There are a wealth of opportunities for strategic collaboration between senior international officers (SIOs) and chief diversity officers (CDOs), however more needs to be done to ensure the roles complement, rather than compete with, one another.
This is according to a new report from Diversity Abroad, cited by The PIE News. It asserts that the SIOs and CDOs are united in their dedication to students’ academic success and interpersonal growth, as well as their desire to see pupils flourish.
Both internationalisation and diversity strategies have very similar goals, noted the report. It gave the example of promoting a variety of cultural and social perspectives via initiatives, practices and activities, to create an inclusive community and cultivate a climate on-campus that facilitates openness and understanding towards every single person.
“These roles have shared goals with respect to ensuring diverse voices and perspectives, be it from traditionally marginalised domestic populations or those from international students and scholars, are a vibrant part of the university community and student experience,” Diversity Abroad founder and CEO Andrew Gordon told the publication.
However, financial and structural challenges have led to CDOs and SIOs effectively working against one another, competing for the limited resources.
After conversations with international and diversity leaders, Gordon said he has seen more interest from CDOs and SIOs to find partnership opportunities.
Some ways the roles could work together is if the diversity office was involved in arrival orientation for international students. A campus-wide support system that offers more than basic international services could be set up, too.
Gordon hopes the report, which he claims is “just scratching the surface,” will encourage conversations about opportunities for the two roles to work together within institutions across the globe.
Numerous colleges and universities have ‘internationalisation,’ ‘diversity’ and ‘student success’ forming part of their strategic plans. “CDOs and SIOs are uniquely positioned to collaborate and play key roles in moving their institutions toward reaching their strategic goals,” Gordon concluded.
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