Post September 11 : college international student offices, management plans, and student support in a time of crisis

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Richard Rodman


Crisis management is an essential part of international education. While much is written about crisis management in education, little of it focuses on student exchange/study abroad programs, especially in times of political crisis. This study presents the results from a survey involving professionals who work with international students on U.S. campuses. Professionals having membership with NAFSA: Association of International Educators were invited via the Internet to complete an online questionnaire that examined their views on their institutions' crisis management plans, particularly political crisis plans. Seventy-six respondents were questioned about the types of plans (written/oral, general crisis plans/ political crisis plans) and support their offices gave to international students studying in the U.S. during the events of September 11, 2001, both in terms of moral support and in terms of measures taken to ensure their safety. The data analysis revealed that over half of the International Student Offices surveyed had crisis management plans directed specifically for international students studying in the U.S., but few institutions had specific plans for managing political crises. However, over seventy-five percent of the international education professionals surveyed believed that a political crisis management plan was necessary and would be well received. In general, the international student offices surveyed felt that they handled the events after September 11, 2001, well and are better prepared to respond to future political crises. Data gathered on how international education professionals supported their international student communities is of great benefit for future crisis management plans.

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