UVM focuses on diversity

President Daniel Mark Fogel said students can experience the world at UVM. UVM is making an effort to increase international students in order to diversify the student body. “It’s quite clear that we need to prepare our students to enter a global economy,” Provost Jane Knodell said. “To really offer a high quality education, we have to do that. Enrolling more international students is a good way to do that.” One way of bringing in international students is the US-Sino Pathways Program (USPP), which UVM started last summer, Knodell said. The USPP involves recruiting students from China and preparing them with a year of schooling before bringing them to UVM, she said. Currently, only 1 percent of undergraduate students are from outside the U.S., Knodell said. This is a small amount compared to 7.4 percent at Northeastern University and 10 percent at Middlebury College, she said. Northeastern, as well as other institutions such as Baylor University and the University of Utah, are also involved in the USPP, Knodell said. English-speaking countries around the world are adjusting their international enrollment, said Chris Lucier, vice president of Enrollment Management. England and Australia are decreasing the enrollment of students in their foreign exchange programs, so international students looking to study English will turn more to the U.S., Lucier said. At UVM, the Office of International Education (OIE) has also been making efforts to help these international students integrate into university life, Director of OIE Kim Howard said. Examples include monthly events, the Indian celebration of Diwali night and OIE’s buddy system, Howard said. “We offer buddies to incoming undergraduate students,” she said. “We take volunteers that are very often UVM domestic students who have returned from studying abroad who say ‘I want a buddy!’ and want to be helpful to someone who is about to have that experience.” The buddy system is a great thing that UVM has been able to offer, Howard said. However, the process of internationalizing UVM is still developing, Knodell said. “We want to see what people think about this idea and just have a dialogue about how UVM engages the world,” she said. “International recruitment is kind of just one piece of it.”