International Student Initiative

A message from Falecia Williams, West Campus President


From Left to Right: Christopher Alvarez, Carmen Sepulveda, Mildred McCausland, Bliss Thompson, Talia Popovski, Marieta Chemishanova, Rocky Blesso

As the economy becomes increasingly global, Valencia has intensified its efforts to internationalize its campuses in order to create globally competent citizens. Part of this effort is an initiative to increase the number of international students who study on F or J visas.

In support of this goal, responsibility for oversight of International Student Services (ISS) was transitioned to the Continuing Education division early this year. Since then, significant strides have been made toward reorganizing ISS into a single, collegewide department that serves the needs of international students, including recruitment, admissions, advising (immigration and academic) and student engagement activities.

Continuing Education’s Chief Operating Officer, Joe Battista and Lisa Eli, managing director for continuing international education, explain that “the new department structure fosters synergies between Continuing International Education and ISS and promotes cross-training between all personnel at the college who support international students.”

Key components of this plan include the creation of a recruiting team to manage inquiries from international students, as well as a strategic recruiting/marketing plan that targets specific regions of the world while leveraging our resources.

ISS has made progress in these areas, and its efforts have already resulted in an increase in fall enrollments of 14 percent, from 388 to 441, with the majority of students coming from Venezuela, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Additionally, ISS’s newly renovated offices in Student Services Building, Room 142 are open. If you have not done so already, stop by the new location and say hello.

ISS recently welcomed new team members Rocky Blesso, director; Talia Popovski, recruitment manager; and Marieta Chemishanova,coordinator. For more information visit the ISS Web page.


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