Communicating International Education
The University at Albany’s International Education Leadership Expert Series presents a module with Karin Fischer designed to help Senior International Officers and other new and seasoned international education professionals at all levels to become more clear and confident communicators.
April 3 – May 1, 2020
About the module
Effective written and oral communication is a critical skill for international educators. As the value of global education is questioned, it is increasingly crucial that all international educators to make the case to both on-campus and external audiences. Yet, often they have little communications training or experience beyond academic writing.
This course will help Senior International Officers and other new and seasoned international education professionals at all levels to become more clear and confident communicators. Join us to learn how to marshal your facts, organize your ideas, and craft effective arguments. Learn new ways to advance your case for internationalization with your most critical audiences and stakeholders.
This course is suitable for international educators at all levels, with participants developing individual writing projects that reflect their personal and professional needs and priorities.
Successful participants will receive an electronic badge and certificate acknowledging their completion of this professional development expert module from the International Education Leadership at the University at Albany (SUNY).
Upper-level international administrators tasked with working with other internal university stakeholders (such as provost, deans, department chairs, administrators of other departments such as student affairs and admissions).
Leaders of different component offices (study abroad, international student and scholar services, international admissions, international research, international alumni relations and development) who report to the SIO.
Expert Series Presenter
Karin Fischer is a journalist who focused on international education, including American colleges’ activities overseas, the globalization of the college experience, and study abroad. Her extensive reporting on international-student recruitment and the experience of foreign students in the United States has been collected in a special publication, Chinese Journey: Student Migrations, Family Dreams and What Happens Next. She also writes about U.S. higher education policy and the relationship between colleges and the economy. She writes a weekly global education newsletter, latitude(s), and her work has appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, EdSource, the Washington Monthly, and University World News. She also is a research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California at Berkeley. Ms. Fischer is a recipient of the East-West Center’s Jefferson Fellowship and the International Reporting Project fellowship, both for reporting in Asia. Her work has been honored by the Education Writers Association, the National Press Foundation, and the Poynter Institute. She is a graduate of Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts.
By the end of this course, all participants will know how and begin transitioning to solid professional writing skills from their current academic and other writing styles. All work and presentations will be in English, assuming college-graduate level of grammar and writing skills. Teams from the same campus or office are encouraged to join the course to focus on a specific project or set of issues they want to address.
Participants who complete the course will be able to:
- Utilize various strategies and organizational techniques in the writing process, including the stages of brainstorming and goal-setting, building the piece, and finishing and revision.
- Analyze and evaluate audience, purpose, and situation as they apply to different contexts and adapt one’s tone and style to meet different needs.
- Incorporate process – research, invention, writing, revision, and editing – into all writing tasks.
- Develop collaborative group communication and writing skills.
- Develop strategies to facilitate communication across cultures and professional backgrounds.
- Before Session 1: Participants will write and submit a short description of why they have chosen to participate in this course and what they expect to achieve. This information will be used to better understand participant needs and to assign small groups or partners for out-of-class projects. If there is a specific topic or focus you have in mind to develop in this course, please share it.
- Session 1: Broad overview of effective communications strategies. We will focus on the difference between academic and professional communication and highlight the key elements to effective professional communication, such as tone, concision, and fact-checking. We also will review some of the primary modes of workplace communications – including elevators pitches, blog posts, marketing presentations, and press releases – and focus in on the participants’ individual learning goals and priorities. We will begin forming writing teams or partners by the end of Session 1 and finalize them before the beginning of Session 3.
- Before Session 2: Two tasks will help us jump-start our discussion in Session 2.
- Prior to session 2, identify one or two pieces of communications you think are effective and write a short description of why you think they are effective. Share them with the instructor 24 hours before the session starts.
- Bring to session 2 a tentative writing project you would like to tackle during the remainder of the course. During the class session, we will share these initial project ideas and discuss their goals or audiences. This will also begin to get everyone comfortable with providing feedback and receiving constructive criticism in strengthening our writing.
- Session 2: Analyzing samples of effective communications & “first step” writing strategies. Together, instructor and participants will review the examples submitted and begin by dissecting them, walking through what makes individual pieces of communications work as well as identifying ways to improve them. Then, we will shift focus on the participants’ writing projects, discussing successful “first step” strategies of the writing process, including identifying the audience and project goals, assembling facts, and writing effective thesis statements. By the end of this session, we will have formed writing partners or teams. (Participants can also request to self-select into small groups.)
- Before Session 3: Between the second and third session, participants will hone their ideas and do any needed preliminary research or interviews. You will produce an initial draft outline of your project that, at minimum, identifies the audience, medium, and goals of the project and includes a “nut graph,” or thesis statement, for it. You should take time to read and share some short comments on your partner’s draft with them before session 3.
- Session 3: Taking the next steps in building your piece. We will briefly review and provide feedback on the preliminary drafts and thesis statements submitted by each participant. This is an opportunity to get broader reactions to your work. Then we will return to a discussion and analysis of samples of effective communication begun the week before, again with a focus on what makes certain pieces work. We will end the session reviewing the next stages of the writing process, including outlining, structuring arguments, and refining thesis statements.
- Before Session 4: Participants should use the time between the third and fourth sessions to complete a draft of their project. Plan to share at least one version with your writing partner(s) outside of class. That feedback can then be incorporated into your next draft.
- Session 4: Finishing your piece. In this session we will concentrate on the final stages of the process, including editing and rewriting, proofreading, and reading for clarity and potential misunderstandings. We will use the remainder of the class time as a writing support group. Participants should identify particular challenges and stumbling blocks they are encountering on their individual projects, and we will use them as a basis for group discussion.
- Before Session 5: Participants will take this time to refine their projects. You will exchange drafts and provide feedback to your writing partners one last time outside of class. A final draft of the writing project should be shared with the instructor at least 24 hours prior to class time. All the projects will be posted for the entire class to access.
- Session 5: Wrap-up, review and next steps for your own communications strategy. This final session will focus on participants’ writing projects. Through group discussion, we will focus on specific challenges faced While participants are not expected to comprehensively review everyone’s project, you should be prepared to critique and offer responses to your classmates’ work. We also will reprise the value and challenges of collaboration in writing projects. Finally, we will identify opportunities to build on these pieces to create a more robust communications strategy.
Expert Series Design structure
Participants will receive six (6) hours of synchronous sessions with the instructor and will be expected to spend an additional six (6) hours outside of class sessions completing individual and/or small-group assignments. The synchronous sessions will include 5 meetings of 90 minutes each via Zoom (UAlbany).
- Friday, Apr 3 – 12-1:30pm EST (5-6:30pm GMT)
- Friday, Apr 10 – 12-1:30pm EST (5-6:300pm GMT)
- Friday, Apr 17 – 12-1:30pm EST (5-6:3030pm GMT)
- Friday, Apr 24 – 12-1:30pm EST (5-6:300pm GMT)
- Friday, May 1 – 12-1:30pm EST (5-6:30pm GMT)
Instructions for connecting to synchronous sessions and accessing the online material will be provided after registration.