Post Classifieds

International Programs Are Not Shut Down

By Lilia Eskildsen
On October 19, 2010

(Spanish version here)

Two weeks ago, rumors began about the disappearance of the Division of International Programs (IP), which includes the International Student Services (ISS), the Office of International Education (OIE) and the International Language Institute (ILL). A considerable number of students and staff members from Texas A&M International University started a campaign to stop this from happening and on Tuesday Oct. 5, the TAMIU community was called to a meeting with Dr. Ray Keck, President of the university, and Dr. Pablo Arenas, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, in order to explain the situation of the IP. This meeting had a follow-up on Friday, Oct. 8 to clear any remaining doubts.


When the administration communicated that the ISS would be move under Admissions and IP was going to be embedded in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), a great concern was created among the members of the DIP and of the Association of International Students (AIS). The rumors had gone beyond reality and some students believed that the "International" would be removed from the name of our university. Dr. Keck said that he had even received an email from a student in the Netherlands, worried about the situation of the DIP.


"The ISS and International Programs are not going to be shut down or get dissolved. The purpose is to extend their capabilities way beyond to where they are now," said Dr. Keck at the meeting on Oct. 5.


Dr. Keck talked about the imminent necessity of being finally true to the international part of our name and internationalize the students, professors and staff. He also talked about the history of the DIP and how it has grown though time.


"I think it's precisely the most obvious next step to create an environment of International consciousness in the university," said Dr. Arenas.


Unfortunately, as said by Dr. Keck, the university does not have access to more resources to get more employees to expand the DIP. This is why the solution presented by Dr. Arenas seemed ideal, "It's impossible that the human resources we have now can serve up to eight times the people they do now; let's embed the international division in the part of the university that is most involved with the university."


However, the people involved in the AIS, SGA and other students were not completely convinced of the effectiveness of the plan when the October 5 meeting was over. The main concern was the inconvenience of not having a centralized office where students could go for all international matters. Another concern of the AIS members was to lose the excellent service of the ISS provided by Mr. David VerMilyea, Director of the ISS, "Mr. V is just like a father to us." The same was said about the IP, they were worried about losing the quality of the work of Ms. Jannet Garcia, Director of the Office of International Education, who personally helped all students with Study Abroad concerns.


After assuring that Mr. VerMilyea and Ms. Garcia would still be available to students but with more people behind them, Dr Keck proposed to build a committee of interested people to make a plan that would make the transition something positve: "We have a common goal. Now it's time to figure out how to make it happen."


After a few days, and after some alternative proposals to the one by the administration, another meeting was held in which everyone, finally, agreed that the decision had been the right one for the circumstances. About the centralized office, the second floor of the new USC building was considered, but at the end it was decided that it would be better located at the Student Center.


The changes are programmed to be effective next spring, and people are already working on the committee to help the transition.


"There will be a time of transition, but at the end everything is going to flow." said Jerry Alva, Director of OSA, at the end of the Oct. 8 meeting.


Lilia Eskildsen can be reached at

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