UM to Launch New Program for International Students

Agreement supports recruitment and academic success, enhances university's global reputation

Officials from the University of Mississippi and Boston-based Shorelight Education gather in the Lyceum to observe the signing of a contract that will help attract more international students to the state’s flagship university. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

BOSTON and OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi and Shorelight Education have agreed on a new joint program that will broaden global access to UM’s highly regarded undergraduate and master’s degrees for international students.

This new partnership will support the recruitment, retention and success of international students at Ole Miss, as well as elevate the global presence of the university.

UM and Shorelight will together create an innovative program to enhance the educational experience of students who come to Ole Miss from around the world, as well as those students who come from every county in Mississippi, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said, announcing the agreement.

“In today’s increasingly interconnected world, we continually strive to attract students from many backgrounds and to educate our students – tomorrow’s leaders – to prosper in a global society,” Vitter said. “Creating an atmosphere that welcomes and celebrates a broad spectrum of cultures, experiences and populations goes hand in hand with fostering academic excellence.”

The development and implementation of the partnership is expected to broaden educational opportunities for students from across the globe by helping them successfully transition to UM. With an English language accelerator program and intensive advising and acculturation experiences, the program will help the university become a model for international access and student success for both undergraduate and graduate students.

“Shorelight is thrilled to create a program with the University of Mississippi that will provide international students with a life-changing educational experience at a premier U.S. higher education institution,” said Tom Dretler, CEO of Shorelight Education. “Ole Miss is the perfect learning environment for this innovative program.”

The partnership, approved recently by the board of trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, also will promote recruiting international students for direct admission to the university.

“This strategic initiative advances the university’s goal to educate and engage global citizens,” said Richard Forgette, UM associate provost. “It is essential for UM students to be able to thrive in a global economy and society.

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter signs a contract partnering the University of Mississippi with Boston-based Shorelight Education to attract more international students to the university. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“This new partnership will strengthen the university’s reputation as an international campus by showcasing our excellent academic programs while also promoting our student diversity.”

Shorelight Education’s recruitment network will highlight the university’s stellar academic programs and attract high-achieving students from around the world, said Blair McElroy, UM interim senior international officer and director of study abroad.

“We are excited for the opportunities available through this partnership in increasing international student enrollment at the University of Mississippi,” she said. “International undergraduate and graduate students will be supported through a streamlined application process and ‘high-touch’ student services.

“Collaborating with Shorelight Education will also be beneficial by providing all UM students with global experiences as international students join classrooms in disciplines all over campus and bring a variety of perspectives into the learning environment at Ole Miss.”

Increasing enrollment of international students and helping all Ole Miss students become globally minded alumni will prove beneficial to every UM student and the entire state, Vitter said.

Shorelight Education CEO and co-founder Tom Dretler signs a contract partnering with the University of Mississippi to attract more international students to the university. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

“As we strive to prepare our students to prosper in a global society, our international students – with a rich diversity of talents, cultures and contributions – enrich and enhance the vitality of our university and our state,” he said.

The first students are expected to arrive in 2019.

Members of the community are invited to a Provost Forum on Internationalization and the Shorelight Partnership at 3:15 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, third floor multipurpose room.

About the University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is the state’s flagship university. Included in the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, it has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics and business. With nearly 24,000 students, Ole Miss is the state’s largest university and is ranked among the nation’s fastest-growing institutions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school, nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy, and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

About Shorelight Education

Shorelight Education is reinventing the international education experience for students worldwide. Based in Boston, the company partners with top-ranked, nonprofit American universities to build comprehensive programs and services that are both high-touch and technology-driven to help talented students succeed on campus and become globally minded alumni.