November 2014: Best Ways to Engage International Students in Leadership Programs

Increasing Intl. Student Engagement Through Leadership Developme

Many institutions of higher education recognize leadership as a vital component of a well-rounded college education. For international students, leadership development can be a key component in helping them to be actively engaged on campus (e.g., thus increasing retention, building networks, etc.). It definitely has a snow ball effect—students who participate in leadership programs will be more motivated to seek out other leadership opportunities.


At the 2011 NAFSA Region VIII Conference, my colleagues and I presented a session titled “Increasing Intl. Student Engagement Through Leadership Development.” The session explored three different leaderships programs—International Student Advisory Board, International Orientation Peer Leaders, and Global Ambassadors. For the presentation, we asked our student groups the following questions: 1) “Has XXX helped you develop your leadership skills?” and 2) “Has XXX helped you to be more engaged on campus?” The respondents overwhelmingly felt they had benefited greatly from participating in the programs. This discussion is a good reminder that we should be surveying our students regularly!


For those who are interested, here are the links to our presentation PPT and handout:



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