The Assistant Director for International Student Advising serves as a Designated School Official (DSO) for the University and supports the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), interacting with SEVIS and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to prepare the Form I-20 and report information about international students. Additionally, this position will directly advise international students regarding obtaining and maintaining their visa status by providing guidance and resources during their admission process, enrollment, and employment authorization period upon completion of study. This position manages the front office experience and supervises the International Student Services Specialist assigned to this responsibility. This position provides advice and support to the Pepperdine community on a broad spectrum of complex and sensitive immigration, visa, and employment issues and regulations, as well as mindful considerations and best practices for the University as hosts of graduate international students.
- Maintain advising caseload as a DSO and provide caseload assistance to fellow DSO advising staff on complex cases and during seasonally busy times; counsel students on how to obtain and successfully maintain their F-1 visa status during their enrolled, CPT, and OPT status with the University. Advise students regarding immigration-related questions and connect students with University services and resources as needed.
- Oversee and verify the process and eligibility of F1 students applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT), ensuring both DHS and University regulations and timelines are met. Identify efficiencies and improves University consistency among schools and programs. Develop and maintain related Eforms in SUNAPSIS. Manage distribution of cases and training on CPT and OPT to students and staff.
- Develop and mentor the International Student Services Specialist (ISSS) to ensure the advising and services for international students are indicative of the OISS values: warm, consistent, and helpful; Supervise and oversee the work of the ISSS.
- Assist with the standardization and centralization of student data, required documents, and interdepartmental policies in accordance with government, institutional, and OISS policies. Stay updated on industry standards to implement and recommend best practices related to immigration, information systems, technology, and communications via various professional development opportunities virtual, on, and off campus.
- Serve as an additional point of contact (with the PDSO) for graduate school university administrators, including designing orientation sessions and workshops to promote student acclimation and success, providing holistic guidance to and advocating for students' success with campus resources, and educating the community about unique benefits, roles, and responsibilities of hosting international graduate students.
- Assist the Director with hiring processes and budget for interns and other office-level resources to meet the OISS mission and goals; Uphold the University mission in work performed in the above and in other duties as assigned.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- Uphold University mission through work performed.
The above information has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.
Skills and Qualifications
Required: Bachelor's Degree with a minimum of one year of experience in the field of international student and scholar regulatory advising serving as a DSO for a U.S. university or high school. Due to US Department of Homeland Security and Department of State Regulations, must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (required to be authorized on government systems). Experience with effectively supervising staff. Working knowledge of Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and the ability to keep current on all immigration laws, regulations, and policy matters. Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment and to remain actively informed of ever-changing immigration policies that impact OISS constituents. Ability to set priorities and work independently. Ability to clearly communicate needs, present recommendations and decisions, and make oral and written presentations. Demonstrated history of modeling diplomacy & tact indicative of a positive, collaborative leader and the mission and vision of the OISS and a Christian University. Proven ability to establish rapport with students, faculty, alumni, employers, and staff colleagues. Agile mindset with the ability to adapt, lead through change, and manage ambiguity. Ability to foster teamwork and collegiality in a small office environment and with internal and external constituents. Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in working with confidential information. Must be aware of Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) implications on advising
Must be able to successfully pass a criminal background check, per federal regulations. Proficiency with standard computer software (ex. Microsoft Office suite, Google Suite, etc). Proficiency in university databases/software. Microsoft Office suite, and working knowledge of a student and scholar management tool (SUNAPSIS, Terra Dotta, etc.) Ability to quickly develop competency in ISSS software programs and workflow management procedures.
Preferred: Master’s degree with at least three years related experience in immigration advising, serving as a DSO in a U.S. higher education institution. Experience studying, living, or working abroad Interest and experience in regulatory issues on federal, state, and local level (Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, International Revenue Service, Department of Motor Vehicles) and cultural issues. Full understanding of the critical role of the OISS in the recruitment, retention and overall experience of Pepperdine’s global community. Experience with SUNAPSIS and PeopleSoft software systems or other web-based international student and scholar data management systems. Familiarity with PeopleSoft.
Qualified individuals should be able to articulate a strong commitment to diversity, and have the ability to work effectively with individuals from different backgrounds.
Offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal, education, and employment screening. Qualified individuals with criminal histories will be considered for employment in compliance with applicable laws.
This is a Regular, Exempt, 40 hour per week position.