TU takes “big step forward” in international education

By Megan Bradshaw on April 29, 2018

Towson University takes the lead in advocating for international education in Maryland

International Walkway at Towson University
Towson University is home to an International Walkway, where illuminated flagpoles fly international flags that represent the home countries of Towson University’s international student population.

On Thursday, April 26, Towson University hosted the inauguration of the Maryland International Education Consortium (MIEC) in the University Union’s Potomac Lounge.

MIEC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting international students and education. It will support collaborative initiatives to recruit international students and visiting scholars and to develop globally competent students by offering learning-abroad opportunities. MIEC aims to cultivate a global learning network through its professional development programs for its members’ international educators.

Saleha Suleman, TU assistant vice president for international initiatives and MIEC president said, “My passion to accelerate globalization at Towson and in Maryland, as well as a desire to collaborate with my colleagues and create an advocacy forum for international education, drove me to create this organization.”

During the event, Maryland Secretary of Education James Fielder assisted in the ribbon cutting, and Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith issued a statement from the governor’s office proclaiming April 26 Maryland International Education Day.

Fielder called international education a “catalyst for change and learning to think broadly.” Wobensmith added it was “the best investment in our future,” hailing the consortium for helping the state “take a big step forward.”

Three people standing on a stage
International Initiatives Assistant Vice President Saleha Suleman (center) with Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith (left) and Maryland Secretary of Education James Fielder.

An international education fair and rotation of the flags on TU’s International Walkway preceded the inauguration. The illuminated flagpoles fly international flags that represent the home countries of TU’s international student population.

Information technology major Zia Dar ’18—a Pakistan native— attended the reception.

"Higher education in Maryland is awesome,” said Dar. “Before transferring from Montgomery College, I hung out at a couple of Maryland universities. I chose Towson because of my department faculty. Before I came here, I talked with the professors and counselors. I felt really comfortable, and I really liked the IT major here.

“The Maryland education system is known everywhere, so I would tell other international students they would get a good education here and plenty of chances to get hired after graduation,” he continued.

The cabinet and member institution board comprises representatives from Montgomery College, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Salisbury University and Goucher College. The cabinet also includes a government liaison.

The member institutions will collaborate further through Study Maryland, MIEC’s international recruitment arm. Led by TU’s Anna Wise, Study Maryland will serve to enhance Maryland’s branding and reputation as the preferred host for international students.

“International students are really important for a variety of reasons,” said Wise, the MIEC liaison for international recruitment and TU’s associate director for international recruitment. “The world is getting smaller and we need to know about different cultures in order to be fully engaged in today’s society. International students provide a different prospective and skillset. There are also significant economic benefits to increased populations of international students.”

According to NAFSA:Association of International Educators, international students in the U.S. contribute $36.9 billion to the economy and support 450,331 jobs. For every seven international students enrolled, three U.S. jobs are created and supported.

MIEC and Study Maryland aim to boost collaboration among the international divisions of Maryland’s community college, public and private institutions of higher education.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Campus.