AIEA Town Hall Discussions

Upcoming Town Halls | Past Town Halls

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. Please note:

Many thanks to the Professional Development and Engagement Committee, co-chaired by Erich Dietrich and Meredith McQuaid, for their leadership on this initiative.

Upcoming Town Hall Discussions  

October 28, 2021, 1:00 pm EDT 
Decarbonizing Internationalization 

Moderator: Richard Harvey, University of East Anglia (UEA), UK

Panelists: Janet Ilieva, Education Insight; Asher Minns, Tyndall Centre; Debra Rowe, US Partnership on Sustainability; CJ Tremblay, MD and Founder Alethea Global.

COP26 ( is imminent and people will ask what we International Educators and Administrators are doing to curb our emissions.  It’s easy to give “stock” answers such as virtual exchange, internationalization at home and so on.  And given that student mobility always exceeds that of the educators and administrators, reducing unsustainable travel in our students will have an impact.  But what about our own behavior?  Surely what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?  If a climate catastrophe is to be avoided then answers, and best practices, are needed urgently. However it’s a complex question because there are questions of social justice intertwined with a pressing need to reduce carbon emissions, intertwined with strong evidence that mobility of overseas has a very powerful positive impact on student performance.

Register for this town hall (member login required)

Past Town Halls

September 30, 2021, 1:00 pm EDT 
Dealing with Delta: An AIEA Peer-Sharing Town Hall

Moderators: Rick H. Lee, Cornell University and Erich Dietrich, New York University

The Delta variant has forced universities and colleges to address the shifting nature of the local, national, and global responses to the pandemic, as well as their respective plans for a safe return to campus in the upcoming semester. Join fellow senior international officers and IE leaders for a peer engagement opportunity to think through questions and concerns related to risk management, mobility, and resource management. The format of the town hall will include breakout rooms and a debrief session, so please come prepared to participate and share! 

Facilitators: Funwi Ayuninjam, Georgia Gwinnett College; Erich Dietrich, New York University; Gbemi Disu, Carnegie Mellon Africa; Adel El Zaim, University of Quebec in Outaouais; Kate Jennings, Vancouver Island University; Rick Lee, Cornell University; Matt Pucciarelli, St. John's University; Jeff Riedinger, University of Washington; Wing-kai To, Bridgewater State University; Kalpen Trivedi, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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September 22, 2021, 4:00 pm EDT 
Leadership Town Hall with AIEA President, David Fleshler and AIEA President Elect, Jewell Winn

Join AIEA President David Fleshler and AIEA President-Elect Jewell Winn to hear more about specific opportunities to be a leader within the Association of International Education Administrators.  This is also an opportunity to ask questions you may have about serving in leadership roles in AIEA. 

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August 26, 2021, 11:00 am EDT 
Global Perspectives on COVID: A Panel Discussion with Senior Leaders from around the World
Moderator: Orla Quinlan, Rhodes University 
Presenters: Suranjan DasJadavpur UniversityKeiko IkedaKansai University; Catalina González Uribe, Universidad de los Andes 

As we plan for a new academic term, senior leaders from universities in Colombia, India, Japan, and South Africa will discuss the consequences of the pandemic to date, including challenges and opportunities for the future of higher education. The conversation will explore COVID’s effects on their universities, cities, and countries as well as ways their institutions have been part of larger community response efforts. 

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July 29, 2021, 1:00 pm EDT 
New Member Discussion
Featured Speakers: David Fleshler, AIEA President; Jewell Winn, AIEA President-Elect; Adel El Zaïm, AIEA Immediate Past President 

This discussion is designed as a chance for AIEA leaders to welcome newer members to the association and share tips related to current programs, networking opportunities, and other ways to become more involved.
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June 24, 2021, 1:00 pm EDT 
2021-2022: What Next?
Moderator: Kees Kouwenaar, Aurora Network
Presenters: Cheryl Matherly, Lehigh University; Simon Geir Møller, St. John’s University

As the pandemic becomes a series of epidemics, universities are no longer constrained by national laws and public health edicts. They have choices.  But what choices could they, or should they make? This panel will discuss the scenarios they feel are the most likely for the start of the next semester. Does vaccination need to be mandatory? Will in-person classes be fully open or at limited capacity? Will there be a third or fourth COVID wave, and if so, when will that hit? These and other questions will form the basis of this panel, which will attempt, if not to predict the future, then to make some reasoned guesses.

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May 27, 2021, 1:00 pm EDT 
Advancing Racial Justice through Internationalization
Moderator: Wing-kai To, Bridgewater State University
Presenters: Jeet Joshee, California State University, Long Beach; Meredith McQuaid, University of Minnesota; Jewell Winn, Tennessee State University 

As we approach the 1-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd amidst ongoing concerns about racial injustices in the United States, higher education leaders have been affirming our values and practices in supporting equity on our campuses. For international education leaders, what are the opportunities and challenges for infusing justice/equity/diversity/inclusion (JEDI) in our work with the campus community? In this panel three SIOs in different regions and contexts will discuss their efforts to support students and develop programs that promote wellness, inclusion, and justice in international education. We hope to share our experiences and explore concrete actions to advance racial justice through internationalization.

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April 29, 2021, 1:00 pm EDT 
First 100 Days of the Biden Administration: Prospects for International Education
Moderator: Sherif Barsoum, New York University
Presenters: Miriam Feldblum, Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration; David Ware, Ware/Immigration 

We are approaching the first 100 days of the Biden administration.  In this discussion, we invite speakers offering three perspectives—from higher education institutions, the Presidents’ Alliance, and the legal community—to explore continuity and change in US government policy towards international education. With the backdrop of new Executive Orders, the proposed immigration bill, and the pandemic outlook around the world, we’ll explore the following questions: what is the impact of recent policy changes, travel restrictions, and visa policies on the status of student mobility and international engagement?  How will the emerging foreign and domestic policy of the Biden administration affect the future of international education? Each of the panelists will share their views and participants are encouraged to raise their questions during the Town Hall.  

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April 8, 2021, 1:00 pm ET 
Partnered Town Hall with New Mind Education- Supporting Chinese Students’ Success and Engagement in the New Normal: Reflection and Reimagination
Presenters: Bailian Li (NCSU) ,Karin Sandler (New Mind), Susan Chuang (New Mind) 

The issues of student success and engagement among Chinese students are well-observed and ongoing challenges for US universities.  Beyond language skills, Chinese students also face hurdles with their understanding of academic expectations and cultural adaptation which has their roots in the Chinese education system.

As the coronavirus pandemic forced universities to shift their instruction and services to a virtual environment, it also provided them with an opportunity to experiment with traditional programming and its delivery. With the advent of the “new normal,” a number of new possibilities are now available to higher education institutions, allowing them to reimagine their offerings in order to better engage Chinese students and support their development.  

In this session, presenters will: 

  1. Share data, based on survey responses from both Chinese and American educators, that identifies key areas for additional support

  1. Facilitate a discussion with international education leaders to reflect upon traditional ways of supporting Chinese students, including challenges faced due to discrimination, and to explore new possibilities afforded by increased technological capabilities.

  1. Examine lessons learned from previous engagement initiatives and discuss unique solutions for student support for the Chinese student population

New Mind Education, an accredited post-secondary institution, has supported the Chinese student population for over 10 years providing both in-person and virtual onboarding, advising, instruction, and activities to support its partner universities and its mission to inspire and cultivate global talent.

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March 25, 2021, 1:00 p.m. ET 
Risk Management & Internationalization: Planning for the Post-COVID World
Moderator: Matthew Pucciarelli, St. John's University
Presenters: Andrea Bordeau, Vanderbilt University and PULSE; Chris Chang, University of Portsmouth

In this discussion, we will think through the risks inherent in re-engaging internationalization efforts tabled during the pandemic, emphasizing student and employee safety. The session will start with a brief guided conversation around metrics and resources SIOs might use to assess risk as they advocate for renewed global engagement. We will then move toward Q&A and collegial sharing. We encourage participants to come with examples of compelling approaches that may guide incipient “re-start” efforts.

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November 20, 11:00 a.m. EST 
AIEA Partnered Town Hall with Sannam S4: Joint Degree Programs and Partnerships with Indian Higher Education Institutions 

Speakers: Peter Clack (Director of Global Exeter, University of Exeter), Kiki Caruson (Professor and Interim Vice President, USF World, University of South Florida), Nidhi Piplani Kapur (Head - Symbiosis Centre for European Studies (SCES), Symbiosis International University, India), Delia Heneghan, (Director of Education - India, Sannam S4), Krista Northup (Director of Education - North America, Sannam S4)

This session will provide multi-country perspectives on how to build sustainable cross border alliances with Indian Higher Education institutions. We will delve into the key factors of consideration for universities that are looking to build joint degree programs and collaborative provisions with Indian institutions such as different models of partnership, program lifecycles and risk management techniques. The approach of the session is to share best practices from different geographies and also engage in problem solving regarding existing impediments to develop partnerships. We will also cover how India’s new National Education Policy will impact the future of cross-border partnerships and highlight immediate opportunities for AIEA members. The outcome of this session is to encourage the development of impactful partnerships with Indian institutions and identify the tools required to create mutually-beneficial collaborations.
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November 12, 1:00 p.m. EST 
The Impact of the US Elections on International Higher Education 
Moderator: Erich Dietrich (New York University) 
Presenters: John Hudzik (Michigan State University), Rebecca Natow (Hofstra University), Ilir Zherka (Alliance for International Exchange)

The 2020 U.S. presidential election will have significant national and international implications for higher education for the next four years and beyond. The President will have the opportunity to influence federal higher education policy in a profound way, whether through issuing executive actions, appointing agency leadership, or introducing and signing legislation. This panel brings together experts on internationalization, U.S. federal education policy, and international exchange to assess the potential impact on international higher education.

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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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September 4, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Collegial Peer Conversation: International Students Working Remotely
Moderators: Paulo Zaglo-Melo (Western Michigan University)
Presenters: Sue Roberts (University of Kentucky) , Blair McElroy (University of Mississippi)

The pandemic’s restrictions are keeping many international students enrolled in U.S. universities who are studying and working remotely, from outside the U.S. This has raised questions about international taxation regarding course tuition and international students’ remote work. International offices, deans and other administrators are reaching out to their legal counsels and taxation departments, only to often find they are unable to provide answers to such unprecedented cases.

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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.