By Samantha Phillips
Shuiping Jiang has 14 years of experience working in international education in China and the United States, and now she is bringing her talents to Youngstown State University to work as the assistant director of International Admissions and Recruitment.
This position was created to help the International Programs Office expand international outreach, establish partnerships with overseas universities and process international student applications.
YSU Provost Martin Abraham said one of YSU’s goals is to increase enrollment. He believes they can do that by growing the university’s population of international students. He said it’s important for administration to add staff in the International Program Office, like Jiang, to achieve that goal.
Jiang will begin her job at YSU on Dec. 8. Nathan Myers, associate provost for International and Global Initiatives, said her background and skill set makes her a great fit for the job.
“I think this is a game changer for us,” he said. “She understands the different professional limitations and possibilities in higher education in China, and that’s a huge advantage for YSU.”
Jiang has her master’s degree in economics and bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Qingdao University and the Shandong University of Technology. She has many years of working in positions for international and study abroad programs under her belt, at Chinese and American universities.
“I’m really thrilled to be back to my career as a full-time specialist after being an international student for two years,” she said. “I’m sure I will enjoy my work, my office and my responsibilities.”
She’s leaving her job as the administrative assistant of the Office of Global Engagement at Clemson University in South Carolina to work at YSU. At that position, she assisted with study abroad programs and helped manage their global partnerships.
One thing she is proud of is establishing the International Office at her undergraduate university, Qingdao Agricultural University, in 2005.
“I enjoyed my job a lot. I enjoy international exchanges and collaborations,” Jiang said. “I was in charge of everything.”
Within two years of her working there, the International Office at Qingdao established partnerships with 18 universities. She proceeded to work in five positions there, including working as the director of International Partnerships and Program Operations.
When her school’s collaboration with American universities increased, she was given the opportunity to work at the Murray State University in Kentucky in 2013. She served as the International Recruitment Consultant and assisted in international recruitment and Chinese scholar services.
Jiang is pursuing her Ph.D. for International Family and Community Studies at Clemson University. She is working on her dissertation, which involves international students in higher education, and wants to continue doing research for that paper in Youngstown.
“I was looking for a job that can match my qualifications. At the same time, this job will benefit my dissertation. It’s a mutual benefit,” she said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”
After working at building relationships between universities for years, Jiang realized that some universities are hesitant to try and establish partnerships for fear of wasting time, energy and resources if they aren’t successful.
She’s interested in finding models and theories that can help universities create more successful partnerships.
Jiang said she is excited to work with the international department at YSU. She said she already feels like she belongs there.
“I really appreciate the team, I have a great feeling about it,” she said. “It’s not about the money or level of the position — it’s the team you work with; that’s the most important factor to me.”
It’s her goal to help the team increase international enrollment, create global partnerships and maintain a high-quality experience for international students. She said their strategy must be tailored to YSU for it to be effective.
“Before I start recruitment, I want to identify the strengths, target population and identify the basic policies,” she said. “Then I can use all recruitment channel strategies.”
Recruitment channel strategies include articulation agreements and in-house recruitment. She emphasized that international students need a strong English program at YSU to help them speak fluently to other students at this university.
Jiang said it’s important to increase internet interaction through social media and to advertise the newer technology that YSU is equipped with, like 3D additive manufacturing labs.
As of now, YSU has about 20 Chinese students, and the department is working towards increasing that number. Jiang said reaching out to the Chinese student market is one of her strengths, especially because she already has established relationships there.
“I’m happy the university would like to put more effort into the Chinese student market; the universities I have worked with have nearly 400 Chinese students,” she said. “I can use my resources and skills to improve Chinese student enrollment.”
Abraham recognizes that part of Shuiping’s strength in this role is her understanding of what international students are motivated by and what they expect when they study abroad. Her relationships with Chinese universities and students will be beneficial for YSU, he said.
“We have programs that international students need,” he said. “We are available and able to accommodate these students not just academically, but also socially, and provide a cultural experience that meets their needs as they study in a foreign country.”