COVID­19 have left many universities facing a tough future. Contrary to public belief, over half of US universities have endowments of less than $1M so there is pressure to fill the funding gap with international students. Our panelists will examine the issue through the context of the UK, which traditionally has a high dependence on international students and therefore strong linkages exist between the CFO and SIO, and the US where practice is more mixed. What are the practical, ethical, and regulatory issues associated with the international pressure? To what extent should CFOs and SIOs collaborate or is a more nuanced relationship desirable?

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October 8, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
Supporting International Students 
Moderators: Stephen McDowell (Florida State University) 
Presenters: Kabir Mohamed (University of Minnesota), Cindy Green (Florida State University), Hao (Caven) Wu (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)

Universities and communities throughout the United States have benefitted in many ways over decades by hosting students from around the world in higher education programs. Policy changes in the last few years, and global pandemic of 2020, pose many uncertainties for international students studying at universities and colleges in the United States. University staff and faculty, as well as fellow students, have sought ways to provide information and advice to students about a range of issues.

The purpose of this Town Hall is to share ideas about activities, challenges and initiatives to support international students during the multiple challenges in 2020 for life on-campus, off-campus, in local communities, nationally in the U.S., and in their home countries. Our panelists, who include international students as well as university leaders, will discuss these challenges, and share the activities and practices they have undertaken. We will also have time for questions from and discussion among Town Hall participants.

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October 2, 2:00 p.m. EDT 
Become an AIEA Leader! 

Presenters: Adel el Zaïm (University of Ottawa), Cheryl Matherly (Lehigh University), David Fleshler (Case Western University)

Join AIEA President Adel El Zaim, President-Elect David Fleshler and Immediate Past President Cheryl Matherly to discuss pathways to leadership within AIEA, open leadership positions within AIEA, and ways to get more involved.  Please note that the AIEA leadership nominations deadline is October 15 - see details here.  Self-nominations are welcome!  
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September 24, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
The Impact of COVID-19 on Institutions Outside the United States 
Moderators: Karen Blackney (University of East Anglia) 
Presenters: Marina Casals Sala (Rovira i Virgili University), Fernando Ponce León (Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador)

Bringing perspectives from Europe and Latin America, panelists will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on institutions themselves as well as broader issues in international education, including student mobility and partnerships.

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September 10, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
Reestablishing Study Abroad: What SIOs Need to Do
Moderators: Helen Gaudette (Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY), Eny di Iorio (Lorenzo de' Medici Institute)
Presenters: Mary Schlarb (SUNY Cortland), Nick Gozik (Boston College), Ambra Balzani (Lorenzo de' Medici Institute)

The aim of this AIEA Town Hall is to discuss what it's going to take to safely send students abroad in person again in 2021 and beyond. Many, if not most, students around the world were recalled home from their study abroad programs in March 2020 due to the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, and many universities have cancelled Summer and Fall 2020 programs, along with Winter 2021 and even Spring 2021. Our students have been greatly disappointed, and want to get back out there as soon as possible. As SIOs, we must advise our university administrations about the best course of action without knowing what the future will bring. Our panelists will talk about what they've done to guide their institutions, and engage participants in a discussion about everything that needs to be considered in order to reestablish our study abroad programs.

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August 19, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
Partnered Town Hall with Terra Dotta—The Future of International Education: Why Agility Is Now Integral to Strategic Planning
Moderator: Kerry Geffert (Terra Dotta)
Presenters: Aaron Clevenger (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Elaine Meyer-Lee (Goucher College)

If 2020 has taught international educators anything, it has been that simply having well-developed emergency plans may be insufficient. They are, of course, important, but many of our plans may not have anticipated events impacting all our students at the same time, nor that they required broad immediate responses and mobilization. 

Agility is a characteristic more common to the business world than higher education. Committee structures and hierarchical administrations traditionally have not lent themselves to quick decisions and actions. The events of this year, however, have tested international educators by requiring immediate responses with far-reaching implications on the entire institution.

This pandemic will not last forever (despite how we may feel currently), although the lessons will be considered far into the future. International educators will review our crisis plans and SIOs will again engage in strategic planning. It will behoove us to borrow a page from our business partners and consider agility in our planning so as to quickly adapt in an ever-rapidly changing world. The bar is being raised and the expectations are increasing. The next time will not be “unprecedented.”

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July 24, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
The Evolution of U.S. Immigration Regulations
Moderator: Meredith McQuaid (University of Minnesota)
Presenters: Tina Rousselot de Saint Céran (Georgia Institute of Technology), Marissa Hill-Dongre, (University of Minnesota), Sherif Barsoum (New York University)

As a follow up to the July 10 AIEA Town Hall, "Recent Immigration Changes and their Impact on International Students and Scholars in the U.S.," this discussion will continue to explore the ramifications of U.S. immigration regulations on our students, and consider what might come next under the current administration. This Town Hall also included initial discussion and interpretation of the recently released information on student visas (released July 24).

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July 10, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
Recent Immigration Changes and their Impact on International Students and Scholars in the U.S.
Moderator: Adel el Zaïm (University of Ottawa)
Presenters: Tina Rousselot de Saint Céran (Georgia Institute of Technology), Marissa Hill-Dongre, (University of Minnesota), Thomas Bogenschild (Gateway International Group)

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June 26, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
The Future of Study Abroad 
Presenters: Stephanie Doscher (Florida International University), Stephen D. McDowell (Florida State University), Tim Lewis (University of St. Thomas)

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, cautions leaders not to get stuck in the “narrative fallacy,” a memory loop that limits plans for the future to slight variations on the past. This Town Hall meeting will provoke decision-makers to engage in divergent, exploratory thinking about future forms of study abroad. Participants will experience futures thinking exercises that they can then implement with diverse teams on their home campuses.

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June 12, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
How International Education Can Contribute to Social and Racial Justice
Moderator: Erich Dietrich (New York University)
Presenters: Jewell Winn (Tennessee State University), Andrew Gordon (Diversity Abroad), and Rajika Bhandari (IC3 Institute)

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While higher education holds the promise and potential as a great equalizer in society, we must confront the reality that it has often reproduced both inequality and exclusion. As we strive to respond to racism and injustice and to shift toward more equitable access and outcomes, what is the role of international education? Panelists will provide perspectives on how SIOs can provide leadership in this area, including equitable domestic and international student mobility, campus internationalization, and international partnerships.

May 29, 1:00 p.m. EDT 
Is our field (and job) in Jeopardy?: Adapting and Re-inventing Internationalization of Higher Education to the Post–COVID-19 New "Normal" 
Moderator: Adel el Zaïm  (University of Ottawa)
Presenter: Francisco Marmolejo (Qatar Foundation) 

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The scenario for higher education in the after-COVID19 era is not precisely positive. Leaders of colleges and universities will face painful decisions in order to keep afloat institutions. But, do they consider internationalization as key component of the “new normal”, or they think that it is relatively marginal?  Sadly, the traditional business model behind the internationalization strategy of institutions -mostly focused on student mobility- has shown its fragility. Adapting and re-inventing the approach, rationale and activities, of internationalization strategies is both, urgent and needed. At the Town-Hall meeting we will discuss options and will exchange ideas.


May 22, 1:00 p.m. EDT
COVID-19 - The Change Accelerator for Higher Education's International Practice and Programs: Turning Challenge to Opportunity
Moderator: Adel el Zaïm (University of Ottawa)
Presenter: John Hudzik (Michigan State University) 

John Hudzik presents at an AIEA Town Hall Discussion

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May 15, 2020, 1:00 p.m. EDT
How to Support International Students during COVID-19
Moderator: Meredith McQuaid (University of Minnesota) 
Presenters: Carolyn Stefanco (President, The College of Saint Rose), Alfredo Valera (Associate Vice President, Global Affairs, The College of Saint Rose), Caroline Mangan (UCD), Hanna Sun (University of Minnesota) 

Friday, May 8
Open COVID-19 Discussion among SIOs
Moderator: Adel el Zaïm 

Friday, May 1 
Leadership for the Future (and From a Distance)
Moderators:  Marcellus Caldas and Maria Anastasiou
Presenters: Joanna Regulska,  John Lucas, Sufei Li

Friday, April 24
International Partnerships after COVID-19
Moderators: Erich Dietrich, Susan Popko
Presenters: Jane Gatewood, Peter Lennie, Erik Lithander

Friday, April 17
What IE Leaders Need to Know about Virtual Exchange
Moderators: Lisa Lancia, Stephanie Doscher
Presenters: Eva Haug, GianMaria Besana

Friday, April 3
Communication during COVID-19
Moderator: Meredith McQuaid
Presenters: Ben Waxman, Paaige Turner, Judy Peter, Jose Celso Friere Jr.

Friday, March 27
Open Discussion
Moderators: Adel el Zaïm, members of the Professional Development and Engagement Committee
Presenters: Eny di Iorio, Sylvain St-Amand

Friday, March 13
Open Discussion
Moderators: David Fleshler, members of the Professional Development and Engagement Committee

COVID-19 Town Hall Meeting Guidelines

AIEA Virtual Town Hall Discussions are intended as a way for AIEA members to discuss the ever-changing situation and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Participants have two ways of sharing information: through verbal discussion during the Town Hall discussions, as well as in the Town Hall chat. 

Both of these methods can be used to ask questions, respond to queries, and/or provide resources relevant to the current issue or topic covered by the town hall. 

The chat may be used to pose questions and resources relevant to COVID-19 and internationalization that may or may not be directly related to the specific topics covered by the town hall. 

The discussion and Town Hall chat should not be used to: 

  • Advertise commercial products and services 
  • Announce activities which are not clearly relevant to senior-level international educators
  • Forward "chain letters," warnings of "'virus threats," or "test" messages.
  • Express grievances on personal or local issues.
  • Discuss personal political/religious beliefs and/or serve as a “soapbox” on issues
  • Promote institutional programs and/or recruit participants  
  • Discuss non-internationalization related issues 

Town Hall Discussions are open to all current AIEA members – please do not send access information to others. 

If you are uncertain whether the content of your messages is appropriate, please send an email to the AIEA Secretariat and ask for advice. Participants who do not adhere to these guidelines may be removed from the Town Hall.