By Dr Nneka Johnson, CIS Fellow & International Advisor
I’ve just started a year-long internal Fellowship at CIS, the organization’s first role of this kind. It’s a strategic initiative with the goal of designing and developing a Fellowship Model that can be shared with CIS members.
Our ultimate goal is to develop as a more diverse group of socially responsible leaders through international education.
I’ll be exploring how we all, at CIS, are upholding our Code of Ethics individually and collectively, and how we are living the values of inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA) through our organizational practices.
To do this, we’ll embrace reciprocal learning opportunities across the CIS Global Team—including at the Board level—so we can examine our effectiveness and share insights.
By investing in this fellowship program, CIS hopes to encourage members to do the same, providing on-the-job experience in international educational leadership for historically under-represented educators.
It’s an exciting opportunity for me to grow professionally while supporting the work of CIS, especially as my varied experiences and perspective align so closely with the CIS mission and vision.
My first weeks in the role
I’ve already had the unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the CIS teams responsible for global citizenship and inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA), membership engagement & communications, child Protection & safeguarding, international student transitions, and institutional evaluation.
My first step is to inquire and learn. And although I only started on 1 August, I’ve already learned these seven key things.
- CIS invests in their employees. The onboarding process is deliberate and comprehensive.
- Even though I am still in the learning stage, I already feel my opinion is valued when I meet with the leadership team each month to share my findings and perspective.
- CIS is not a compliance agency, there is a true partnership with member institutions.
- CIS is consummately pursuing innovative ways to support school accreditation, such as the new Pathway 2 option. In addition to the well-established and robust Pathway 1 to CIS International Accreditation, Pathway 2 validates international accreditation through a deep dive focus into one of the drivers (learning & teaching, well-being, and global citizenship & intercultural learning). It allows schools to choose an area of focus according to the school’s strategic priorities, committing to substantial innovation aligned with related standards in that area.
- CIS provides dedicated support to ease the transition of international students to universities worldwide. I already had the pleasure of attending a CIS event that connects students with universities worldwide, and I’m exploring the wealth of resources for guidance counsellors or university admissions representatives, institutional leaders, and student services. I’m excited to join with 800+ members of the CIS community next month in Dublin for the Global Forum on International Admission & Guidance to learn and contribute more.
- From Atlanta to Zurich, CIS organizes a breadth of events, in-person and online, for our member institutions, designing learning experiences for a breadth of roles—board members, school leaders, counsellors, educators, support teams, and more.
- CIS strongly supports I-DEA and global citizenship in international education. I am a member of the CIS Board I-DEA Committee that is charged with ensuring that CIS internally upholds the commitment to I-DEA while supporting all our members with this goal.
These are only the seven initial headlines that resonate with me, and it’s only the beginning of a great reciprocal learning experience!
- Diversity (I-DEA)
- Global citizenship
- Intercultural learning & leadership