Fanshawe College: Focusing on international students & utilizing resources wisely

Posted by Admin on January 24, 2019

Fanshawe College, based in Canada, is a longstanding i-graduate customer using the International Student Barometer (ISB) to capture crucial data on international student experiences, enabling them to track and compare satisfaction levels.

Fanshawe is a comprehensive college serving the greater London region by providing flexible learning arrangements and experiential education opportunities developed in response to labour market needs. One of Ontario's largest colleges - with four campuses in London, Simcoe, St. Thomas and Woodstock - Fanshawe serves close to half a million people with a promise to educate, engage, empower and excite. They offer more than 200 degree, diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs to 43,000 students each year, helping people unlock their potential and achieve success in a variety of disciplines including applied arts, business, health care, human services, hospitality and technology.

Using the International Student Barometer  

The ISB tracks and compares the decision-making, expectations, perceptions and intentions of international students from application to graduation. It enables universities and colleges to make informed decisions to enhance the international student experience and drive successful recruitment and marketing strategies. With feedback from over 3 million students worldwide across all student types, levels and years of study, the ISB is the leading benchmarking tool used to track the international student experience.

Fanshawe College has been an i-graduate customer since 2010, participating in eight ISB projects within that time. The ISB is comprehensive and allows institutions the option to influence some of the language within it. Fanshawe College can use their institutional service and division names to ensure questions are clear to their students. Within the survey, they can break down larger service areas, such as the international office, to receive feedback on specific services, such as visa advising. This specific breakdown of results provides enough detail to identify specific points of improvement or success.

Caitlin Smith, International Projects & Exchange Coordinator at Fanshawe College said:

The ISB survey enables us to factually articulate the components of student experience where we excel. It is a well-recognized tool in the competitive global market that compares our results against institutions in our region and across the world: this demonstrates the ongoing need for us to always “think bigger” in our strategies.”

Student insight influences real change 

By participating each year, Fanshawe have been able to identify opportunities for change, make specific and targeted changes, and ultimately see tangible results and improvements in their international student satisfaction rates. i-graduate takes the guesswork out of change, the Fanshawe team feel that they can trust in the data provided by the ISB. They have used the results as an opportunity for regular educational forums of conversations involving all the stakeholders across the college looking at the international enrolment continuum and their role.  Each of these stakeholders has been able to see and advocate for those changes, professional development, or new programs targeted to the best possible international student experience. The analysis available within the survey results has allowed the college to refine what they do for specific populations within the broad international student body.

Within the college the ISB is a communication tool that is viewed with integrity. Faculty and staff from all areas of the college trust the results and the ISB has been a cost-effective way to monitor the impact and results of services. It has allowed Fanshawe to tailor the international student experience, contributing to their global brand, Fanshawe Cares, an arrival service program for students that represents the attitude of the staff, students and volunteers in the International Centre as well as the College itself.

Improving student experience

The survey provides positive feedback for faculty and staff who have worked hard to improve the student experience, they know that their actions are having a positive impact. Faculty within the college are teaching to classrooms that are more diverse then ever. Thanks to the ISB, all faculty in the college have been able to see that their efforts are benefitting students and improving the student perception of the academic experience. Students even rate the method of evaluation, course outlines, the faculty member’s English…as exceptional.  Resume writing, employment workshops and immigration related workshops have been refined as has their arrival services program. The college can build on these successes and continue to support their diverse student body and faculty that have generated the very positive classroom experience. 

Caitlin continued…

Fanshawe College genuinely wants to know, how are we doing, what could we do differently, where will we have the greatest impact?  By asking students through i-graduate, then listening to, and acting on the results, we demonstrate the values that are important to us – focus on students, involve our communities, utilize resources wisely, embrace change and engage each other.”

Working with the i-graduate team 

To conclude, Caitlin said:

“The i-graduate team has been very responsive and supportive! All the ISB results are shared in a clear and concise manner; the team responds quickly to any questions and is available to support our survey launch and data analysis. The i-graduate team provides an in-depth results analysis presentation where faculty and staff are confident that they are speaking with an expert.”

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