Skip to content

Resources for Faculty & Staff

Denison University is home to over 400 international students from more than 40 different countries. International Student Support (ISS) is the office on campus responsible for assisting students, scholars, and the University with federal immigration compliance. ISS also provides cultural programming and support to our international population. International students have special considerations and expectations when it comes to immigration and cultural differences. This resource is a reference to help faculty and staff support and advise international students and scholars by pointing out the key, basic immigration requirements for international students.

Please refer any international students with questions or concerns about immigration (particularly in the areas of full-time enrollment and employment) to ISS. Immigration regulations, policies, and procedures depend on a student’s individual circumstances and can be complex and change frequently. As such, ISS is the best office on campus to assist. 
Academic Information
Full-Time Enrollment
All F-1 visa holders are required to enroll full-time every fall and spring semester. Students must register for a minimum of 12 credits.

Reduced Course Load
Federal regulations allow for reduced course load authorizations (i.e. registering for under 12 credits) for international students in very specific circumstances. In order for ISS to approve a student for an authorized reduced course load (RCL), the academic advisor or course professor and associate provost must approve the reduction. ISS will only authorize a RCL with the appropriate approvals and/or documentation

Withdrawing or Dropping Courses
Before advising international students to drop or withdraw from a course, please consider the number of credits they are enrolled in to ensure they maintain full-time enrollment.
Employment Information
On-Campus Employment
Students in F-1 visa status are permitted to work part-time on campus for no more than 20 hours per week during the semester while classes are in session. During official school breaks and vacations, over 20 hours per week is allowed. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for Internships
This is a type of off-campus work authorization for students in F-1 visa status. Students engaging in an off-campus internship or employment, must obtain authorization from ISS prior to beginning that employment. To be eligible, the student’s proposed CPT employment must be an integral part of the student’s program of study.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 
This benefit for F-1 students must be approved by the USCIS, which issues the student an authorization card to begin work. In most cases, students will choose to do their 12 months of OPT after graduation. 
F-1: The F-1 visa category is for students pursuing full-time study in the U.S.
SEVIS: The federal database managed by the Department of Homeland Security which houses the records for F-1 students. ISS is required to report regularly in SEVIS.
Status: This is the legal standing of a visa holder in the U.S. A person’s status depends on their purpose for being in the U.S., and benefits like study or employment are dependent on that specific status.
Visa: This is the entry document. A student needs a valid visa to enter the U.S., and should enter using the visa that reflects his or her intended status. The U.S. visa, however, does not need to remain valid during a student’s stay in the U.S. as this document is used only during entry.
I-20: This document is used for F-1 students to obtain an F-1 status and proves their status while in the U.S. The I-20 must remain valid while the student is studying. 
Challenges for Denison International Students
  • Navigating the syllabus and planning accordingly
  • Asking questions during class and/or seeking help from the professor
  • Participating in class discussions, sharing, and presenting
  • Balancing academics, social life, co-curricular activities, and on-campus jobs
  • Reading and writing workload
  • Seeing/realizing the benefits of co-curricular activities
    • Health and wellness - navigating insurance payments and using Whisler services when needed
Communicate Verbally and in Writing
A student’s understanding of your explanation or message can be enhanced if you provide a written document/communication to supplement what is being heard. Following up an in-person conversation with a written email is also helpful.
Be Aware of Acronyms, Idioms, and DU Jargon
Acronyms, idioms, and jargon can be challenging for students who are new to the English language or American English and culture. When possible, try to limit or qualify the use of acronyms, idioms, humor, and DU jargon. Define these words and phrases if they are difficult for the student
Cultural Differences
Students expect things in America to be different from what they are used to in their home countries. However, the extent of these differences may be overwhelming. It’s recommended to ask a student about their culture and what their expectations are for you (and also to explain what your expectations are for them). Showing genuine interest in the student and their success will help them adjust to their new environment and feel welcome at Denison
Refer a Student to ISS
If you encounter an international student experiencing difficulties, please reach out to ISS to bring our awareness to the situation. 
Make Office Hours a Requirement
International students may have difficulty asking questions in class and/or seeking help from a professor. If possible, include a required visit during office hours as an assignment on the syllabus during the first week or two of class. This will help the student become familiar and comfortable with you and allow them to ask questions they may have about course expectations. 
Academic Resource Center (ARC)
Advising, tutoring and academic support for all students. Drop-in tutoring schedules are shared each semester. Students can request a tutor for a specific subject on MyDenison.

The Writing Center
The Writing Center's consultations are trained to offer practical and honest advice about a student's writing.

Multilingual Learning Office
Studying in a second language (L2) is a rewarding, yet challenging, experience. Instructors and students alike will find information on this site to help you navigate the process of studying in an L2.

Hoaglin Wellness Center - Counseling Services
It is the mission of Counseling Services to promote the well-being of our students. We help students develop habits of wellness that will be crucial to their long-term health.

Big Red Express Shuttle
The Big Red Express is a free shuttle service operated by Denison that takes students to local shopping/dining centers including Health/Cross Creek Shopping Center, Easton Town Center, and Saraga International Market.
Tea Time
The Center for Global Programs hosts Tea Time events throughout each semester. This is a social event with light snacks, coffee, tea, and conversation. All members of the Denison community are welcome. Information about these events can be found in our weekly newsletter or on our Instagram account @issdenison.

Academic Workshops
Each semester, we work with partners across campus to host academic workshops to teach and enhance reading, writing, and note-taking skills.

Employment Workshops
We introduce Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) employment authorization to students and outline the application procedures for each.
International Friendship Program (IFP)
This program pairs international students with local community members and families for cultural exchange. If you are interested in being a host, please visit the My ISS Portal.

Weekly Email Newsletter
Each week, International Student Support (ISS) sends a newsletter to international students to provide important immigration updates and promote upcoming events on and off campus. If you would like to advertise for an event, please send the post and flier to prior to Friday afternoon for the following week's newsletter.