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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Title: Office of International Affairs records
Dates:1951-1991 (bulk 1977-1988)
Call Number:A63

Historical Note

Prior to 1975, matters relating to international affairs at Northeastern University (NU) were the joint responsibility of the University Relations Office and the Student Center. In 1972, NU President Asa S. Knowles began working on the International Encyclopedia of Higher Education, which served as a catalyst for increasing interest in international education at NU. In 1975, a series of committees, including the Policy Committee for International Students and the International Reviewing Committee, were established to address the needs of a growing population of international students. Responsibilities shared among these committees included international recruitment, coordination of international visitors, setting NU policy on matters relating to international affairs, and addressing the cultural, legal, and academic needs of foreign students. These committees were formally organized under the International Coordinating Board (ICB) in 1977, with Joy W. Viola (JWV) as the Coordinator of International Affairs.

The early international committees worked closely with the Center for International Higher Education Documentation (CIHED), of which JWV was the founding director in 1977. Additionally, JWV helped to establish the New England-China Consortium for Education and Cultural Exchange (NECC) in 1980, serving as president of the NECC from 1980 to 1982. The NECC membership of 40 institutions worked to promote sharing of education and culture between member institutions in China and New England.

In 1982, the ICB was absorbed into the Office of International Affairs (OIA) under JWV, who served as dean from the OIA's inception through 1988, when she become Director of Century Fund Communications until her retirement in 1991. The staff of the OIA traveled around the world to host recruitment events and enlist NU alumni living abroad in its recruitment efforts. The OIA also organized events and workshops, including English tutoring, seminars on immigration, American culture, and taxes. In addition, the OIA offered counseling services to assist foreign students in adapting to American university student life and living in Boston. The OIA also assisted with immigration issues, such as visas and other documentation.

The OIA closed in 1988, and its responsibilities were delegated to other offices, including the International Student Office (ISO) and the International Student and Scholar Institute (ISSI). International recruitment became the responsibility of the Office of Admissions in 1987, but the ISSI continues to provide programs and services to assist NU's international student population. The ISSI also assists in organizing cultural education programs that enable NU students to learn about other cultures, including study abroad programs for NU students.
1972 Asa S. Knowles begins work on the International Encyclopedia of Higher Education
1975International affairs separate from the Student Center
1976-1977First university-wide report on NU's international endeavors
1977 ICB established; CIHED established with Joy Viola as the founding director; first International Encyclopedia of Higher Education published
1979-1980 Restructuring of the ICB; liaisons formed with the International Student Policy Committee and the NU China Committee
1980Creation of the New England-China Consortium (NECC)
1981 OIA established
1980-1982 Dean Joy W. Viola serves as president of the New England-China Consortium
1985OIA moves from the YMCA to new offices on Huntington Avenue
1986CIHED closes
1987 Office of Admissions assumes International recruitment responsibilities
1988 The OIA closes; Joy W. Viola becomes director of the Century Fund Communications.
1991Joy W. Viola retires

Antoinette Frederick. Northeastern University, Coming of Age: The Ryder Years. 1975-1989. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1995.

International Student and Scholar Institute: