NAFSA Research Symposium - Connect with others and talk about your research

By Shanna Saubert posted 05-16-2017 01:25 PM


Last month, NAFSA hosted the second NAFSA Research Symposium on April 7th in Washington, DC. The event brought together researchers and scholars (including graduate students) from a variety of institutions and organizations to discuss theories, methodologies, and practices in international education. While the next event will be held on November 17, 2017 (see and the Research Connections network for updates), a quick overview of the previous two events will provide some context as to what these events are and how others can get involved and present their research at future events. As one attendee noted, "The group was small but the research shared was very good quality."

The first Research Symposium was held during International Education Week on Monday, November 14, 2016. The event included opening remarks by Chris Glass, PhD, from Old Dominion University and the 2016 Recipient of the TLS KC Innovative Research in International Education Award), three panels of research presentations (12 presentations total), and an open discussion for attendees to discuss a variety of issues in research. As some were unable to attend the first Research Symposium back in November, some presenters have kindly allowed for the sharing of their slides (please look here on the Research Connections network discussion for the links). An overview of the three research panels is included below:

International Education in Practice
Jiangyuan Zhou, EdD – Stockton University
> Assessment of internationalization of higher education: Theoretical contributions and practical implications
Katherine Punteney, EdD – Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
> Exploring identities of international education practitioners
Bernhard Streitwieser, PhD – George Washington University
> Competing motivations in Germany’s higher education’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis
Laura Engel, PhD, Tess Cannon, & Jessica Fundalinski – George Washington University
> Global education in U.S. schools and its impact on student learning and worldview

Learning from International Experiences
Janet Gao & Breanna Higgins – George Washington University
> Exploring the effects of bridge course and gender on the undergraduate international students’ first year academic performance
Christian Bracho, PhD – American University
> Best practices for professional development of college professors in host countries
Anita Gopal, PhD – University of Maryland, College Park
> Examining international doctoral students’ socialization experiences in STEM disciplines
Sandra Crenshaw, PhD – Arcadia University
> Global education is a two-way street: Intersections for practice

Reflecting on Study Abroad
Annie Nguyen, EdD – York College of Pennsylvania
> Intercultural growth framework: Reflection and assessment in short-term study abroad
Amelia Dietrich, PhD – The Forum on Education Abroad
> Analyzing insurance claims data to measure student mortality abroad
Martha Strickland, EdD – Penn State Harrisburg
> Following their gaze: Learning from student photo narrations of international experiences
Melissa Whatley – University of Georgia
> The role of heritage-seeking in the study abroad destination decision-making of minority students

The second Research Symposium was held on Friday, April 7, 2017. The event included opening remarks by Alan Ruby from the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow of Internationalization at NAFSA, two panels of research presentations (7 presentations total), and an open discussion where attendees were encouraged to talk about synergies between the different research presentations, how theoretical work relates to practice in international education, and how to get more involved and communicate with or contribute to the work of non-academics in the field. An overview of the two research panels is included below:

International Students in the USA
You Zhang, Columbia University
> International students as cultural resources in China's higher education institutions
Chad Buckwalter, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
> Path to U.S. higher education: A study of Chinese students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Barbara J. Veder & Matthew McEvoy, Morneau Shepell
> Fostering international student success and retention through digital mental health care
Puck Fernsten, Pearson
> How colleges and universities successfully internationalize - A language testing perspective

U.S. Students Studying Abroad
Elizabeth M. Davis, McDaniel College
> The multiple identity development process of semester-long education abroad students
Jacquelynn Leyvas, American University
> Who's not abroad? The community college challenge
Dennell Reynolds, Americans Promoting Study Abroad
> Transformation, liberation, and learning through fee-free US-to-China high school study abroad programs

It can easily be noted that the range of research topics presented at Research Symposium events indicates a variety of research interests with multiple approaches. If you are currently doing research, collating research, or interested in research and scholarship related to international education, consider this your invitation to attend a future Research Symposium and perhaps even submit a proposal based on your own research interests. It would be great to have all of NAFSA's Knowledge Communities represented at the Research Symposium: Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (TLS), Education Abroad (EA), International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), International Enrollment Management (IEM), International Education Leadership (IEL). These events include peer-reviewed research with an opportunity for presenters to publish their research in the new NAFSA Research Symposium Series, which will be launched at the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference in Los Angeles. If you are interested in being a Peer Reviewer, please send an email to

Finally, the next NAFSA Research Symposium will be held Friday, November 17, 2017 during International Education Week at American University in Washington, DC. (see and the Research Connections network for updates in June).