ISAB members are divided into four sub-committees. Each sub-committee consists of six members, one of whom is the chair of that sub-committee. All members, including new members, are eligible to become the chair of a sub-committee. The subcommittees represent some of the major areas of concern for international students, namely – academic performance and integration, administrative and financial concerns, and student life. In the past, administrators and students in various IPOG subcommittee meetings and IPOG meetings have deliberated on student concerns, framed solutions and examined best practices to resolve student issues.
Professional Development (PD)
PD will be focused on the success of international students in the time after Penn, and will be responsible for working to improve Penn’s initiatives in preparing international students for careers and life in general. There are myriad considerations for international students when thinking about life after Penn, including acquisition of transferable skills, visa and work permit applications, OPT and CPT, careers guidance and networking. Previous projects have included workshops about CPT and OPT and the creation of a Wharton-based mentoring scheme.
Admissions and Financial Affairs (AFA)
AFA will work to improve the admission of international students to Penn, analyze financial aid and scholarship opportunities for students and ensure students’ financial health while on campus. A diverse range of areas fall under the purview of AFA, including the application process, marketing Penn abroad, financial aid resources, US taxes, US credit history and student employment. Previous projects have included the creation of clearer tax advice and research into the state of financial aid for international students.
Academic Integration (AI)
AI will focus on the integration of international students in the classroom and other academic settings. Many students report issues related to grading, course expectations, course registration and selection, collaborating with domestic students, participating in interactive discussions, relationships with professors and supervisors and acting as a TA to other students. AI will aim to create and implement policies to ameliorate such issues. Potential projects might include advocating for clearer grading guidelines, expanding Penn Course Review, workshops on academic integration and investigating revisions to TA training.
Community Integration (CI)
CI will aim to aid the assimilation of international students into the Penn community outside the classroom. Making lasting relationships with domestic and other international students is often a key aim and key struggle for many new students at Penn. Furthermore, a lack of appreciation for cultural differences, by both international students and domestic parties, can lead to avoidable hurdles in creating a synergistic community. Previous projects have included an assessment of the representation of international students in Penn student government.
Previous ISAB Subcommittees 2007-2012
Student Life and Cultural Integration (2007 - 2012)
Looks at the issues that deal with a student’s adjustment to the cultural lifestyle at Penn. Some issues discussed in the past years include the expansion of an international mentorship program to the graduate level, in-country pre-departure orientation programs, and an intercultural leadership program retreat.
Administrative and Financial Concerns (2007 - 2012)
Addresses concerns that involve a student’s finances and/or their experiences with administrative processes on-campus. Some issues discussed in the past years include helping students get no-cosign loans, negotiating discounts with airline and cell phone providers, and looking into the acceptance of internationally common credit cards.
Housing and Public Safety (2007 - 2012)
Makes recommendations regarding a student’s concerns with both on-campus and off-campus housing, as well as public safety. Some issues discussed in the past years include sending out acceptance letters with housing information earlier, the feasibility of housing loans, and providing students with more information on off-campus housing options.
Academic Performance and Integrity (2007 - 2012)
Tackles issues pertaining to the academic experiences of a student at Penn. Some issues discussed in the past years include class participation, academic integrity, and developing informational materials for students and faculty members/advisors.