Texas A&M is once again ranked among the top 25 universities nationally in the number of international students enrolled, according to the “Open Doors” report published for academic year 2010-2011 by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Texas A&M – with a total of 4,874 international students – is ranked 21st nationally, an increase of 263 students from the previous year.
“Because of the excellence and diversity of our colleges and universities, more students worldwide are choosing to study in the United States,” said assistant secretary of state Ann Stock. “Young people who study abroad gain the global skills necessary to create solutions to 21st Century challenges. In turn, international students globalize our campuses and communities.”
Texas A&M officials note they have long recognized the value of a globally diverse campus and the value of study abroad programs. University officials outlined a set of goals in the institution’s academic master plan and identified programs aimed at supporting high-impact practices for undergraduate students. International study programs are among these designated high-impact practices.
Suzanne Droleskey, assistant vice president for international programs, noted one program for accomplishing some of these goals is called “Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime.”
“Aggies Commit is a broad program involving numerous campus activities centered on Texas A&M’s core values and student learning outcomes,” she explained. “The university commits to providing quality educational experiences for its students. Students are asked to commit to strengthening a core value or perusing one of the high impact learning experiences, such as engaging in options outside the U.S. like studying, working, volunteering or conducting research.”
The result of both longstanding and newer goals at the university to improve learning outcomes for students has increased the number potential options abroad for students. While these take place in such university locations as the Soltis Center for Research and Education in Costa Rica and at the branch campus – Texas A&M at Qatar – in Doha, Qatar, about 50 study programs in almost as many countries have been developed by Texas A&M faculty. In addition, the Texas A&M Career Center now has a work abroad director who assists Aggies in identifying international internships.
Droleskey emphasized, however, that Aggies don’t have to go abroad to gain international experience.
“With a record number of international students on our campus and a wealth of faculty and staff who have international backgrounds, students have the ability to have significant global experiences just through making friends with their fellow Aggies from abroad,” she explained.
The report indicates the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by five percent, to 723,277 during the 2010-11 academic year. This represents a record number of international students in the U.S. for the fifth consecutive year, and there are now 32 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than a decade ago.
“We commend you on your success in preparing your students to be global citizens by hosting international students and encouraging your American students to study abroad,” said Sharon S. Witherell, director of public affairs with IIE in making the announcement to Texas A&M officials.