Multiple research studies show that higher college student engagement is associated with higher levels of retention and graduation. Intentional, thoughtful engagement between international students and domestic students is the aim of the proposed Common Connections program.
The UMTC is a very large institution with a wide range of educational social, community, cultural and other opportunities for its students. MCAE, which recently celebrated its 10th year, is a resource designed to help “make the campus smaller” that can be accessed by all UMN students independent of identity; as such, MCAE services are open to international students, and MCAE is not college-limited. The current proposal is designed to intentionally promote engagement between international and domestic students, and to also provide increased support for English language learners. This focus is in line with UMTC efforts to internationalize the campus, would be a “win-win” for both groups of students, and would be a positive step towards breaking down some of the existing silos between different campus students, constituents, and units.