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  • RAISE Center completes Global Competency Project
  • Faculty teach summer GAP courses online
  • Student-led article published in JIS
  • Three universities join Project RISE for 2020-2021
  • RAISE Center garners external funding for global competency
  • RAISE Center established July 2020

2022 News

Research-to-Practice Collaboration

Forum on Education Abroad Logo
The RAISE Center is in collaboration with the Forum on Education Abroad, who publishes Frontiers: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, to publish a series of research-to-practice briefs to enhance experiences and outcomes of underrepresented students abroad. The first special issue is anticipated to be published in April 2023, and will include briefs focused on African-American/Black students, Asian students, First Generation students, Hispanic students, and LGBT+ students. Nelson Brunsting is leading this effort, drawing on the completed Academic Research on Education Abroad (AREA) Database.

Bingham Presents at NAFSA

Patrick Bingham presented with colleagues from UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte at the NAFSA Region VII Conference in Charlotte on November 6th. Their session, At the Intersection: LGBTQIA+ International Student Support catalyzed a discussion and provided expertise in an underresearched area without currently identified best practices.

RAISE Center End-of-Year Review

Year in Review cover
The RAISE Center Year-in-Review document highlights progress, products, and achievements of the RAISE Center and collaborators in Academic Year 2021-2022. Click here to download.

Brunsting appointed Special Issues Editor


Nelson Brunsting serves as the Editor, Special Issues for the Journal of International Students, an open-access journal ranked #1 in international education. Nelson previously served as Associate Editor. The next special issue, titled “Lived Experiences in an Era of Unprecedented Uncertainty and Challenges: New Voices from Intersectional Identities” was published in September.

2021 News

Chiles selected as a Millennium Scholar

Photo: Chiles Millennium Scholar

Porshè Chiles, Associate Director of the RAISE Center, was selected as a Millennium Scholar for the 2021 cohort. The Millennium Scholars Program provides research networking and mentorship with established researchers in the field of global student mobility and global and international education. Porshè will work with Dr. Mary Ann Bodine Al-Sharif to further her work on enhancing theory on intercultural awareness as well as bringing research to practice for globally mobile students.

Zeng publishes research

Fanyi Zeng (WFU B.A. Psychology ’19), a student in the Psychology Master’s program, authored an article recently accepted to the Journal of International Students, titled “Biopsychosocial factors associated with depression among U.S. undergraduate international students.”

Photo: Fanyi Zeng

In the article, Fanyi led a team of WFU researchers in an examination of which biological, psychological, and social factors are associated with depression for international students at 28 U.S. universities, including perceived discrimination and coping self-efficacy, or one’s confidence in one’s ability to cope with stressful situations.

Fanyi led this study prior to graduate school while she served as a research intern for the Center for Research on Abroad and International Student Engagement (RAISE Center). The work was collaborative, and study authors included Psychology faculty Lisa Kiang and Eranda Jayawickreme, Wellbeing Assessment Director Nicole Brocato, RAISE Center Director Nelson Brunsting and Research Coordinator Sonali Kathuria. The data for the project were collected by the Wellbeing Assessment, and the dataset represents the largest examining these variables for international students across multiple institutions in the U.S.

“This study serves as an important replication of prior smaller pilot studies and extends new knowledge about coping self-efficacy as a target for potential interventions to improve international students’ wellbeing,” said Fanyi. Nelson Brunsting, who served as mentor for this project, noted: “Although the majority of international students experience positive mental health, the needs of some are acute. We are in process of sharing our findings with campus partners and look forward to sharing beyond WFU this conference season.”

Fanyi’s current research focuses on emotional support, and she intends to pursue her doctoral studies in close relationships in the future.

Collaboration via IREX

Photo: Funke and Nelson on Zoom
Drs. Olumakaiye and Brunsting meet on Zoom in May, 2021

In May 2021, Dr. Funke Olumakaiye, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and Nelson Brunsting, RAISE Center Director and Research Associate Professor of International Studies, discussed collaborative approaches to developing respectful partnerships for intervention research in cross-cultural settings. The RAISE Center supported Pam Moser, Associate Director for Human Research Protection, in virtually hosting Dr. Olumakaiye through the IREX University Administration Support Program.

New Educational Partners

Photo: Summer faculty

The Global Accelerator Program welcomes new institutional partners: Kunming No. 1 High School (Kunming, China) and Tsinglan School (Dongguan, China). Porshè Chiles, RAISE Center Associate Director, has led expansion of this program, designed to provide WFU faculty and staff with cross-cultural teaching opportunities in home countries of WFU international students. This summer, Peter Kairoff (Music), Keri Epps (Writing), Ryan Shirey (English), and Porshe Chiles (International Studies) will lead courses online.

Harrison and Brunsting present at CIES

The RAISE Center was well represented at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Virtual Conference in May. Dr. Kline Harrison presented findings from our systematic literature search, titled: “Mapping the knowledge base for abroad student engagement: Student outcomes for short-term and semester abroad from 2002-2020”, and Dr. Nelson Brunsting presented initial findings from “Project RISE: A Multi-Institutional Multi-Wave Longitudinal Study to Explore International Student Academic Adjustment and Wellbeing at U.S. Universities.”

14 Universities join Project RISE for 2021-2022

The RAISE Center is leading collaboration with 14 universities across the U.S. on Project RISE (Research on the International Student Experience). This multi-wave multi-institutional longitudinal research project is designed to build on prior findings to understand the interplay of personal factors (e.g., home culture collectiveness, perceived language skills) and institutional factors (e.g., domestic student social support, academic stress) on international students’ adjustment, including belonging, psychological well-being, and academic achievement.

Kiang article in press at JSIE

Dr. Lisa Kiang’s article titled, “Identity Fusion and Adjustment in International Students at U.S. Colleges and Universities” is now in press at the Journal of Studies in International Education. Using short-term longitudinal data, Dr. Kiang identified a range of linkages between international students’ identity fusion, or their “alignment and openness with a group”, with international students and with domestic students and their belonging and loneliness at U.S. universities. Co-authors included WFU Graduate student Corinne Zachry, WFU undergraduate students Risa Takeuchi and Yueying Mary He, Asst. Professor of Higher Education at Oregon State University Tenisha Tevis, and RAISE Center Director Nelson Brunsting.

RAISE Center Receives External Funding

Photo: Nelson Qiaona Jon
Nelson Brunsting, Qiaona Yu, and Jon Smart

Nelson Brunsting, Director, RAISE Center, WFU (PI), Qiaona Yu, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, WFU, and Jon Smart, Assistant Teaching Professor of Writing, WFU, were awarded an International English Language Testing Service Joint-Funded Research Grant for their project, Investigating Linkages between International Students’ English Language Proficiency, Social-Contextual Outcomes, and Well-Being in U.S. Universities. The AU$70,000 award supports the longitudinal project January, 2021 through June, 2022.