The Office of International Programs and the Office of International Students may be merging to create the International Education Center next semester.
“It will be a center for all things international,” Elaine Jarchow, dean of the college of education and human services and coordinator of the internationalizing Northern Kentucky University task force, said.
Right now, duties are shared by both departments, Vice President of Academic Affairs Gail Wells said. She added that combining the departments should help increase productivity.
The International Programs office, which will become the Office of Education Abroad, currently deals with NKU students who are interested in studying abroad, international students who wish to attend NKU and agreements with universities abroad to set up student exchanges.
International Student Affairs currently assists international students, permanent residents and foreign students with getting visas, meeting English requirements and adjusting to life in America. The two offices will combine to become the Office of International Students and Scholars.
There will be a new dean of international education to oversee these three departments.
Both of these offices, along with a new Office of American English Language Programs (AELP), will be part of the same department. They will report to the Dean of International Education, a new position created specifically for the International Education Center.
Currently, NKU does not offer an intensive course for international students to learn English. The new AELP is designed to provide that to students. International students who wish to attend NKU must get at least a 500 on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to attend. With the new AELP, NKU will be able to accept students with a score as low as 450.
These departments were merged on the recommendation of the Internationalizing NKU Task Force led by Jarchow, created to help globalize NKU’s campus.
Jarchow said that merging the departments will make them more effective. The departments have already been working together, and this will only increase their productivity, she said.
Michael Klembara, director of the International Programs office, said he is looking forward to see how everything will work out with the merger.
“Hopefully, it will be better for all concerned,” he said.
The budget to create the new department has been approved, but it the Board of Regents must still vote to approve the merger.