UW–Madison’s mission statement, 2009 reaccreditation self-study, and strategic plans all give attention to the vital role of preparing “global citizens and leaders of the future” and establishing collaborative relationships across the world. The Global Competencies Task Force charged the campus to “scale up” programs that require faculty, staff, and students to cross-cultural and linguistic boundaries as we work and learn in collaboration with others. The Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) unit of the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) serves as the admitting, advising, and dean’s office for all nondegree students at UW–Madison, including visiting students here via our formal international exchange program. Given frequent inquiries from institutions, governments, and individuals from abroad, interest in short-term study at UW–Madison was evident. As these international students are advanced-level undergraduates and graduate students, their enrollment presented the opportunity to increase and diversify international students on campus and strengthen international partnerships without compromising the goals for undergraduate admissions to place priority on freshmen Wisconsin residents. With the endorsement of a new Visiting International Student Program (VISP), ACSSS could extend its role of admitting visiting students and thereby support a number of institutional goals including:
- Develop global competencies of our students and staff via increased interaction with students from other countries in learning, research, and out-of-classroom activities.
- Build positive global connections with institutions abroad seeking to send their students here for one term.
- Support faculty efforts to establish productive collaborations with partners abroad, advanced students, and institutions.
- Increase the number and diversity of international students at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level, where student collaboration and team problem-solving is highest.
- Recognize the conviction that global proficiency contributes to the success of all students and can be gained via the internationalization of our campus.
- Increase the number of lifelong partners of UW–Madison who live in countries all over the world
- With non-resident full-time tuition assessment, contribute to the Educational Innovation (EI) objectives of generating new revenue sources and improving capacity while enhancing student learning.
VISP-Sponsored Cohort Model
Proposed in December 2012 as a mid-year VISP enhancement and approved by Provost Paul DeLuca, Jr., to support faculty interest in hosting international students if curricular and enrollment space can be created:
- Provost approves a new model within VISP to support faculty proposals to enroll a cohort by directing funds to the department via the school/college.
- Terms of the cohort model include a 10-student minimum, ample courses to meet credit load requirements for visas, and collaboration with ACSSS for student selection, admission, and academic advising.
- To ensure enrollment space in courses, DCS commits to transfer 80% of the captured gross tuition for the cohort students as 101 funds to the school/college to distribute as agreed upon to the host department(s). 20% of the gross tuition remains with DCS and the general VISP pool of funds for campus-wide expenditure.
- The sponsoring department and school/college are advised to execute a memorandum of agreement regarding respective fiscal and other responsibilities and to confirm funds are sufficient to support curricular plans.
VISP-Sponsored Cohort Policy Summary
- For VISP-sponsored cohort students, 80% of the student's tuition is transferred by DCS to the school/college of the host department(s) as 101 funds. The school/college and the department(s) establish an agreement of how this transferred tuition is distributed to create course capacity for the cohort students.
- Course sections developed with VISP cohort tuition funds may allow the enrollment of non-cohort students, such as degree students, as space allows.
- VISP cohort students have a required set of courses in the host department(s), but they are able to take additional courses as space, academic advising, and their tuition payment allows.
Students in VISP and VISP-sponsored cohort groups share the same student requirements and goals, including tuition rate, full-time status rules, mandatory orientation attendance, opportunity to participate in student activities, and support to fully engage in a range of learning opportunities—both in the classroom and outside the classroom—while at UW–Madison. This full engagement supports not only VISP students but other UW–Madison students and programs which benefit from the greater connection and opportunity to learn from each other.