AIEA Present and Future

Part 3 of Q&A with Dr. Darla Deardorff, AIEA Executive Director, originally published via LinkedIn on 8 January 2016


Helen: AIEA is, I believe, more than three decades old (33 years this year?) Based on your conversations with AIEA’s previous leaders and colleagues as well as your own tenure as Executive Director (2005-present), what have been the significant changes at AIEA over the last 10 years?

Darla: I’ve observed AIEA membership change in two ways – there is increasing number of female SIOs whereas in the past SIOs were mostly males. The average age also fell – these days SIOs are in their positions sooner in their careers.  What hasn’t changed is that SIOs are still mostly faculty tenured positions. There are a limited number of international education leaders coming from purely administrative career ladder, although as the profession continues to develop, the SIO positions are becoming more professionalized within international education.

Helen: AIEA’s 2013-2017 Strategic Action Plan mentions reaching out to both current emerging leaders in international education. Could you discuss specific initiatives that AIEA has lined up to support future leaders in international education?

Darla: Sure, AIEA launched several programs to engage emerging leaders in international education. There is the AIEA Presidential Fellows Program, a mentorship program for new Senior International Officers. Each fellow is paired with a seasoned SIO for an academic school year and part of the fellowship involves spending several days shadowing the Mentor, and learning about the policies, politics, and procedures of the Mentor ‘s institution.  This has been a very well received program within AIEA.

The AIEA Senior Advisers Program (SAP) is an informal dialogue between seasoned AIEA members with AIEA members who are in their first three years of serving as a SIOs. Newer SIOs are paired as a group with a seasoned SIOs for informal conversations throughout a school year.

This year, the Association launched the AIEA Academy for senior international officers in the first five years of their current appointment. This is similar to a boot camp – an intensive program designed for leaders in international higher education.

Helen: What do you think is the association’s greatest achievement so far?

Darla: I go back to the mission of AIEA which is a strong network providing professional development and networking opportunities for senior international officers. This is what we have been working on and will continue to build upon in years to come.

Helen: Describe AIEA in one statement.

Darla: AIEA is the organization that connects and provides professional development opportunities for senior-level leaders in international higher education.


This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

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