Member Spotlight: Chad Hoseth

Chad Hoseth
Chad Hoseth

This is the second in a series of interviews with members of NAFSA: Association of International Educators to share insights, knowledge and expertise about career opportunities, growth and development. Today we hear from Chad Hoseth.

Chad Hoseth is the Assistant Vice Provost for International Affairs at Colorado State University (Colorado, USA). Chad advances comprehensive campus internationalization at CSU by helping advance international student enrollment, international student and scholar services, intensive English, short-term customized training programs, and he guides global academic and co-curricular learning opportunities across the campus. Chad has led complex administrative and fiscal change management initiatives to meet shifting internationalization priorities and opportunities in the post-COVID era.

Earlier in his career at CSU, Chad was responsible for developing and advancing complex international partnerships that enhance international experiences for students, faculty, and the broader campus community.

Prior to his work in higher education, Chad worked for over a decade in international affairs in Washington, DC, including with the management team of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Chad is a Fulbright Scholar (Korea). He is pursuing a PhD in Higher Education Leadership with research interests on the internationalization of higher education in the post-COVID era. Chad regularly speaks on topics related to international partnerships and on the internationalization of higher education.

Chad has been a member of NAFSA since 2007, and has been honored to serve NAFSA as a speaker, author, volunteer, conference proposal reviewer, membership pusher, frequent Career Center job board poster, chair of the 2022 NAFSA Symposium on Leadership, and member of the International Education Leadership (IEL) Knowledge Community leadership team.

1. What made you decide to choose international education as a career path, and specifically your specialty?

I was privileged to have an international travel experience to Europe singing in a youth choir. We sang in amazing spaces and enjoyed three weeks of homestays, with exhilarating sights and experiences. The experience had a profound impact on my life. I have been drawn to study and work in international affairs ever since. After working in and around government, the private sector, and non-profit sector, I found my professional home in higher education. I am especially drawn to the person-to-person and community-to-community engagement that comprehensive internationalization helps foster. In my area of specialty, I have found that international educators can catalyze a larger community of faculty and staff champions across an institution, creating a multiplier effect that generates enormous impact on a campus’ internationalization efforts.

2. What does a typical work day look like for you?

Perhaps like most people my typical day is filled with meetings, email, reading and writing, more meetings, and communicating with others through platforms like Microsoft Teams. International educators are in the people business, and these are the tools we use to communicate with our colleagues, partners, and students to advance campus internationalization. I welcome the meetings and email, as I value the opportunities to communicate and connect. 

3. What do you consider one of your career successes? How did you achieve it?

I am especially proud of my success fostering new ideas and supporting effective change management initiatives that have lasting impact. For example, our campus navigated a complicated reorganization that ultimately welcomed nearly 20 new staff and faculty to our international programs team. Over an 18-month period I worked with outstanding colleagues to design and implement a staffing plan featuring new roles and responsibilities, develop new budget models, and initiate and advance new program and service offerings. We are now in full implementation mode, and while there is still much work to do, I am thrilled that we have hired excellent leaders and launched several exciting new initiatives. I am honored to have played a role in building a more stable foundation to advance core internationalization efforts for the coming decade.

4. What do you consider a challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?

International educators face challenges every day, perhaps none as daunting as COVID-19. During that time, we all were asked to try to advance study abroad, serve the needs of international students, and support the global interests of faculty, at a time when travel and global engagement screeched to a halt. In short, all of higher education was facing new constraints and shifting priorities. I imagine I overcame it the same way that all international education professionals did. I showed up to work and I did what I could each day. I maintained an optimistic and forward-focused attitude, bolstered by the support of peers on campus and across the field. In time, day by day and month by month, we are now emerging from the pandemic, ready to serve our communities and their global interests once again.

5. How did the global pandemic affect your day-to-day working life?

While everyone was impacted by the pandemic, I think those of us who work in international education had some extra special challenges with study abroad, international student mobility, and overall international travel scuttled for such a long time. The stress and strain on our field was suffocating, along with the everyday challenges of procuring toilet paper, figuring how to unmute yourself, and keeping ourselves and families safe from the deadly virus. Our international programs team worked hard to maintain a sense of community through the Hollywood Squares screens that have become so common. A group of us met daily to share updates, relay stories, and seek out levity and beauty during such a difficult time. The relationships forged during that difficult time are among the most meaningful professional relationships I have ever had. 

6. What impact has NAFSA had in shaping your career?

For several years, I was responsible for managing and supporting international partnerships on my campus. Through NAFSA, I met other colleagues engaged in similar work. We shared ideas and challenges informally, developed a small network, and over time our dialogue grew to include a major NAFSA preconference workshop on managing international partnerships. NAFSA recently published a Guide to International Partnerships as well. Without NAFSA, these connections and resources would not have been developed for the international education community, and my personal network in the field would be far smaller were it not for NAFSA. 

7. Where would you like to see your career path going next?

I am passionate about building global connections among students and faculty across borders in ways that advance learning, discovery, and make a positive impact on the world. I expect I will remain in international education in a higher education context, ideally at land-grant or research-intensive institutions that blend high quality learning with high impact research. I would be honored to rise into the role of vice president or vice provost of global engagement before I retire. But I am privileged to be in a dream job today, at a remarkable institution that values global engagement, and would be happy to remain in this position for a long, long time.  

8. What membership benefits offered by NAFSA have helped you in your career?

I value the people who serve as international educators worldwide, and I have tried to take full advantage of the convening power of NAFSA by attending state, regional, and national conferences. I value knowledge, which can be gained at NAFSA events, but also by purchasing NAFSA books and publications. For example, some of John Hudzik’s (a past NAFSA president) work on comprehensive internationalization, published by NAFSA, has had a profound impact on my work. As someone who often works outside of the legacy mobility communities of EA and ISSS, Hudzik gave me language to help articulate my own thoughts and legitimized the idea internationalization should be infused throughout an institution. Recent NAFSA publications on social justice, partnerships, leading in lean times, and the recently developed International Education Professional Competencies 2.0 have all given me insight that helps me be a better international education professional.  

9. Do you belong to any special Member Interest Groups, Regions or Knowledge Communities? And if so, which ones and why?

I align with the International Education Leadership (IEL) Knowledge Community and am approaching the end of my term on the IEL Knowledge Community leadership team. The IEL community provides content and connection for current and aspirational leaders across the field of international education. I feel that our field has a bad habit of focusing training and support on leadership topics to people at the VP or Dean level, sometimes known as the “Senior International Officer.” I have a different view, and I believe fervently that we all have the capacity and responsibility to demonstrate leadership, regardless of the location of the box we occupy on an organization chart. We have the ability to learn, grow, and evolve as international education leaders, especially in these complex times. The NAFSA IEL Community is open to anyone interested in enhancing their leadership skills in international education. Regardless of your role and time in the field, I hope I’ll see you at a future IEL event.

10. What is a piece of advice you would share with job seekers or offer a new international educator just beginning their career?

Find your passion and follow it. It may sound trite, but I have found truth in the old saying ... if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. When I see someone genuinely passionate about their work, I see a colleague who is fully engaged. They strive for excellence even if it means more energy or effort is required, and they prioritize positive outcomes for students, faculty, or the broader community. And then after you work hard, you need to take care of yourself as well, as balance is key to long-term health and overall satisfaction. But if you can find what you really love and invest your precious time doing that, that’s a key ingredient to living the best version of your life.

11. Is there a particular area of international education you enjoy working in, such as campus internationalization, global learning or thought leadership etc.? Why?

I enjoy working to advance comprehensive internationalization, infusing global engagement in academic spaces, working with administrators to minimize barriers or build incentives for faculty global engagement, and helping build an ethos of global engagement across the institution. I believe that if a global engagement permeates an institution, then opportunities for students and faculty will more naturally emerge, and with lasting impact. In that environment, there is no need to sell internationalization, as the campus will turn to international educators to help advance institutional and professional goals.

12. Finally, what is something unique about your career, or career path?

I have worked in international affairs for over 25 years, but the first decade of my career was outside of higher education. This feels a bit unique, as many people work in higher education only know higher education, having moved into faculty or staff positions quickly after their graduation. My experience working with government, associations, and in the private sector, gives me a different lens on planning, fiscal matters, and generating impactful outcomes for constituents. I can also say with experience and confidence that working in higher education is a genuine privilege. Higher education has its challenges, but I argue there is no better way to make a tangible impact on the world than through education.

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