August 10, 2012
By Tony Phifer
New director hoping to 'internationalize' CSU's campus by adding more students from around the world.
Like an excited new homeowner, John Didier can’t wait to show off the CSU campus and Fort Collins to 350 new guests.
Didier, the newly appointed center director of INTO CSU, and his staff are in the process of welcoming 350 new international students to campus. The new arrivals – the first wave of international students brought to CSU through a new partnership with INTO – already have gotten their first taste of what life will be like in Fort Collins before learning about campus this week.
“I’ve had interaction with many of our international students over the years and have witnessed first-hand how welcoming our community is,” said Didier, who has been at CSU the past 13 years. “We have a lot to offer here at CSU, and there’s no reason not to do our best to allow students from around the world to take advantage of that.”
Didier takes over INTO CSU after spending the past five years as associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts. He has spent the past 13 years in CSU’s history department, specializing in Asian history and Chinese intellectual history.
His background – he speaks fluent Chinese, and spent five years working in China and Taiwan – made him a perfect fit for INTO, which recruits many of its INTO CSU students from China.
INTO is a private company that partners with universities to attract and recruit international and graduate students. The company has launched partnerships with 14 universities in the United Kingdom, United States and Asia.
International students now comprise 3 percent (approximately 1,100) of CSU’s student body. INTO officials plan to bring an additional 1,200 to campus within five years.
“I believe this program will greatly benefit CSU,” Didier said. “Our plan is to internationalize the campus as much as possible. I believe it will enhance the educational experience for students, faculty and staff.”
The newcomers were welcomed over the weekend and immediately immersed in local culture. INTO staff accompanied them on shopping trips and took them to Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest in downtown Fort Collins.
One key element of the INTO CSU program is making sure international students become part of the campus community. As a result, they will participate in many Ram Welcome events this week with domestic students.
The new students come from 14 different countries, with the majority from China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait and Qatar. Both undergraduate and graduate students are included in the program.
INTO’s offices are located in Spruce Hall.