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International, Study Abroad Students Under One Roof in Global Education Office

The International Student Services and Study Abroad offices at SUNY Plattsburgh have merged into one multi-function Global Education Office.

According to Jackie Girard Vogl, assistant vice president for global education, the evolution of a global education office — for international students studying here and SUNY Plattsburgh students studying abroad — was synergistic.

“About two years ago, I was asked by then-Interim Provost Patricia Higgins if I’d take over the operational side of the Study Abroad program in addition to maintaining my role in International Student Services,” Vogl said. “It made sense. Why not be the one-stop shop for all students seeking a study-abroad experience — those who are incoming and those who are outgoing.”

While Vogl was responsible for the operational side of Study Abroad — the students and their parents. Dr. Bryan Higgins, a SUNY distinguished service professor of geography, was the director of international education as it related to the faculty, including faculty-led study abroad and maintenance of the budgets.

“There is a great overlap in recruitment methodology for international students and for study-abroad students,” Vogl said. When Higgins left the GEO this summer to return to the classroom, the timing was right to combine offices into one.

“Now I look forward to informing, energizing and supporting our faculty who are interested in taking students abroad. There is growth nationally in short-term faculty-led study-abroad trips. If we can make them happen here on a bigger scale, if we can grow our short-term study abroad opportunities and get the faculty to buy into it, we could really shine.”

Students in a French civilization and literature class, for instance, could take a week and travel to Paris to get a first-hand look at what they’re studying in the classroom.

“It truly gives life to book learning,” Vogl said.

The blending has had its challenges, Vogl said, not the least of which is office space and the official name change. People calling what they think is still International Student Services hear “Global Education Office” on the phone and think they’ve dialed a wrong number.

“But it’s a great opportunity, too,” Vogl said. “We’re connecting the dots floating in our universe and trying to make them into one solar system. Bryan Higgins coined the term ‘Global Education’ for the office several years ago. I really like it, bringing all aspects of global education — at home and abroad — under one umbrella to show it is all one endeavor to globalize the campus and community with these experiences.”

“Under the leadership of Jackie Girard Vogl, the reorganization of the internationally acclaimed Global Education Office will make it even better,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs James Liszka. Indeed, international students responding to a survey by the International Student Barometer ranked the college No. 1 out of the 18 participating universities in the United States and No. 2 out of 208 in the world for overall satisfaction.

Among the rankings, SUNY Plattsburgh placed first in the United States and the world for its Office of International Student Services; of learning support and performance feedback; for students’ ability to make friends upon arrival; housing conditions; visa advise; overall satisfaction with arrival experiences; and overall learning satisfaction.

“Building on the work that Dr. Bryan Higgins did in study abroad, that operation will now be integrated into the general operations, and that will have definite benefits to students interested in a global education experience.”

For more information, contact the Global Education Office at 518-564-3287.

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