Now he brings his extensive background in education to Southeastern Oklahoma State University as the director of the school’s new International Student Services office, which is part of the Enrollment Management division. Hales’ office is located in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.
“The opportunity to start a program was very appealing to me,’’ said Hales, who served most recently as director of the English Language Center at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. “We will be working with international students in all phases – this includes recruiting, adjusting to campus, supporting them through their time here, and even post-graduate.’’
Hales says international students typically face several challenges when studying in the United States, including cultural and social differences, academic expectations, academic writing, and language.
But, according to Hales, the number one factor in retention of the students is friendship with American students.
“It’s really important to give these students a sense of connection to and ownership of Southeastern,’’ he said. “When the students, campus, and community all work together, everyone benefits. It’s a tremendous learning opportunity.’’
Hales, with input from campus, intends to develop a comprehensive international student retention plan. This will include on-and off-campus programming.
With regard to recruitment, Hales will begin his work by assessing Southeastern’s academic offerings and matching those with the interests and needs of international students. Currently, business, computer science and music are three areas of great interest for the students.
“I think Southeastern has a lot to offer international students,’’ Hales said. “It’s a institution that first and foremost supports its students. And being located in a small and safe community is very important to the students and their parents.’’
Hales holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies, Teacher Development and Comparative, International & Development Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Ontario. His master’s is in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Monterey (Ca.) Institute of International Studies, and his bachelor’s is in Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University.
His other experience in International Education administration includes stints as Director of Studies for the English First China language center in Shanghai, and as International Programs Coordinator at Mississippi University for Women.
Hales also has extensive teaching experience at the university level, and he has resided in Spain, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, China, and Canada.