Annual Report 2020-2021

As the world struggled toward a new normalcy this year, here in UC International, we continued to work in strategic support of the University of Cincinnati’s global research and educational mission.

Data begin to show us a clearer picture of how COVID-19 has affected international education and scholarship at UC. The numbers also paint a picture of the persistence and creativity with which our students, educators and researchers have pursued their global work.

More than ever, we are encouraged to see how strongly our students and our faculty and staff value UC's commitment to global work and study. A world-class university must be a global one.

As international students flood back to our campus in record numbers and study abroad programs relaunched in 2021-22, we look forward to building on new energy, new partnerships and the new ways of working that all of us have explored over the past two years.

A world-class university must be a global one.

About this Report

Our report this year covers a slightly broader period than usual. Rather than focusing only on the 2020-21 academic year, it spans 2019-20 and fall 2021 so that we can put in perspective the impact of COVID on student numbers and student experiences.


Global Partnerships

While travel restrictions delayed many global initiatives over the past two years, the pandemic that has divided us from our institutional partners around the world has also united us in a common cause.

More than ever, we recognize the importance of our work to support international education and to advance global research and scholarship.

During the period of restricted travel, UC International Planning staff expanded our use of digital platforms to connect with partner institutions worldwide. We led several new ventures to strengthen UC’s global network and to offer our students new international opportunities.

The Partnership Stories and Global Stories From UC Faculty + Staff sections of this report highlight UC News stories about some of these efforts.

While travel restrictions delayed many global initiatives over the past two years, the pandemic that has divided us from our institutional partners around the world also unites us in a common cause.

Virtual Initiatives, 2019-21

UC International brought our global partners together in several virtual initiatives in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Conferences

We sponsored two global conferences, with 540 attendees from 20+ countries.

  • Best Practices for Innovative Teaching and Engaging Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic, October 2020
  • Responding to the Global Pandemic with Research, March 2021

Best Practices for Innovative Teaching and Engaging Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • UC: Neil Choudhury, University Honors Program, "Collaborative International Education – Tackling Global Issues through Social Entrepreneurship"
  • UC: María Ortiz, Foreign Language Department, UC Blue Ash. "Strengthening Learning, Conversations, Connections and Community Through Flipgrid"
  • UC: Annette Redmon, Business and Economics Department, UC Blue Ash, "Infographics, Videos and Designs- How Incorporating Assignments in Padlet during COVID-19 not only Engage Students through Active Learning but can also Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion"
  • Christ (Deemed to Be) University
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
  • University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr)
  • Université de Quebec à Montreal
  • Université Internationale de Casablanca
  • University of Bordeaux
  • University of Zagreb

Responding to the Global Pandemic with Research

  • UC: Georg F. Weber and Gulmira Fnu, Weber Laboratory, James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, "Induction of a cytokine storm by suppression of the TH1 response"
  • UC: Xia Wang, Department of Mathematical Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, and Georg F. Weber, "Complex systems analysis informs on the spread of COVID-19"
  • Arabian Gulf University
  • Bahir Dar University
  • Christ (Deemed to Be) University
  • (My) Dentist, Whiston (UK)
  • Oman Ministry of Education
  • Social Observatory, Oman
  • Sultan Qaboos University & SQU Hospital
  • Université Internationale de Casablanca
  • University of Bordeaux
  • University of Cape Coast
  • University of Trento

Global Short Courses

A screenshot of the Global Back to Business short course, held on Zoom.

UC and partner faculty taught two free digital courses for 118 students worldwide.

  • Global Back to Business, October 2020
  • Global Perspectives on Public Health, March 2021

Global Back to Business short course

  • UC: Charles Matthews, Department of Management, Carl H. Lindner College of Business, "Entrepreneurship Lessons of a Lifetime"
  • UC: Amitabh Raturi, Emeritus, Department of Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems, Carl H. Lindner College of Business
  • Christ (Deemed to be University), India
  • Electronic Value Stream Mapping (EVSM), USA
  • FLAME University, India
  • Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
  • TU Dortmund, Germany
  • University of Bordeaux, France
  • University of Cape Coast, Ghana
  • University of Zagreb, Croatia
 
Global Perspective on Public Health short course
 
  • UC: Tina Cheng, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • UC: Anil G. Menon, Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine
  • UC: Kim Miller, University Health Services  
  • UC: Amitabh Raturi, Emeritus, Department of Operations, Business Analytics, & Information Systems, Carl H. Lindner College of Business
  • Hamilton County Coroner’s Office
  • International University of Casablanca, Morocco
  • International University of Casablanca
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
  • Raffles Hospitals, China
  • Sidilega Private Hospital, Botswana
  • Sultan Qaboos University
  • University of Bordeaux
  • University of Duisberg Essen
  • University of Johannesburg

Virtual Incentive Grants

Cara Baah-Binney works on a project for Cedric Kwuimy's joint global engineering course.

Our office funded innovative faculty and staff projects virtually around the world.

  • Research and program collaborations
  • Jointly taught global engineering and social entrepreneurship classes
  • Change the World UC social design challenge
  • Digital discussion platform
    for global student perspectives on public health
  • International podcast project

Several of these grant projects offered alternative global experiences for our students while travel was locked down and will continue to expand opportunities for those unable to travel in future.  

Piloted in 2019, the International Incentive Grants were created to support faculty and staff travel to our strategic partner institutions for work on joint research, academic programs or other key collaborations. In the absence of travel, this year’s awards supported innovative virtual collaborations or virtual international experiences for UC students.

  • Vanessa Allen Brown, School of Education, College of Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services & Information Technology, Geneva Miller, UC International, and the UC African Students Association with the University of Cape Coast, Bahir Dar University: Student pan-African cultural showcase
  • Na Chen and Xinhao Wang, School of Planning, College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning, with Beijing Jiaotong University and Chongqing University: Research collaboration on accessible community-based public health resources for the elderly
  • Ashley Currier, Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, with the University of Bordeaux Montaigne: Online video lecture repository, gender and sexualities in Francophone cultures
  • Ana Hincapie, Division of Pharmacy Practice & Administrative Sciences, James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana: Collaboration with new pharmacy program at PUJ to develop therapeutics curriculum and research seminar and to strengthen College of Pharmacy partnerships in Latin America
  • Michelle Johns, International Programs Office, Carl H. Lindner College of Business: Lindner Global Lounge international business podcast project (pilot for future collaborations with global partner universities)
  • Cedrick Kwuimy, Department of Engineering Education, College of Engineering & Applied Science, with the University of Cape Coast and Bahir Dar University: Collaborative, cross-cultural engineering design course
  • Gideon Labiner, Department of Clinical & Health Information Sciences, College of Allied Health Sciences, with the University of South Australia: International symposium on the emotional wellbeing of healthcare workers
  • Eugene Rutz, Graduate Studies & Research, College of Engineering & Applied Science, with pilot partners Chongqing University and the University of Lorraine: CEAS global collaborations through senior design courses
  • Charles Schubert, Department of Family & Community Medicine, College of Medicine, with Universidad del Valle de Guatemala: Providing professional mental health education in rural Guatemala
Grant projects offered alternative global experiences for our students while travel was locked down and will continue to expand opportunities for those unable to travel in future.

Pilot Faculty Fellowships, 2021-2022

Faculty fellows Kate Bonansinga, Mike Neugent and Jun Wang.

UC International piloted a fellowship program in fall 2021 to help advance our strategic partnerships and initiatives.

The fellowships were established to engage faculty as global leaders at the institutional level, beyond college and individual collaborations. The inaugural fellowships run October 15, 2021 - August 14, 2022.

Kate Bonansinga, DAAP, has been appointed Faculty Fellow for Cultural Engagement. She will work on a visual arts project in collaboration with several of our strategic partners. Students will identify iconic works of public art in their communities and create a shared virtual-reality resource about them.

Mike Neugent, Lindner College of Business, and Jun Wang, College of Medicine, have been appointed Faculty Fellows for China Partnerships. They will work together to identify and cultivate relationships with peer universities in the country, focusing on student mobility and multidisciplinary collaborations in teaching and research.

Read more about the fellowships in our UC News partnership stories.

Partnership Stories

Visit our news and social media page or use the UC News "international" tag to follow stories about our office and UC's global students and scholars. A few stories are highlighted below and in each section of this report.


International Students

Despite a global pandemic, international students set their sights on a world-class education at the University of Cincinnati.

Many found ways to pursue their dream. But those not already in the US in spring 2020 faced steep hurdles: international health regulations, changes to visa guidelines, embassy closures and travel restrictions. 

The statistics and stories highlighted below show the clear impact of COVID-19 on our international student population for the past two years.

Trends + Highlights, 2019-2021

Use the accordions for accessible and expanded information, as well as for the data sources for the charts.

See our Facts + Figures page for historic comparisons.

Read about some of the stories behind the statistics in the International Student Stories section, below.

Enrollments, 2019-2021

Enrollment data of international undergraduates, masters and doctoral students from 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Enrollments by Degree, 2019 - 2021

New student enrollment dropped by half in fall 2020, led by a dip in graduate recruitment. (Source: Reported to Open Doors for 2019, 2020 & 2021.)

The pandemic’s disruptions disproportionately affected students enrolling in one-year master’s programs, who were among those most likely to defer enrollment in 2020-21. Master’s program enrollments dropped by more than a third. 

Yet even at the height of the pandemic in fall 2020, our International Admissions office recruited more new international undergraduates than they had recruited for fall 2019, pre-COVID. Using digital platforms, they continued to expand markets for UC's undergraduate and graduate recruitment. (Source: Reported to National Center for Education Statistics database, IPEDS [IPEDS statistical categories differ from Open Doors.])

(Accessible information about the chart available in the accordion.)

Total enrollments by degree, 2019-2021.
  Undergraduate Masters Doctoral Total
Fall 2019 1134 1319 810 3263
Fall 2020 1053 853 793 2699
Fall 2021 1092 1343 878 3282

(Source: Reported to Open Doors for 2019, 2020 and 2021.)

At the height of the pandemic in fall 2020, our International Admissions office recruited 7 more new international undergraduates than they had recruited for fall 2019, pre-COVID.

At Home and Abroad

Optional Practical Training and Distance Learning enrollment in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Accessible version available in accordion.

Program Options, Fall 2019 - Fall 2021

UC’s move to a hybrid virtual/in-person teaching model during the pandemic allowed most already-enrolled students to continue their studies in the US under revised visa guidelines.

Because of this, the number of students in Optional Practical Training (post-degree work in the US) remained at pre-COVID levels.

Distance learning increased, however, as many of our new students were unable to travel to UC. Bearcats Everywhere scholarships offset out-of-state tuition charges for students studying from outside the US, making it an affordable option.

(Accessible information about the chart available in the accordion.)

Statistics and data sources on OPT and distance learning participation, Fall 2019 - Fall 2021.
  2019 2020 2021
Optional Practical Training (OPT) 1206 1196 1230
Distance Learning 71 91 128

(Source for OPT statistics: Reported to Open Doors for 2019, 2020 & 2021.)

(Source for distance learning statistics: Reported to National Center for Education Statistics database, IPEDS.)

Processing Changes

International Services advisors assisted students throughout, as unstable global conditions and changing government policies forced students to adjust their plans moment to moment. Services issued documents repeatedly and channeled updates to students to help them manage their enrollment decisions and their arrival at UC.

Our Services programming staff supported the students, both here and abroad, to make social connections during this stressful period. They added virtual programs to their usual in-person service and provided crucial information about campus resources for students.

Record Arrivals, Fall 2021

Area chart shows proportional circles for 1224 arrivals vs 685 new enrollments

New Arrivals vs. Enrollments, Fall 2021

As visa and travel restrictions eased, students came in record numbers to UC’s campuses.

In fall 2021, a record 1,224 new students arrived at UC. Among them were many who had deferred or had started their degree work online in previous semesters, with first-time enrollments at 685. (Source: iBearcatsGlobal—UC International student database.)

Including OPT, UC’s fall 2021 total international student population surpassed 2019 pre-COVID numbers at 4,512. (Source: Reported to Open Doors for 2021.)

UC's fall 2021 total international student population surpassed 2019 pre-COVID numbers at 4,512.

Recruitment Rebounds

Chart showing statistics on new student enrollments, fall 2021; accessible information in accordion that follows this section

New Recruiting, Fall 2021

Recruitment rebounded substantially in 2021-2022 from pandemic losses.

While the number of new international undergraduates remained down in fall 2021, new graduate enrollments rose well beyond 2019 pre-COVID levels in counterbalance.

Surges in both new enrollments and new student arrivals have continued in spring 2022 at what looks like a rate well above national averages. They offer a very hopeful picture of international education at UC post-pandemic.

(Accessible information about the chart available in the accordion.)

New Recruiting, Fall 2021: 1047 new students; -65 undergraduates; +64 graduates; -1 net new recruiting loss   

(Source: Reported for the Open Doors 2021 data report.)

Economic Impact

Ohio map with Cincinnati marked "$86M contributed by UC students to Ohio economy" and "1030 jobs supported"

Economic Benefits for Ohio 2019-21

International education is one of the major US service exports, and Ohio is annually among the top 10 states to benefit from the enrollment of international students.  

This remained true during the 2019-2020 COVID period, despite the drop in numbers. Ohio was #8.

(Source: NAFSA Association of International Educators economic calculator.)

UC international students contributed $86M to the Ohio economy and supported 1030 jobs in 2020-21.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

International Student Stories

Visit our news and social media page or use the UC News "international" tag to follow stories about our office and UC's global students and scholars. A few are highlighted here.


Study Abroad

UC students have persisted in their desire to make study abroad part of their education.

For two years, a steady stream of students contacted our International Programs staff. Despite uncertainty over health risks, a complex patchwork of international regulations and the difficulties of arranging travel, they have been impatient for international study to return.

Trends + Highlights, 2019-2021

Use the accordions for accessible and expanded information, as well as the data sources for these charts.

See our Facts + Figures page for historic comparisons.

Take a look at the Study Abroad Stories section, below, to read some international study stories not told by the statistics.

Study Abroad Grounded, Spring 2020

Proportional area chart of annual study abroad participation 2018-19 vs. 2019-20; 2018-19 total is 1767; 2019-20 total is 720

Annual Study Abroad, 2018-19 vs. 2019-20

In fall 2019, study abroad was headed for new records at UC, up 25% from the same semester in 2018. (Source: Terradotta—UC International study abroad database.)

Then COVID-19 forced the cancellation of spring 2020 travel with just three days’ notice.

Student travel was prohibited through summer 2021.

Launching New Ventures

A coffee cup rests by a laptop, open to a Zoom call.

Our International Programs staff pivoted to support innovative intercultural experiences for students in lieu of travel.

These included virtual study abroad, joint international classes with a focus on global teamwork, and a living/learning community in University Housing for both international and US students interested in global education.

Staff also focused on risk management and on strategic planning for the reopening of travel.

Moving Forward

A group of women hold a Cincinnati Bearcats flag during a study abroad experience in Italy.

Student travel resumed in fall 2021. New guidelines were instituted for study abroad. UC’s International Travel Oversight Committee vetted all applications to minimize risks to students’ health and safety.

With these precautions in place, long-term study abroad returned to pre-pandemic levels in fall 2021. That term, 99 students participated in semester-long exchanges. (Source: Terradotta—UC International study abroad database.)

The first new faculty-led programs successfully tested group travel post-COVID, beginning late in the fall 2021 semester. More are planned for the upcoming semesters.

UC students remained steadfast in their desire to make study abroad part of their education.

Study Abroad Stories

Visit our news and social media page or use the UC News "international" tag to follow stories about our office and UC's global students and scholars. A few are highlighted here.


Faculty + Staff Highlights

The past two years have profoundly affected UC's international scholars and all the people on our campuses who do global work.

Faculty and staff explored digital platforms to partner with peers around the globe. Educators whose courses incorporated study abroad revised their offerings to offer cultural experiences for students who could not travel. Researchers found alternative methods to gather data and collaborate. Recruiters and student support staff found new ways to connect.

Amidst these working changes, UC International offices said goodbye to several staff members, and we welcomed some new faces.

We all look forward to the possibilities of returning stability that will allow us to do our traditional work and develop the new ideas and initiatives of the past two years.

Browse the Global Stories From UC Faculty + Staff section, below, for just a few stories about the international work of UC's educators, employees, scholars and researchers.

Strategy Groups

More than 100 faculty, staff and community members serve in UC International’s regional advisory groups. The strategy groups work to identify key partners for UC in strategic regions and develop new institutional partnerships for our university worldwide.

Group members continued their service throughout the pandemic, meeting virtually and as a body rather than in regional groups.

They and the colleges that appoint them understand the impact of global perspectives, global opportunities and global research collaborations for the University of Cincinnati.

Once again, we in UC International thank them for their dedication and their insight, and we appreciate their service at a time when the work was difficult and sometimes dispiriting.

They and the colleges that appoint them understand the impact of global perspectives, global opportunities and global research collaborations for the University of Cincinnati.

COVID Memory Project

As campus reopened and a sense of normalcy first began to return, we asked the faculty and staff we work with to share their memories of how COVID-19 affected their lives as members of UC's global community.

We got very few responses, as perhaps people were not yet ready to take a long view of the past two years' experiences.

But a few spoke in ways that many of us would recognize. They described how they first heard about the virus. They told stories of how they took part in UC's response to the pandemic, both institutionally and through urgent research. They gave us news of virtual collaborations, often with new partners. One shared a student art project.

Most mentioned how much they missed UC's active community during the campus shutdown and expressed their worry about family and friends around the world. Several reflected on the grace and flexibility shown by their students and peers under stressful circumstances. Few wanted to speculate about the future, except to say that this generation of students has been profoundly changed.

They looked forward to moving on from this period to interact more closely with international students and colleagues again, to incorporate new, digital tools in their work and to build on new and renewed partnerships across the globe.

Global Stories From UC Faculty + Staff

Visit our news and social media page or use the UC News "international" tag to follow stories about our office and UC's global students and scholars. A few about current UC International strategy group members are highlighted here.