Webinar: Charting New Waters: Lay Offs in the Field of International Education

Here is the link to the Vimeo from the webinar which took place on April 17. I was speaking along with #Tom Millington and #Missy Gluckman:


Our goal was to open a dialogue on the immediate staffing changes being made by academic institutions and “providers” of education abroad programs. Either there have been immediate staff firings or furloughs; most often, pay freezes, if not reductions in salary.

Here are the ideas which framed my remarks:

  • Reassess your personal needs & professional expectations in this extremely fluid and unprecedented time
  • The pandemic has radically halted the momentum built up over the past decade in our field –the expansion of education abroad has been stalled everywhere as has the globalization of student mobility
  • Predictions are difficult: As with other sectors, campuses and providers in the EA community have differing strengths and weaknesses. Last year, IIE (over 100 years old) in NY went through financial difficulty, CIEE (75 yrs old) just laid off 600 staff and had to cancel all of their intl programs.  
  • It’s hard to predict or “play” the job market now. We are left with more questions than answers: Will campuses re-hire all program staff? Will campuses re-open programs to the same destinations later this year and into 2021?  Will we see a more splintered map for education abroad? Less mobility to developing nations whose infrastructure and health systems are now devastated? 
  • Will the coming generation of students measurably turn away from international experience outside the U.S. and instead look to domestic programs with a focus on internationalization-at-home? For example, service-learning
  • Will all the chaos facing the field now result in setting back efforts to diversify the IE field?

What are the implications for you as a job seeker in the field?

  • Likely that new hiring will be on hold for many months (perhaps Sept or even Jan 2021); at least until we know more about when the economy can “re-open.” When airlines will again fly their usual routes…When it’s clear how campuses and providers are able to re-schedule the programs they can still afford to offer.
  • When campuses and providers more clearly see what their short and medium term financial situation looks like.

What you can do?

  • Reflect on your transferable skills
  • Review and re-assess your strengths – identify skill deficits which could be a bridge to new employment (e.g. language, public speaking, tech)
  • Research organizations which align with both your skills and values
  • Revive & renew networking; grow new contacts. Lean-in to your trusted friends and colleagues.

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