A one-day retreat around the worldMonday, February 11, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
Algoma University’s success story as an educational global village continues.
Algoma’s Board of Governors held its’ general meeting and annual retreat Saturday at Algoma’s Queen Street campus, “internationalization” being the theme of this year’s retreat.
Board members, faculty, staff and international students, shown here with Algoma University President Dr. Richard Myers, took part in Saturday’s activities.
There are approximately 350 international students currently enrolled at Algoma University, from nations all over the world.
A key part of Algoma’s programming for international students is, of course, studies in English as a Second Language.
The Board heard enthusiastic presentations from Algoma ESL faculty members Dr. Hanna Lin, Ben Miller and Andrea Miller, part of a team of educators who take a professional yet fun, lively approach in helping international students tackle the complex English language, with all of its’ grammatical quirks.
Dr. Myers told SooToday.com Algoma’s success in attracting international students and ESL instruction is a part of the institution’s focus on “small university, big education.”
Dr. Myers said there are people from China and Brazil, nations with large populations, who feel at home with the smaller, friendly postsecondary education environment Algoma has to offer.
“They say ‘if I really want to learn English and meet Canadians, that isn’t going to happen in Toronto, it’s going to happen in a smaller place where I get individual attention,’ and that’s what we are.”
Algoma University’s Director of International Student Outreach Joanne Elvy presented details of her successful globetrotting international student recruitment efforts to Board members.
Elvy said “Algoma emphasizes traditional values” when promoting the institution in family-oriented nations such as Japan, China and Saudi Arabia. Mexican students are expected to arrive at Algoma soon, and Elvy is currently stepping up recruitment efforts in Vietnam and Taiwan.
Elvy added recruitment efforts vary in their focus, depending on the target market.
Potential students in China, for example, are assured that they will not feel alone in Sault Ste. Marie and at Algoma University, once they leave their large Chinese cities with massive populations.
Outreach efforts to Sweden focus on that country’s similarities with Canada and promote access to invasive species research.
Elvy said Algoma strives to recruit in such a way that ensures students from any one particular area of the globe do not become dominant on campus, in order to reflect Canada’ multicultural mosaic.
Department of Business and Economics Chair and Assistant Professor Cathy Denomme told us she has students in her fourth-year class from Japan, India, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Nigeria and Madagascar.
“Definitely in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria, it’s very hierarchical. When we talk about power distance in Canada we call our bosses by their first name, we sometimes go out on social events with them, but that would never happen at home for some of them. One of my students from Bangladesh told me ‘if I ever called my boss by a name, even Mister, I would be fired, it has to be sir.”
“They feel at home here, and are very comfortable sharing these things in our classes.”