Let’s change the story! Valuing International students in U.S. campus internationalization

Gayle A. Woodruff1, Barbara J. Kappler2

1 University of Minnesota, 230 Heller Hall, 271-19th Ave S, Minnapolis MN 55455 USA
2 University of Minnesota, 190 Humphrey, 301-19th Ave S, Minneapolis MN 55455 USA

This e-poster will provide conference participants with the opportunity to dialogue with the poster presenters regarding recent research at the University of Minnesota that aims to “change the story” about international students on our campus. Shifting from a “deficit” to an “asset” model, we will together explore with you evidence that we collected from our students, academic teaching staff and professional staff about the benefits that international students bring to our campus. We welcome discussing with you the evidence about the positive impact that international students bring to the learning environments on your campuses.

Our premise stems from the legacy of the late Professor Emeritus Josef Mestenhauser, who spent 60 years advocating tirelessly for the positive inclusion of international students into higher education. His writing includes a piece from 1971, on “Learning With International Students”.  To honor the legacy of Professor Emeritus Mestenhauser, we invite you to dialogue with us about “changing the story” about international students in higher education.  We strive to bring evidence-based research into the conversations about our practices, while holding onto the goal that policies within our institutions can change.


Gayle A. Woodruff is the founding director of curriculum and campus internationalization, University of Minnesota. She provides leadership for initiatives aimed at faculty development, campus internationalization, and the evaluation and assessment of internationalization. Previously she directed Minnesota’s study abroad curriculum integration initiative. Gayle has published on numerous topics in international education, served as the faculty mentor for the Minnesota Studies in International Development program to Ecuador, and is the recipient of the University of Minnesota’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
Gayle served as the chair for the Teaching, Learning, & Scholarship Knowledge Community of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.


Barbara Kappler, Ph.D., is the Assistant Dean of International Student & Scholar Services in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance. Barbara holds a B.A. in both Economics and Communication and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Speech Communication. She has 25 years of experience in intercultural communication, program management, teaching, and research. Barbara is also a member of the Graduate Faculty and serves on graduate committees in the department of with the College of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Kappler previously served as Associate Director of ISSS and was responsible for Intercultural Training and Programs, including intercultural communication training. Barbara is co-author of three guides for students, staff, and language instructors on “Maximizing Study Abroad,” as well as a book on communication styles. Her career at the University has been an exciting blend of program and leadership experiences, curriculum development, international communication research, teaching, and working with international students.