Letter to the Editor: OIE responds to Tuesday editorial, discusses changes

Like your staff, the Office of International Education spends time at the end of each semester in reflection following the Jesuit tradition of examen. With student feedback and dialogue through assessment and focus groups, we strive to continue to improve the services and programs we offer.

After personnel transitions last spring, we kicked off this academic year fully staffed and our energized study abroad team is looking forward to 2013. Already, we have had the opportunity to implement a number of changes that will address some of the critiques outlined in your recent editorial.

On January 11, OIE launched StudioAbroad, a new study abroad online system. The new system is integrated with our website and features a more user-friendly, comprehensive look at Marquette’s study abroad programs. Students will use StudioAbroad throughout the entire application process from application and pre-departure requirements to re-entry information. This new system has enhanced features that will better manage communication and risk management.

Pre-departure preparation is another critical component to ensure student success abroad. Last semester, OIE added a required in-person sexual assault and alcohol training in conjunction with Student Affairs that focused on the challenges presented by cross-cultural realities.

In addition, OIE has changed health insurance providers to HTH Worldwide, a leading study abroad insurance provider. HTH provides a higher level of customer service and a comprehensive website accessible by students and parents.

Education abroad is a high-impact practice that we strive to make accessible to every student. In order to make the process as seamless as possible, OIE is working on a long-term curriculum integration project in coordination with Marquette’s academic colleges and departments. This project will allow students from various disciplines to take pre-approved courses on designated programs that directly apply to their majors. While progress has been made within various colleges, this project remains ongoing.

The Office of International Education staff truly values student comments and concerns. We would be more than happy to discuss these issues further. Honest dialogue is an important part of serving the Marquette student body.

Gail Gilbert
Assistant Director
Office of International Education