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Whether one is at a public or private institution, state policies related to immigration impact your campus, shape the climate for students, and can determine access beyond campus. For example, all students can be affected by state licensure requirements if they are not eligible to obtain licences due to their immigration status. People and programs can provide needed touchpoints and resources, while the lack of staff or support services can belie any message of support that administrators may send.

This means faculty and staff need to be more fully engaged in immigration policies, understand our practices and their impact, and help support campus leaders to do so.

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In addition, coalitions and partnerships can enable campuses to offer resources not otherwise available, including pilot programs for legal services for immigrant students and communities of practice for supporting undocumented students. The current challenges also call on institutions to pursue new strategies to support their students and campuses.


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I would suggest that higher education leaders have to connect more systemically, creatively, and holistically, both locally and nationally, and with multiple kinds of partners — both in the traditional higher education realm and across sectors. Campuses are addressing a far wider range of immigrant student needs than ever before, including legal services, targeted mental health support, non-employment based paid learning opportunities, and other resources for undocumented students — and are doing so creatively to lower costs and increase effectiveness, utilizing cross-campus collaborations, local partnerships, and national alliances.

Colleges can proactively audit their own policies, scholarships, and programs to ascertain if they are inclusive of undocumented students, and if not, why not.

Let’s consider the following trends:

In recent years, a number of colleges opened up programs to DACA recipients or, in the case of some private colleges, classified DACA recipients as domestic students for the purposes of admission and financial aid. The ongoing federal impasse bodes ill for immigration reform despite the recent successful passage of the Dream and Promise Act of in the House in early June , and therefore institutions need to stop relying on the DACA status and extend eligibility to other undocumented students.

While many immigration matters cannot be effectively resolved at the individual institutional level, and campus leaders should be willing to engage beyond campus, we need to start with our individual institutions. Building a strong institutional toolkit to address immigration matters and support students on campus is critical and an ongoing task. Your institutional focus must be sustained and student-focused. You can think about your institutional toolkit in terms of policies, programs, and people. First, policies at all levels matter. Are they gatekeepers or gateways? What actions can you take to improve?

Programs on campus above all need to be student centered. For example, some of the top issues for undocumented and international students include legal services, access to mental health providers, and support for post-graduation careers. The research has shown it is vital to be visible and explicit in our welcome and resources, both on websites and in offices. What makes sense on your campus? What is happening on one campus may not play out the same on another, especially in different states. Finally, people on campus need to come together — whether in standing immigration task forces or working groups — and then look beyond campus.

Uplifting the importance of immigration and sharing stories is powerful and necessary.

Our colleges and universities are uniquely situated to combine the strength of personal narratives with compelling data, to demonstrate the amazing contributions of first- and second-generation immigrant and international students, alumni, staff, and faculty on campus. If we are to think broadly about the impacts of immigration across our campuses, and act collaboratively — locally and nationally — to support students and other campus stakeholders, we will be in a position to effect positive change in the short and long term. She previously served as vice president for student affairs and professor of politics at Pomona College and as special assistant to the president, faculty research associate, and senior director at Caltech , and is a non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.

She is the author of Reconstructing Citizenship: The Politics of Nationality Reform and Immigration in Contemporary France , has written articles and delivered presentations on immigration and higher education, highly skilled labor in the United States, and has written articles and conducted workshops on supporting undocumented students. Nathan D. While immigration is not a factor analyzed in depth by Grawe, he identifies post immigration trends as a key factor leading to increased population growth and enrollments in higher education.

NEA - Diversity Toolkit Introduction

William R. For earlier estimates, see New American Undergraduates. Department of Education, November , NCES , which estimated that first and second-generation immigrant students accounted for approximately a quarter of all undergraduates in Since beginning our work, we have discovered a community of fellowship in the form of a recent book written by Hutchinson titled Experiences of Immigrant Professors: Challenges, Cross-Cultural Differences, and Lessons for Success.

There is unspoken but pervasive pedagogical and cultural shock for immigrant international faculty at multiple levels, Hutchinson argues.

A Daring Journey: From Immigration to Education

This shock presents as differences in modes of communication including accents and personal presentation , power distance in relationships in educational settings, curricular expectations such as those associated with rigor, and faculty norms. Some international faculty have been able to mitigate the effects of cultural and pedagogical shock because they were educated in the U. If these forms of culture shock are not identified and understood, the American higher education system may lose out on a valuable human resource.

To retain immigrant faculty, institutions must think strategically about how they can offer support to these individuals to improve their recruitment and retention. These faculty members serve an important role at a time when student success is increasingly tied to global engagement.

Editorial: Immigration and Urban Education in the New Millennium: The Diversity and the Challenges

Instead of trying to minimize cultural differences or force professors to assimilate in ways that diminish their cultural identities, it is important that colleges and universities figure out how to provide a welcoming and supportive environment. Therefore, we suggest some ways that institutions can support immigrant faculty given that their presence is an integral part of exposing students to different worldviews and experiences, expanding scholarly inquiry through different lenses, and creating truly global institutions that align with the interconnectedness of our society.

It is worthwhile to invest in the development of learning communities for international faculty, as well as those that enable them to interact with faculty from U. Institutions may also consider sponsoring intercultural competency workshops for both faculty and students.


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It is imperative to provide such opportunities to both groups as it helps create an environment where cultural identities are not penalized. By implementing some of these practices, U. This form of cultural hybridity — a term used by Homi K. Bhabha, an author and a professor of English and American literature and language at Harvard University — recognizes the cultural contexts in which behaviors and actions are embedded and how they can enrich the learning environment when new expectations and norms honoring different cultural experiences are created.

By naming and framing these issues, we can better leverage the rich experiences that these individuals bring to American higher education. Darlene Xiomara Rodriguez, PhD, is an assistant professor of social work and human services in nonprofit management at Kennesaw State University.