Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Student Affairs International Symposium


The OSU International Symposium is designed to provide Chinese higher education senior administrators and student affairs prattainders an opportunity to participate in lecture, discussion and small group tours. This one-week program will focus on the American model of Student Affairs in higher education. Student development theory and practice will be examined, with an emphasis on using theory to guide programs and services. Special emphasis will be placed on student leadership development, career services and the role of graduate students in service delivery.

Group Photo in Front of Library

Student Affairs Goals

  1. Academic Excellence
  2. Develop student leadership skills (decision making involvement, risk taking, communication skills and ethics)
  3. Service learning and Volunteerism
  4. Finding one’s purpose (career exploration, matching passions and aptitudes to majors and career choices
  5. Broaden ones horizon (including cultural exposure, appreciation of differences and cross-cultural training)
  6. Student Wellness and Safety

Background of the ProgramStudent Affairs Logo

In 2007, Dr. Lee Bird, Vice President for Student Affairs was invited by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Education to deliver a speech on the function and services of American student affairs aspart of their professional development program. About 100 university administrators from more than 10 institutions attended her speech. The speech was so well received that it generated further interest in experiencing the current services offered by OSU student affairs for college student development.

As the United States moved from higher education for the elite to a more egalitarian model, the demand for student services increased significantly. Faculty no longer had time to teach and deal with student’s developmental issues. Student Services began to expand to meet these needs. Out of class learning was recognized as an important piece of the university experience (leadership, service, wellness, etc).

It is probable that in the next 5-10 years Chinese student services will become more specialized and mirror the growth and complexity American student services has experienced.

Group SAIS Photo

In 2007, the Chinese Ministry of Education implemented a new policy of enhancing professional development of student affairs personnel. The SAIS was created based on interest expressed from Sichuan Province and institutions from Shanghai. Many Chinese universities that were visited by OSU officials expressed concerns regarding the impact of increased enrollment and the preparation of student services offices. Of particular concern were the areas of career services, building a campus culture and student-oriented living-learning communities. Therefore, the first ever Student Affairs International Symposium specifically designed for Chinese university administrators was held in Stillwater in 2009 representing four major institutions in China. In 2010, a total of 27 participants from four institutions attended the program.

In 2010, Dr. Lee Bird and Dr. Pam Ehlers were invited by Guangdong Provincial Department of Education to deliver one day professional development seminar on student affairs. It was well received and followed by many questions on how to improve student learning and enhance the campus community, leadership development and career education.

Dr. Bird and Student


Participating Institutions:

  • Chengdu University
  • Fudan University
  • Jinan University
  • Northwest A&F University
  • Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
  • Shantou University
  • Sichuan Agricultural University
  • Sichuan University of Science and Engineering
  • South China Normal University
  • Southwest Jiaotong University
  • Southwest University for Nationalities
  • Southwest University of Science and Technology
  • Southwestern University of Finance and Economics
  • Sun Yat-sen University
  • United International College
  • Zhanjiang Normal UniversitySAIS Award



SAIS Awards

The Content of the Program

Part I: Seminars

Participants will be provided a series of lectures given by faculty and administrators at OSU. Each lecture will last 90-120 minutes. All lecture materials will be translated into Chinese.

Topics include:

  • College Student Development Theories and Practices.
  • Best Practices in Career Services and Career Education
  • Overview of American Student Services and value added for students
  • Enhancing students’ academic connections through living-learning communities
  • The use of graduate assistants in the student affairs Leadership development
  • Student clubs and organizations and student governance
  • Campus crisis management
  • New student orientation programs

Part II: Small Group Practice

Participants will have small group tour times with a staff member (mostly a director of one department) in different units during regular working hours to experience the daily management in the Division of Student Affairs

Part III: Other Activities

  • Meet with Academic Deans for possible future academic collaboration
  • Meet with international students at OSU (especially Chinese students) to better understand the campus experience of international students.
  • Visit National Cowboy Heritage Museum and sightseeing and shopping in Oklahoma City

SAIS Presentation

Participants Reflections

SAIS Presenter"This is a great experience for me. I am confident that what I have learned and experienced are definitely beneficial to my current position. The fundamental principles of student services need to be transformed to student-centered services in China. The concept of serving for students, working with students and care about students truly provide a great OSU experience. The Career Services, the Colvin Center and Campus Life are great reflections of how to apply the college student theory to the real world. I think the design of the programs really help students to go through their developmental stage and become a human being as a whole."

"China higher education has been promoting critical thinking and innovation for students. We have been focusing on the classroom setting and how to teach students to be creative and innovative. After attending the symposium, I think we are missing the important opportunities of the campus involvement and activities. Students can be creative and innovative if they are provided the opportunities to organize events or work in the office as a student worker. Although the structures of the student services are different between two countries, the fundamental principles of serving students should be the same. I have experienced the thorough services and programs to promote the independence and interdependence of college students."

"I think we have learned so much from OSU. I really appreciate that OSU is willing to open its door and welcome us to experience the best services and comprehensive programs offered here to students. I think I have gained a lot of professional knowledge on student services. I also learned what students will experience on this campus. I hope OSU can offer such opportunity to more of my students in the future."

Apply NOW!! Program Registration form   

Click HERE for Chinese Version of SAIS Program                                                                                                  

If you have any question, please contact:   

Office of International Students and Scholars of OSU

Vivian Wang

Manager of Chinese Development


Student Union, Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 405-744-5459
Fax: 405-744-8120