Mr. Erik Krauss, who boasts a variety of experiences stemming from years of living and working with international students both at home and abroad, has been named the new director of international student programs at University of the Ozarks.
Mr. Erik Krauss will serve as the director of international student programs at Ozarks.
Krauss is originally from Washington and earned two undergraduate degrees before beginning his career as a teacher.
"I earned my first bachelor’s degree from the University of Portland. My second degree is in education from Eastern Washington University. After that, I began my career as a high school English teacher," Krauss explained.
Krauss’ background in education would eventually lead him to teaching abroad.
"The beginning of my international experience started many years ago when I began teaching English in Italy. In 1991, I came back to the U.S. to receive my graduate degree from Cornell University in communications. After that, I moved to Japan to teach English there for a year," Krauss said.
When Krauss returned from Japan, he began searching for positions in international education and was hired to work for Emerson College’s European Center, which is actually a 700 year old castle in the Netherlands.
"I was assistant director of the castle," Krauss joked. "That was my first position in higher education administration, and I was in charge of the daily management of the program. Emerson College sends 84 of their students from the Boston campus to study in the Netherlands every semester, and I lived in the castle with these students. I did just about everything with them."
"We took the students on excursions throughout Europe. I was in the charge of the library and many other aspects of their student life. I was also the substitute moat keeper," Krauss smiled. "I’m probably the only person at the University of the Ozarks who has a background in moat-keeping."
Krauss spent five years at the castle in the Netherlands before heading back to Italy to work as assistant director for New York University’s campus in Florence.
"NYU’s Florence campus is the largest study abroad campus in Italy, at about 400 students. In Florence, we actually housed those students in a historic renaissance villa. I’ve lived in a lot of interesting places," Krauss said.
In addition to his time living and working abroad, Krauss also served as director of international and off campus activities at Drew University in New Jersey. Krauss hopes his varied experience will benefit the international student programs at Ozarks.
"The next year will be crucial. My main goal is work with President Dunsworth and the rest of campus to determine our goals for the international program and to develop a sustainable, integrated admissions strategy," Krauss said.
As challenging as the next year will be, Krauss is optimistic and excited to be working with international students at Ozarks.
"I love working with international students, because those students bring so many fresh and new perspectives to a campus," he said.
"I can also relate to these students. I understand how hard it is to be an international student. Having been in situations in other countries where I’ve been isolated and needed assistance, I understand what that’s like. It’s rewarding for me to give back to my students. Providing them with hospitality, support, and the feeling that they are at home is something that means a lot to me," Krauss explained.
Krauss is looking forward to getting to know Ozarks campus and is particularly excited to work with the Walton International Scholars Program.
"I was drawn to Ozarks as a university that has such a focus on an international perspective and that does such amazing things for its students. The Walton International Scholars Program is incredibly unique. There is almost nothing like it in the entire United States. It is incredible the impact that it has on the students who come here through that program and the impact it has on the campus. To work with this program is an honor," Krauss said.
Krauss officially began on campus last week and is excited for the new school year, so he can begin getting to know his students and get started making his mark as director of international student programs.
"One of my tasks will be to diversify the international presence on campus. To be a part of that will be a great professional challenge that I am certainly looking forward to, but I am most excited to meet the current international students and to get to know them. I’m eager to become a part of campus life," he said.