The Position


Reporting to the assistant vice president (AVP) for student affairs and ExperienceVT, the director of the Cranwell International Center (CIC) will lead a team that provides multiple levels of support to the international graduate and undergraduate student community at the Blacksburg, Roanoke, and national capital region campuses of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University  (Virginia Tech or VT). The director is responsible for providing vision and strategic leadership to a team of thirteen staff members(which includes administrative/professional faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students) and manages an annual operating budget of approximately $150,000.The position is accountable for day-to-day operations, budgeting, staffing, services, and programs that enable the CIC to deliver its strategic and operational objectives, provide immigration advice, services, and guidance with an emphasis on advocacy for international students, ensure CIC compliance with state and/or federal regulations, offer education to enhance cross-cultural knowledge, and create a vision for the future of international student programming that advances ExperienceVT and the global experiences at Virginia Tech.

Additional duties/responsibilities as outlined in the institutional position description are as follows:

  • Provide individual and group counseling with an advocacy focus for international students in regard to personal, legal, and crisis issues, applying knowledge of immigration policies as necessary. Use confidentiality and cultural sensitivity in all interactions, providing feedback, referral, and follow-up, as appropriate. Provide resources and support to those members of the university and community who are involved with members of the international community. Provide education and training to individuals and groups in regard to multicultural communication and global issues. Consult and collaborate with units across the university on global, department, and individual needs and programs.
  • Manage the CIC according to department and university mission, policies, and procedures. Monitor programs and actions, research appropriate and relevant issues, propose and review new initiatives, assess and review existing programs and activities. Communicate expectations and priorities as related to the goals and objectives of the department. Assist in the implementation of programs and activities.
  • Assure CIC compliance with state and/or federal regulations. Fulfill the duties of a principal designated school official (PDSO) as outlined in Federal Regulations and detailed in the NAFSA manual. Provide consultation and policy interpretations to students and members of the community on issues pertaining to and related to immigration. Manage and administer the student intern program.
  • Advocate for members of the international community and community committees in formal and informal meetings. Advocate for the programs and activities of the CIC throughout the university and community. Ensure the needs of the international community are taken into consideration in the planning and decision-making process of the division of student affairs (DSA) and the university. Serve as ex officio of the commission on equal opportunity and diversity. Serve on university policy and governance committees and commissions as appropriate. Serve on the leadership team of the DSA, ensuring that the decisions and policies of the division are communicated to the department and that the needs of the department are communicated to the leadership of the DSA. Serve on committees and advisory boards as appropriate. Serve on regional and national professional associations relevant to the work of the department.
  • Responsible for allocation of approved funds from education and general (E&G) and auxiliary (AUX) budgets.
  • Manage the staff and faculty hiring and evaluation processes. Ensure that the requirements of the performance planning and evaluation system are met. Ensure that the faculty and staff receive feedback and understand the need and opportunities to develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to accomplish established goals. Organize staff meetings as appropriate.
  • Coordinate the physical plant of the CIC in collaboration with the Real Estate Management group and The VT Foundation. Effectively manage the budget, including maintenance and improvements to the facility to meet the needs of the staff and community. Ensure that the building is available for use by the university and community in the promotion of international-focused activities.
  • As needed, provide services and support for international students after regular business hours, weekends, and holidays.


A master’s degree in international education, higher education administration, or a related field, and experience in international programming and services, student and family support, volunteer programs, crisis intervention, teaching/training, and advising international students are required. In addition, successful candidates will demonstrate a track record of success in building and leading a team of professionals that works collaboratively and effectively; experience interpreting and applying Federal Regulations for F and J visa programs within the university setting; proven experience working with social, cultural, and policy issues of the immigration process; excellent intercultural and interpersonal communication skills; and an ability to work both independently and collaboratively with others in initiating and sustaining new endeavors. Candidates must qualify as designated school official/alternate responsible officer (DSO/ARO) with the Department of Homeland Security.

Preferred qualifications, as listed in the position description, include the following:

  • Demonstrate a deep commitment to student success with a passion for leading change and building a culture of student engagement for international students.
  • Experience in international programming and services, student and family support, volunteer programs, crisis intervention, teaching/training, and advising international students.
  • Work history of increasing responsibility and complexity that demonstrates a record of success in building and leading teams of professionals that work collaboratively and effectively.
  • Proven experience working with social, cultural, and policy issues of the immigration process, excellent intercultural and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Candidates must qualify as DSO/ARO with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.
  • Experience working with diverse populations of students in complex institutional settings, along with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:

  • Collaboration and partnership skills
  • Compliance and immigration law expertise
  • Experience with staff supervision and team building
  • Exceptional communication skills
  • Understanding of the unique needs of undergraduate and graduate students at VT
  • Experience working with SEVIS, Canvas, Banner, Navigate, and other technologies to support students
  • Multi-lingual
  • Change management capability
  • Compassion
  • Staff training and onboarding experience
  • Recruitment and retention of staff
  • Operations and budget experience


In 2020, the Cranwell International Center (CIC) was moved into a new unit within student affairs named ExperienceVT. This unit was designed to champion a collective, unrelenting commitment to a robust student experience that prioritizes students’ goals, strengths, and learning. They joined five other areas to cultivate a rich experiential foundation for students. These areas include student engagement and campus life, fraternity and sorority life, the office of learning partnerships, the office of living-learning programs, and VTengage: the center for leadership & service learning. ExperienceVT is the programmatic responsibility for all student affairs and beyond. The CIC is seen as an essential part of the ExperienceVT movement, providing an intentional approach to ensure that all 5,000 international students are connecting to the institution, clarifying how to engage these students and how to help international students identify their strengths, define their goals, create pathways toward their goals, and ultimately cultivate a sense of agency to achieve their goals.

The director’s position became vacant in May 2023. The prior director of the CIC served in the role for seven years.


The director must be courageous in advancing new ideas, thinking outside the box, and addressing challenges with creativity and ambition. They should have a robust professional network that will allow them to stay abreast of trends and best practices. Specific areas for attention include:

Ambassadorship. Being an ambassador for the Cranwell International Center will be a priority for this position. With one of the largest international student enrollments in the United States, the successful candidate will need diplomatic skills and the ability to work with students from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Experience with international students. The director must understand the unique needs of international students within various academic programs. The candidate should be an experienced and well-traveled professional.

Collaboration. The new director will forge significant partnerships with peers in student affairs and other areas that serve international students. They must be comfortable in a decentralized environment supporting students and work to be a bridge and connector to the various offices that promote success for this student population.

Trust and confidence of students. The new director must build a culture of accessibility, support, and connections. The new director will be charged with relationship-building with students from all programs to serve them in academic and personal matters better.

Supervisory experience and the ability to build a strong team. As the director transitions into the position, developing a strong sense of “team” among staff and building working relationships that emphasize a collaborative work environment will be essential. The successful director will need experience in recruiting, training, managing, and retaining staff. With high levels of compassion fatigue and burnout after COVID, the director must identify strategies to motivate and onboard staff effectively. Onboarding, communication, and training were themes that repeatedly arose among campus stakeholders while discussing expectations for the next director.

Physical space. The director must transform the current center location into a welcoming and improved functional area to better serve international students.

Strategic planning. The director must demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective. The director must develop a vision based on this area’s complexity and multiple priorities.

Advocacy. Advocating for increased opportunities for VT international students and integrating those opportunities into exceptional student experiences are highly desirable. They should also work to identify additional resources that will facilitate student success.


The items listed below will define the director’s success throughout the first year of employment:

  • The director has demonstrated an effective and collegial leadership style while being highly successful in advancing the goals of ExperienceVT for students.
  • The director has demonstrated they are a valuable thought leader, joining the AVP, student affairs team, and other community members in advancing strategic priorities on behalf of the Cranwell International Center.
  • The director has maintained and developed quality relationships with students, administration, and faculty and created a culture and practice of positive and transparent collaboration, all to enhance the student experience.
  • The director has established collaborative partnerships at Virginia Tech and globally to enhance academic goals, personal transition, and successful engagement for international students.
  • The director is known as an exceptional advocate. Students, administration, and faculty seek their knowledge and support for initiatives that positively affect the student experience.

Institution & Location


The Cranwell International Center provides a wide range of programs and services for international students, promotes the development of global and intercultural competence in all students, and positions the university as more globally oriented and internationally connected.

Cranwell International Center, in partnership with other campus colleagues:

  • Educatesstudents, faculty, and staff regarding the development of intercultural competence within the global context.
  • Engagesthe campus and broader community with a wide range of intercultural programs and services.
  • Enhancesawareness of the unique contributions of international students.
  • Equipsinternational students for success inside and outside the classroom.
  • Expandsopportunities for meaningful interaction between domestic and international students.
  • Ensuresinstitutional compliance with federal regulations governing the enrollment of international students.
  • Enrichesinstitutional commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Organizational chart



The mission of Student Affairs is to promote student learning, life skills, and personal growth through a strong focus on holistic student development and collaborative partnerships that deliver superior service to, and care for, students in the spirit of Ut Prosim.

Aspirations for Student Learning

  • Commit to unwavering CURIOSITY
  • Practice CIVILITY
  • Prepare for a life of COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP
  • Embrace UT PROSIM (That I May Serve) as a way of life.

Divisional Leadership

Frances Keene, Vice President for Student Affairs

Frances Keene was named vice president for student affairs in March 2023 after serving as interim in the position since July 2022. She leads a division facilitating one of the country’s most robust and comprehensive student life experiences. Student affairs at Virginia Tech oversees over 3,000 faculty, staff, and student employees, over 20 departments, and many critical student life programs—including dining and residential life, student organizations, counseling, health and well-being, international student services, student conduct, and learning partnerships.

Keene began her career at Virginia Tech in 2002 as a victim services adjudication coordinator in what was then called the office of judicial affairs. She later became the director of student conduct, a position she held until 2012. Keene also held a part-time position as an assistant director in the university’s long-range planning office, which concluded in 2012. From 2012 to 2020, she served as chief of operations for the senior associate vice president for student affairs. Keene served as assistant vice president and chief of staff to the vice president for student affairs from 2020-2022.

Keene earned a PhD in higher education from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in counselor education from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of William & Mary.


James S. Bridgeforth, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and ExperienceVT

James S. Bridgeforth joined Virginia Tech in October 2020 as assistant vice president for student affairs and ExperienceVT. The position was created to further the goals of ExperienceVT, a student affairs initiative that guides students in understanding and practicing the Aspirations for Student Learning through engagement and reflection. Bridgeforth supervises the Cranwell International Center, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Learning Partnerships, Living-Learning Programs and VT Engage: The Center for Leadership and Service Learning. Additionally, in partnership with Ted Faulkner, assistant vice president for dining, housing, and student centers, Bridgeforth shares supervision for Student Engagement and Campus Life.

Bridgeforth came to Virginia Tech from the University of South Alabama, where he was director of university housing and graduate faculty instructor in higher education administration. He brings more than 17 years of experience in higher education, including at public universities, private colleges, HBCUs, and land-grant institutions. Bridgeforth has extensive experience working with college students and collaborating with academics and student affairs to champion the student experience.

Bridgeforth earned his PhD in higher education administration and institutional research from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a master of education degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in sociology from Catawba College. His previous professional positions include executive director for housing and residence life at Kennesaw State University and assistant director of residence life and first-year experience at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Virginia Tech is a public land-grant research university committed to pushing the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. Inspired by its land-grant identity and guided by the motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech is an inclusive community of knowledge, discovery, and creativity dedicated to improving the quality of life and the human condition within the Commonwealth of Virginia and throughout the world. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and a leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers about 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 37,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students across the commonwealth and manages a research portfolio of more than $556 million.

Virginia Tech mission and facts

Strategic Planning

Institutional Leadership

Timothy D. Sands, President

Timothy D. Sands is the 16th President of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a professor in the College of Engineering. Since joining Virginia Tech in 2014, President Sands has set the university on a course to become a leading modern, global, land-grant Institution aligned with the needs and opportunities created by a rapidly changing world in the evolving landscape of higher education.

President Sands initiated InclusiveVT in 2015, leading an effort to increase the enrollment of underrepresented minority (URM) students by 88 percent while closing the four-year graduation rate gap from ten (10) percentage points to one (1) percentage point.


Principles of Community

To read the complete principles of community statements of Virginia Tech, please see here.


Virginia Tech offers employees a robust benefits program, from comprehensive insurance plans to tuition assistance. This full range of benefits, services, and discounts is an integral part of the University’s total compensation package and is just one of the many things that make Virginia Tech a great place to work.

VT Benefits

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Laura Puckett-Boler at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

The base compensation package for this position is between $100,000-$110,000, along with a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance, paid leave, retirement, tuition assistance, and more.