Data and Research Regarding International Undergraduate Students at the University of Minnesota: An Overview

Download the Summary of All Projects

This website includes information about nine University of Minnesota, Twin Cities-based data-collection and research projects related to international undergraduate students. We encourage you to explore these summaries to gain insights about the projects as well as connections to your own work.

The projects are as follows:

Each webpage includes a summary of the individual project and, when available, a link to the full report or further information.

Background and Need for Data and Research

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus has changed; in 2006, about two percent of our undergraduate population enrolled here as an international student. In Fall 2014, just over nine percent of the undergraduate student population enrolled as international students, with this percentage change representing nearly 2,000 more students. The campus has responded in a variety of ways to understand and best serve these students. In Fall 2013, the University of Minnesota Office of Undergraduate Education instituted an additional fee for international students. Revenue generated by this fee was allocated to several projects around campus, and several of the projects presented here were undertaken using funds from this additional fee. One of the goals of such projects was to create an understanding of where some of the additional revenue might be spent – in other words, what are the areas of greatest need on our campus regarding the international student experience? 

The accompanying projects represent efforts by a range of units to dig deeper into the international student experience including International Student and Scholar Services abd Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus of Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, Minnesota English Language Program, the Center for Educational Innovation, and the Office of Student Affairs. As a campus, we want to be driven by facts about the international student experience and are taking advantage of our vantage points in these units to access this population. We look to use this data to inform our own practices and services, as well as to help shape the campus conversation, as well as the broader campus community.

A collective presentation of these projects is useful to demonstrate the range of the data-driven projects happening on campus, and this data will help as we engage in a dialogue about our campus and areas for coordinated action.

Using This Information

Representatives from the data-collection and research teams facilitated a retreat to present and discuss these projects with departments and stakeholders across campus on January 21, 2015. The goal of the retreat was to discuss the key findings; consider the impact this data might have for our campus as a whole; and explore how the findings intersect with the work of various units and departments across campus. These reports thus provide a starting place for discussions about data driven solutions for improving the environment on campus and the experience for our international student population.

Elements Of Student Life and Themes of Successful Projects

Reviewing the results from each project takes time, as does considering the themes that emerge from the data. Preliminary reviews show that this research touch on the following aspects of our campus community and the student experience: 

  • Pre-departure and Arrival Experiences
  • Overall Academic Experiences
  • In-Class Interaction with Faculty
  • In-Class Interaction between Students (Domestic and International)
  • Social Interaction Outside of the Classroom
  • Housing and Living Experience
  • Available Supporting Resources and Programs
  • Career Concerns and Future Plans
  • Overall Experience

The data collection and research projects (and the discussions that happened with departments and stakeholders from across the University at the retreat) also show that successful integration projects must:

  • Ensure collaboration and shared ownership between groups including University departments, faculty, staff, and international and domestic students
  • Encourage international students to become more confident about reaching out to domestic students and University faculty/staff
  • Make domestic students more curious about other countries and the experiences and viewpoints of international students
  • Be intentional and include facilitated interaction

During the next academic year, we will work with campus partners to compile a set of recommendations based on these themes and on-going conversations with campus partners.

Thank you for your interest in these projects!

The Advisory Team
Alisa Eland
Beth Isensee
Barbara Kappler
Elizabeth Schwartz
Gayle Woodruff
Diana Yefanova
Xi Yu


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