For the past three years, Columbia Theological Seminary has been addressing our institution’s essential values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. We have listened to numerous international students, increased support and services to them, and made structural improvements that will benefit Columbia for the long term. Some background:
- A survey we conducted in the 2016-2017 academic year* revealed that the academic and social needs of international students were not being met.
- Since the survey’s release, the seminary’s administrative leaders hosted conversations and listening sessions with our international students.
- We strategically reviewed our structure – what was working, what was not working, and what improvements were needed for the well-being of international students at Columbia. The data indicated that the Office of International Programs was not fully addressing international student needs. Change was needed.
Columbia needed to develop and expand structures that better meet the needs of our international students and to better reflect our core values. The structural advancements already underway at Columbia will improve academic outcomes for all international students. For example, we have assigned six staff persons to assume responsibilities that provide a greater range of personal support for all international students. We have drastically increased financial resources for international students in the form of:
- care for transitioning to the U.S.
- emergency assistance
- programmatic support
All our efforts, extending from the survey three years ago to the changes we continue to make, embody our commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This work helps us live out our mission “to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative and effective leaders for the sake of the church and the world.” We continue to enhance intercultural competence among faculty, staff, and the administration.
*Previously, we reported “A survey we conducted in 2016…”
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