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Daniel Guhr

International education expert Daniel Guhr led several public seminars related to Ohio University's recruitment and retention strategy for international students.

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Expert’s visit focuses on OHIO’s international recruitment, retention strategy

Ohio University’s international recruitment efforts will contribute to its national and international competiveness by enriching campus life and the classroom experience with people from all over the world.

That was one of the key messages delivered by international education expert Daniel Guhr, who visited campus in late April and led several public seminars related to OHIO’s recruitment and retention strategy for international students.

Guhr, the managing director of the Illuminate Consulting Group, spoke about developing a sustainable international recruitment strategy designed to enhance OHIO’s campus experience for all students, faculty and staff.

In early April, Guhr held phone and videoconference meetings with a large number of OHIO staff, faculty and international students to seek information about how OHIO supports international students. Then during his April 29-30 visit, Guhr led three seminars and held small group meetings with various units that serve international students.

Large crowds attended all three of the seminars, where Guhr shared a data-driven overview of the competitive landscape of international student recruitment around the world. An overarching theme of his presentation was the value of recruiting international talent as a core dimension of enhancing the university’s academic experience, as well as its domestic and global profile. He emphasized that international students can contribute to the sustained recruitment and retention of all students through the rich academic experience. Also, international students help faculty advance the research and innovative projects that raise OHIO’s profile.

OHIO recruits students from around the world; students from more than 118 countries studied at OHIO during the 2014-2015 school year. These students report that they are overall very happy with their experiences at OHIO and that faculty and staff are accommodating and supportive.

While OHIO has been successful with international enrollment, Guhr noted that now is the time for OHIO to consider its key questions related to globalization and to ensure that strategically planned international recruitment contributes to enhancing the quality and diversity of the educational experience and campus life at OHIO. 

OHIO has seen record growth of international undergraduate students over the past several years. Current indicators combined with global trends in higher education, however, are showing increased challenges and new areas for development. OHIO needs a strategy to respond to these challenges.

Some of the key recommendations from Guhr include:

  • OHIO has done an outstanding job of attracting students from China and Saudi Arabia, and these students now account for half of OHIO’s international students (67 percent for undergraduate alone). Going forward, OHIO should consider developing a multi-channel recruiting approach to support a more balanced diversity of international student population. 
  • As OHIO has seen a surge in applications in recent years, it is critical to process applications quickly, expertly, and within a competition-based framework to increase the number of students who commit to coming to OHIO. 
  • International students’ experiences need to be evaluated from the application stage through admissions and then on to graduation to ensure that OHIO recruits and retains quality students by providing necessary support services. 
  • OHIO’s annual tuition and fees are relatively inexpensive compared to its peers nationally. However, the total cost of degree acquisition combined with living expenses makes OHIO less competitive when compared to increasingly popular three-year degree programs in Europe and Australia. OHIO needs to explore opportunities to compete with these growing international student destinations.
  • International alumni are increasingly willing to give back and help their alma maters by providing global brand outreach, connecting the university with the key decision makers, and assisting with the recruitment effort. OHIO has proud and loyal alumni around the world, and this is an important area for OHIO to develop further. 
  • Global rankings are an increasingly popular source for students to use to make their college choice. OHIO needs to understand where it is placed in the various rankings, but also needs to define its global strategy to differentiate itself from similar institutions in those rankings.  

Videos and PowerPoints from each seminar are posted online at https://www.ohio.edu/global/resources/seminars.cfm.

Guhr’s visit was part of the process of developing OHIO’s global strategy. OHIO will host several global strategy forums and other activities throughout the fall semester as part of the process. For additional information on the development of OHIO’s global strategy, please log on to https://www.ohio.edu/global/resources/strategy.cfm.  

This article was provided by Ohio University’s Office of Global Affairs.