Penn’s Annual Roundtable with Stakeholders (PARTS) was initiated in 2009 by Dr. Rudie Altamirano, ISSS director, to find creative ways to effectively serve the international student and scholar community. ISSS staff meets annually during the summer with managers and directors representing Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Social Security Administration (SSA).
These agencies provide service to our international students and scholars in different capacities. CBP grants admission to the United States. The officers review the travel documents and make appropriate determination of immigration status for the foreign national. Foreign nationals apply for social security card if they will be engaging in on-campus and off-campus employment. PennDOT provides the issuance of secure identification credentials such as driver’s license, learner’s permit or identification card.
Purpose and Intended Outcomes
Every year, the stakeholders meet to share best practices and business process improvements, government and office updates and initiatives, and problem solving strategies. Through the years, this discussion has yielded positive outcomes in various ways. The networking among the agencies involved were expanded and strengthened. Open communication between offices was established mitigating confusion about policies, procedures and processes. Finally, one favorable outcome that was achieved was the enhancement of service delivery to the international students and scholars.
Students and scholars are able to avail of services from government agencies with a clear understanding of what is expected from them. Our partner offices also have shared that their goal is to provide the optimum client service within the scope of existing rules and regulations. Through these proactive partnerships, the issues and concerns from our international population decreased considerably.
How can the Penn community be Involved
To help advocate for your needs, ISSS is soliciting feedback from all international students, scholars, faculty, schools and departments with regard to:
- Challenges and concerns experienced when using their services
- Recommendations for business process improvements for the agencies
- Positive enhancements for the services
- Personal anecdotes of exemplary service provided by the government service employees and staff