Who We Are
David Puente, Ph.D. (Regional Vice President, Academic Affairs)
Based in Granada, Spain, David joined the ISA team in 2003 after completing graduate study in English and Comparative Literature at the University of California. Since then he has worked closely with resident staff abroad to ensure that ISA's mission of igniting students' personal growth remains at the center of all we do. As Regional Vice President he takes the lead on academic initiatives in Europe and Africa, including the development of learning objectives and the use of digital technologies to promote student learning and engagement. Along with developing training resources and disseminating best practices across his region, David continues to teach, lecture, and contribute research on topics such as intercultural competence and global citizenship. His professional activities have taken him to over forty countries and to dozens of fairs and conferences. In between his other travels he supports Academic Affairs by leading ISA's Group Site Visits in Europe and Morocco.
Elizabeth Erbeznik, Ph.D. (Director, Curriculum and Academic Programs)
With her eye on all things related to curriculum, Elizabeth works to ensure that ISA stakeholders have access to comprehensive course information in order to better facilitate curriculum integration between universities at home and abroad. On the post-program end, she monitors academic quality through attention to student's course evaluations. She is also the North American Liaison to EuroScholars, an undergraduate research consortium that offers students a rigorous and global research experience. Elizabeth has over a decade of classroom experience (from teaching English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar to instructing college-level French language and literature) and hopes her work helps students find the courses that best fulfill their study abroad goals.
How Academic Affairs works at ISA
- In the development of new ISA programs, Academic Affairs plays a key role in vetting the academic quality of the potential host university; specifically the academic course offer available to international students, the likelihood for course cancellations, and an analysis of accolades or accreditations of the university.
- Academic Affairs maintains a series of oversight and quality improvement procedures, in conjunction with the Geographic Oversight Managers for each region where we have programs. Various mechanisms are in place to regularly evaluate all ISA programs and ensure a high level of quality is maintained, including: program and course evaluations conducted by students, program evaluations conducted by faculty and advisors who participate on site visits, and external evaluations conducted by professionals in the field of study abroad.
- The development of the ISA Bridging Cultures Orientation involves many departments at ISA, and staff both in the U.S. and abroad. The Academic Affairs department works to educate resident staff abroad about the Guide to conducting a Bridging Cultures Orientation, to provide resources to help ensure a smooth implementation, and to receive feedback from both staff abroad and students on the continuous improvement of the program.
- The ISA Discovery Model is the teaching and learning framework for the co-curricular experiential programming of ISA programs. The development of the framework, the training of staff, the development and oversight of the learning objectives for cultural activities and excursions, and the implementation of resources to support the model are coordinated by Academic Affairs.
- In an effort to facilitate internationalization efforts at partner universities, Academic Affairs assists in curriculum integration by providing the comprehensive course information (including course level recommendations, language levels, prerequisites, and course descriptions) required to establish course equivalencies. The Academic Advising Guides are another resource developed by the department to help identify study abroad programs by major or field of study.
- Students who elect to receive academic credit for their internship program through our school or record are enrolled in a course that provides reflective and professional development for students. Members of the Academic Affairs team serve as the academic supervisors for this course.
- Faculty and advisors who want to get to know our programs abroad first hand may apply to participate in a group site visit, or coordinate an individual site visit around their already planned travels abroad to one of our program locations. Academic Affairs works ensure that these visits meet the objectives of the visitors while providing a comprehensive overview of our academic programming.
- Faculty and advisors may want to learn more about ISA programming or simply have a more in depth resource to track their students who are in the process of enrolling in our program. The ISA Advisor Portal, designed by Academic Affairs, was developed to meet this need. The Portal includes access to advisor resources (including major specific advising guides, ISA webinars, access to the online orientation for all programs, the alumni re-entry guide and the career resources guide), enrollment information (including an enrollment summary, student list, and student portal demo), and academic records (including policies and sample transcripts and cover letters for each program).
Alonso De La Fuente (Associate Vice President, Academic Records)
With over a decade of experience in ISA's Academic Records department, Alonso leads his team of Academic Records Coordinators in processing host university transcripts received by all ISA students at the completion of their study abroad programs. In addition to overseeing the handling and processes associated with students' academic records, which include creating program-specific cover letters aimed to assist the transcript evaluator at the students' home university with the credit transfer process, Alonso works with all study abroad divisions at ISA on academic-related matters. He and his team also liaise with ISA staff abroad and students' home universities when they encounter academic issues at their host universities upon completion of their program, including grade appeals and enrollment disputes. Alonso works closely with our Office of Health, Safety and Security when an issue arises with an ISA student abroad whose academics are affected by an unforeseen event or as a result of academic negligence. Alonso graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 with degrees in Latin American Studies and Hispanic Studies.
Academic Records Overview
- Academic Records is responsible for processing and distributing students' host university transcripts to their home universities.
- Academic Records will include a program-specific cover letter with each transcript. The letter includes important academic information intended to aid the transcript evaluator during the credit transfer process. Details included in the ISA cover letter are: the grading system used by the host university; recommended U.S. letter grade equivalencies; language levels (if applicable), contact hours/host university credit values used by the host university; the recommended conversion formula for contact hours/host university credits to U.S. semester credits and quarter units; and whether courses taken by the student were regular university courses with locals or courses designed specifically for international students.
- Communicate with home and host university contacts about academic issues that occur abroad as well as assist students post-program with academic matters, including grade contestations.
- Produce content for the biannual ISA Academic Update Newsletter. This electronic newsletter is distributed to over 12,000 home university contacts and contains program announcements, important academic updates to existing programs, and developments within the various divisions of ISA that are worth sharing with our colleagues in International Education.