Penn's Annual Roundtable with Stakeholders PARTS
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Penn’s Annual Roundtable with Stakeholders (PARTS) was initiated in 2009 by Dr. Rudie Altamirano, ISSS Director, to find ways to effectively serve the international student and scholar community by meeting annually with representatives from government agencies including:
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
- Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
- Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
- US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)
These agencies provide services 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 a social security card with the SSA 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 and identification card. SEVP manages the SEVIS system that facilitates the management of immigration records. USCIS is the division that adjudicates F-1 students' applications for Optional Practical Training.
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 and networking among the agencies involved were expanded and strengthened. Open communication between offices also helps to reduce confusion about policies, procedures and processes. Finally, one favorable outcome that has been achieved is the enhancement of services 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 solicits feedback from all international students, scholars, faculty, schools and departments with regard to:
Challenges and concerns experienced when using these 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