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Academics

UOP International: An update on our partnership with Shorelight Education

May 3, 2018

Background

Since April 2016, Pacific has partnered with Shorelight Education to foster a global learning community by expanding access to a diverse group of qualified international students looking to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in the United States. Our partnership is one of shared values and our commitment to ensure a successful University of the Pacific. 

Under the name University of the Pacific International (UOPI), the partnership offers wrap-around support services, dedicated ESL preparation, transitional programming, and personalized enrollment support services for international students. UOPI supports Pacific 2020R and the Strategic Enrollment Plan in the pursuit of new student markets and student success. More detailed information about UOPI can be found here.  

Progress to Date

UOPI's first undergraduate intake was spring 2017. Since then, Pacific and UOPI have welcomed over 85 international students from more than 15 countries including Azerbaijan, China, Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. This is approximately 70% more students than the original 2017 enrollment projections (n=41) for undergraduate enrollment.  

To date, UOPI has matriculated 11 students into Pacific degree fields such as Business Administration, Computer Science, Biological Sciences and Engineering Physics. Current UOPI students plan to pursue additional majors including Piano performance, Sociology, Media and Athletics Training upon matriculation. UOPI sets a progression standard of 88% per year, and has thus far met this goal by progressing 100% of students in fall 2017, and 86% in spring 2018.   

UOPI students gain exposure to the Pacific community, improve their English language capability, acculturate to Stockton, California and the United States, and matriculate into Pacific to complete their degrees. In addition to our shared goal of student success, student satisfaction and fostering a sense of belonging at University of Pacific is critical to our mission. UOPI's Live, Learn and Grow course, designed to support transition to U.S. higher education, offers a variety of programming, often co-led with departments or organizations on campus, to help international students feel connected and integrated in the university, confident in the classroom, and engaged in the local community. UOPI surveys students throughout their time in the program to measure satisfaction, support as well as self-assessment indicators such as connectedness, confidence in academic skills, and sense of belonging. As the partnership grows, reporting and review of satisfaction rates, currently at 93% based on 2017 data (n=23), will be a forthcoming.  

Planning for 18-19

The changes to leadership at the steering committee, subcommittee and UOPI team offers a renewed opportunity for goal setting this calendar year. Focused plans include continued work with Pacific departments to streamline processes, strengthening communications with the campus community, and expanding access to Pacific graduate degree programs in support of the university's three campuses.  

UOPI continues to grow its on-site team, currently staffed with thirteen members all employed by Shorelight Education. Located in refurbished Elbert Covell Hall, UOPI works in a communal open space and looks to revamp its interior by the start of Fall 2018.  

Planning for the upcoming academic year is not without its external challenges. UOPI is budgeting for 85 new student enrollments for Fall 2018, despite a downward trend of international enrollments across the nation. According to the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), total international enrollment is down by four percent, noting that international graduate enrollment is declining more rapidly than undergraduate enrollments. Both Pacific and Shorelight continue to monitor potential changes to China trade policy, which could also impact student enrollment. A substantial challenge will likely be visa issuance and rejection, noting UOPI is seeing an upward trend in rejection rates. Shorelight's government affairs unit is working with consulates/embassies to raise awareness of its partners, including Pacific. In addition, the UOPI team is working with Pacific's marketing teams to further expand brand awareness overseas and planning for familiarization trips such as the recent China agency trip to the Stockton Campus on April 20, 2018.  

Pacific and UOPI are eager to realize graduate student pathway programs. Previous work to launch graduate programs with Shorelight was substantially delayed due to time needed to adjudicate Pacific's I-17 along with the need to streamline internal processes. In late November 2017, Pacific received its adjudication and since then, UOPI and Pacific colleagues have been working internally towards a first intake of graduate students for Spring 2019. A team of Pacific and UOPI members meet weekly to finalize elements that include admissions, program calendars and pricing, IT integration and user acceptance testing, operational requirements, marketing build-out and training for recruitment staff. The following degree programs are participating in the first phase launch:  

McGeorge School of Law: 

  • Master of Law (LLM) 
  • Master of Science in Law (MSL)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Master of Public Policy (MPP)  

School of Engineering and Computer Science: 

  • Master of Science (MS) in Cybersecurity
  • Master of Science (MS) in Analytics
  • Master of Science in Engineering Science (MSES) in Engineering Management
  • Master of Science in Engineering Science (MSES), Non-Thesis Option with Concentrations in Engineering Management, Electrical & Computer Engineering / Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering  

Governance

Since inception, Pacific and UOPI have worked to optimize governance structure and process for the Partnership to achieve our goals. The partnership is guided by a Steering Committee and three subcommittees that include 50/50 representation from Pacific and Shorelight.  

A Pacific-appointed faculty member serves 25% of his/her time as the Academic Chair ensuring academic quality and progression standards. The Academic Chair reports to Patricia Campbell, dean of University College, who serves as the main university lead for the Partnership. A UOPI managing director, Jennifer Weinman, reports to the Steering Committee, and meetings are held on a quarterly basis to review strategic goals, opportunities for growth, and alignment. This design is purposeful, ensuring full cooperation between Pacific and UOPI for its activities. For the 2018-19 Academic year, the steering committee and subcommittee memberships and charges can be found here.  

Special Acknowledgments

Pacific and UOPI would like to thank Greg Rohlf, associate professor of history in the College of the Pacific, for his service as UOPI Academic Chair. With his return to the faculty in June, we would like to thank him for his academic oversight, which ensured courses within the program met Pacific's standards for quality. He served as a critical liaison between various members of the Pacific community.  

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