Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WVU reaches out to Asia.

In Malaysia in 2010, via WVU Today.

The Charleston Daily Mail has news out of Morgantown about five West Virginia University representatives currently on a recruiting trip to Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia:

Michael Wilhelm, director of the university's Office of International Students and Scholars said in the last year alone WVU has seen a 32.5 percent increase in the number of applications and a 36.8 percent increase in admissions for first-time, freshman international students.

Five years ago WVU had about 300 international undergraduate students. That number has doubled, he said.

"It's transformed the campus in Morgantown," Wilhelm said.

Paul Hill, chancellor of the state's Higher Education Policy Commission, said with West Virginia's high school population declining, international students soon may be more needed than ever.
And maybe most interesting:
Wilhelm said there are about 1,000 WVU alumni in Japan alone, Wilhelm said.
And from a WVU Today press release from July 18th:
“This trip is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to our international graduates, as well as those living and working in these countries,” said Steve Douglas, president & CEO, WVU Alumni Association. “Our goal is to bring WVU to them, encourage their participation in helping us recruit more international students, form chapters to keep them engaged, and share the wonderful story of WVU.”
There are unfortunate stereotypes attached to the state of West Virginia, and people may be surprised to find any sort of international connection there at all. But as a large public school, WVU will of course attract the attention of international students looking to complete a year or four of their studies in the United States. Let's be realistic, though, too: having considerably lower English-language proficiency requirements helps, as WVU has some of the lowest TOEFL requirements in the country, requiring only 61, compared to the 80 required by Penn State or the 84 - 100 by Maryland.

In any event, schools all across the US are turning to Asia to boost enrollment figures, though Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand are less-popular targets. Predictably, WVU cites "Advance international activity and global engagement" as one of the five goals in its "2020 Strategic Plan for the Future". According to WVU's count, the number of international students has doubled in the past decade, and calculates 1,403 international students enrolled in Fall 2010.

Looking again at the 2010 census figures, the state is seeing an increase of diversity, exceeding even the trends seen throughout the country. According to the 2010 figures, there has been a 31% increase in the number of Asians in West Virginia from 2000, though they still comprise only 1% of the population. The 2010 census map, available through the New York Times, offers demographic information on smaller tracts of land throughout the country. You'll notice that most of Morgantown has experienced huge population increases and demographic shifts over the past 10 years, but the only area in the state with an Asian population 10% or more of the total populace is a small section between Rt. 705 and County Route 67/1, a tract unmarked on Google Maps and that belongs to the Department of Energy. The Pew Research Center, taking data from the US Census, says 3.6% of Morgantown's population is Asian, the highest percentage in the state. Of course, a transient international student body will not be reflected in those totals.