Tony Johnson named Director of Intercultural Student Engagement

I write to update you about the latest change in Student Affairs.  Since last spring I have been talking with the Provost, deans, faculty, and staff in Student Affairs about the need for additional services in our international student population.  I’ve also read a number of memos that go back over ten years, regarding RISD’s need to better support our international student population.

With the percentage of international students currently approaching 25%, it is clear that more services are needed – from the processing of I20 forms and tracking for SEVIS, to the support of these students outside of the studio and classroom.  Additional resources to accomplish this have been a challenge over time and our current circumstance is no different.

As we implement new initiatives in the strategic plan, we’ve been able to add to and maximize the talent we have in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  In the last year Tony Johnson and his assistant were joined by two graduate assistants and later this spring we will be welcoming a diversity coordinator to work with the underrepresented student communities in our population.  Given the success that Tony has had with diverse groups of students and his ability to stretch resources effectively, I’ve asked him to oversee the area of student services for our international population.  With this broadened responsibility, Tony’s title will change to Director of Intercultural Student Engagement.  I expect that Tony will bring to this new challenge all of the dedication, grace, and hard work that he has been known for during his years at RISD.

Serving as Associate Director of International Student Services, Kate Sacco will join Tony in this very important merger.  Kate served as international student advisor at RISD for a number of years before relocating to Portland Oregon where she worked for ELS Language Centers.  We are happy to have her back at RISD.  Kate’s experience as an ESL instructor as well as her experience with the Council on International Educational Exchange provides additional resources to support this very important population at RISD.

Both Tony and Kate will join Janet Hoyte, the student affairs mainstay of international student service.  Under Janet’s leadership orientation programs have been created, new systems instituted, and connections made for our international students.  Janet’s great work will only be enhanced as this team comes together.

Student Affairs will continue to partner with Academic Affairs about student support activities.  As we move forward with these changes, Academic Affairs is concurrently about to begin a search for a new director to oversee further development of international strategies, and academic programs and partnerships.  We look forward to collaborating on these very important initiatives.

Jean Eddy

Senior Vice President

for Students and Enrollment

Director of Intercultural Student Engagement, Kate Sacco, Tony Johnson

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