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Diversity Symposium

Diversity Symposium:

Fostering Engagement and Inclusion of International Students and Scholars

October 11, 2013

Diversity Abroad logo
SUNY Global logo


The Diversity Symposium: Fostering Engagement and Inclusion of International Students and Scholars broadly examined the key intersections between diversity and inclusion, and international student and scholars on U.S. campuses. This day-long interactive symposium brought together practitioners from the field to present good practices in developing interdepartmental partnerships for campus-wide integration of international students and scholars, ideas for student programming models, as well as current academic and social challenges that international students and scholars encounter in the U.S. The symposium also included suggested practices to improve international students and scholars’ success and implications for the future of the field.


Welcome/Opening Remarks

Beverly Plowucha, The State University of New York
Mitch Leventhal, The State University of New York
Andrew Gordon, President, Diversity Abroad

Session I: Perspectives on Diversity – View video

In higher education, the term "diversity" can carry different connotations depending on the context in which it is used. This session set the groundwork for the Symposium by exploring diversity within the realm of International Student and Scholar Services. Issues of access and inclusion were addressed, with current international students and scholars sharing their experiences as we attempted to define this critical term.

Erika Rohrbach, Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)
Lily Lopez-McGee, Diversity Abroad
Student Panelists (View Student Bios):

Mabingo Alfdaniels, Uganda
Paloma Baytelman, Chile
Andrea Castro Osorio, Mexico
Masako Hattori, Japan
Arancha San Gines, Spain
Bo (Elisa) Yuan, China

Session II: Cross-Cultural Competency and Its Implications – view video

In today’s academic environment, the ability to communicate effectively with students of diverse cultures is essential. In this workshop, we explored how educators can enhance their cross-cultural competencies through a mix of lecture, case study, video vignette, and discussion. Participants were given the opportunity to: Improve their ability to understand various cultures, including communication patterns, norms, expectations, and taboos; Identify key points of cultural difference about which all administrators should be aware of when dealing with students of diverse backgrounds; Learn concepts and foundational skills to help them deal with challenging cultural situations they may encounter in the classroom; and Discuss cross-cultural competency models and the new generation of cross-cultural research.

Linda Smith, Linda A. Smith Associates, LLC

Diversity Round Tables

The Diversity Round Tables were an opportunity for participants to focus the discussion on common diversity topics. Facilitators led participants in sharing common concerns and best practices in dealing with these specific areas within diversity especially as it relates to the international student and scholar community. While we know there are many topics to address, we hope these areas were the beginning of our conversations on diversity.

Disabilities (Physical/Academic) and Universal Design - Download Notes

Christopher Rosa, City University of New York
Claudia Hernandez, The State University of New York

Integration on the Urban vs. Rural Campus - Download Notes

Katya Musacchio, One to World
Beverly Plowucha, The State University of New York

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender (LGBT) - Download Notes

Rosa Kelley, Baruch College (CUNY)
Lily Lopez-McGee, Diversity Abroad

Personal Health Issues - Download Resources

Anne Miller, Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)
Susan Breton, Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)
Erika Rohrbach, Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)

Race & Ethnicity- Download Notes

Guilherme Albieri, SUNY Optometry
Andrew Gordon, Diversity Abroad

Religion -Download Notes/Download Resources

Thomas Sirinides, New York University
Ruth Kamona, City University of New York

Session III: Integration and Campus Engagement as a Tool for Both International and Domestic Populations – View video/Download Presentation

The final presentation of the day focused on how we can increase intercultural competency on our college/university campuses, and thus become proactive in creating more inclusive and interactive learning environments. The talk included suggested assessment strategies as a tool for knowing where to begin the process on your campus, how to design strategic programs that meet your goals, as well as, examples of effective programs, and the key factors that made them successful.

Helen Park Jameson, Culture Friendly Consulting, LLC

Closing Remarks

Ruth Kamona, The City University of New York
Beverly Plowucha, The State University of New York

Presenter and Facilitator detailed profiles are available on the conference website:

Office of Global Affairs