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Dear Dean of Graduate Studies – TAMUCC
Ngày đăng 18/08/2018, 16:27

Dear Dean of Graduate StudiesTAMUCC
 
My name is Huong Nguyen, your doctoral student at ELDPCoE.

Today is the Lunar New Year of Vietnam, and I wish all the best for you: health and prosperousness.
 
Firstly, I must saysorryto take a lot of your time in respect of my class registration in this SpringI understand that it is not necessary to bother you about this.
 
Secondly, as you really want to hear my story, especially what happen to me within 2 years I have been studying at ELDP to find out better solution for TAMUCCI really appreciate this idea and personally, I think this is my responsibility to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all, including me, although I stay here or I go home.
 
Might I take this letter to share with you my 21 months story at TAMUCC.
 
IBefore arriving TAMUCC
 
I met ESLIs representative and Phu Hoan Cau in Saigon in February 2014. I was advised that ELDP is online course and therefore, I must choose master of counseling to study as shown in the first I-20 TAMUCC provided to me.
Also, I was advised that I was qualified for TAMUCCs scholarship as my GPA is above the requirements. From practice, it is about 70% tuition fee off (tuition fee is around $2,800/semester) and I have a huge chance to work. Thats why I decided to bring my family to go together.
 
IIStudy at ESLI
 
When I came to study at ESLI, within 1 week besides to English classes (6 hours/day with a lot of homeworks), I must learn to take GRE for applying application to TAMUCC. Thats the reason GRE score can not have a good one, while at TAMUCC, you also provide another tests to replace GRE, but no one tells me.

When I studied at ESLI, my concern is that why a lot of students do not need to work hard, they still have a very good score?. I met the 2nd year and 4th year students of business college who can not communicate with their academic advisors during few first days I came, but I heard that they had a very good scores and a lot of them also got awards.

I really do not understand how hard for 1st year Islander programs when they must take a lot of responsibilities to help ESLIs students to go through their 1st year with low English levels, dispute the fact that they spent 2-3 courses with ESLI.

Under general views, every people recognized the ESLIs role to recruit international students for TAMUCC, with very expensive tuition fee in order to obtain TAMUCCs admission letter and scholarship. However, honestly, I do not know how many international students really stay and study at TAMUCC after ESLI courses and the 1st year? How many international students received the same scholarship as they advertised in Vietnam?
 
IIIFirst semester at ELDP

Before I decided to study ELDP, I had an interview with 3 faculty members which Dr. Bowden is one of themI asked him clearly 2 questions:
  1. Why in Vietnam, ESLI representative advised me that this course is online and I am not qualified, why now it is not? He confirmed that the advice was wrong. This course combines evening and weekend classes.
  2. Do I have any chance to get graduate assistantship to support my finance here during I study? He said the ELDP program is looking for students to help them develop, like Lillyone of our grad students who seated very closely with Dr. Bowdens room on that day.
I was advised by Dr. Bowden that he is my faculty advisor and feel free to contact him for any questions. However, for degree plan, I did not see him give any plan, except for 3 names of courses:

Curriculum TheoryDr. Jeffery
Higher Education LawDr. Bowden (his class)
Professional Education OrganizationAction in ResearchDr. Smith

Now, I realized that he advised me to take only one class in the core course and 2 others are non core courses. After this semester, I learned that every semester, I juts get one core courses, and therefore, I must take more courses that are out of core courses. However, in any meeting, Dr. Bowden and Dr. Smith always advised me to focus on core courses and to finish core courses to take comprehensive examsI do not understand!
 
This semester is the first and only one semester I got 3 classes without any online or hybrid.
 
The funny is when I attended Higher Education Law class, I recognized that I have a different Dr. BowdenWhen I firstly asked him questions about contents of laws, he said he could not provideprivate tutoring”. Then, whenever I asked him list of questions in respect of contents of laws class, he often said hewish he have time for me”.

I was shocked at that time to realize that when I have nothing about HE laws in America, all I must do is to learn and to try understanding it by myself. The issue is not about self-learning, it is the first very bad impression for me to know who American professor isIt was surprisingly that he avoided answering my questions very nicely, and I learned another fact here in US that not only him, a lot of people act nicely, but in fact they do nothing for you!

I am not sure the main reason why he decided to transfer me to Dr. Smith, but I can see that I am nothis taste”. I also do not understand his advice that I worked with Dr. Smith about courses I will take each semester, but for research, just come to work with him.

Now, I can understand the reason. Because he knew that from second semester, I will take online or hybrid classes which he did not tell me on the first day of interview. He knew I am adifficult studentwhich might question him about his previous advice.
  1. Asia and international students
When I checked with 6 faculty members about opportunity to develop Asian Club for Asian students and Asian studies to promote mutual sharing at TAMUCC.  All of them rejected to join in with many different reasons. I could not understand why the numbers of Asian students on campus are more than 70%, but the club for them is not well supported to organize. Now, I can understand, because Asian students are not only students matter, it closely links with recruitment and money matters. Someone here really does not prefer that I will involve in international students or recruitment of students. When I worked for Connecting Islanders event, my belief is again reconfirmed as someone here do not prefer to see the international students can work well together. They prefer to stay the same like now, and juts Indian + Columbian students associations look good, it is enough. They do not need to see Chinese or Vietnamese to be grouped and well connected for cultural promotion.

IVSecond semester at ELDP

My experiences at second semester are:
  1. International students must register Spring classes before November 5 and within 2 weeks. Otherwise, Karin will hold all in the system that students could not register after Nov. 5. When I asked her about why TAMUCCs notification said that we can register class till January, why Karin must force us to register as soon as possible, and while we do not know clearly what happen for each class.
  2. Online class and extra money:
No one tell me about online and hybrid class will have in this ELDP, and I must pay extra fee for these classes. Unbelievable that I must pay all if I wanted to continue my study. Who will take responsible to provide correct and accurate information to students before they enroll into the program?

3. Dining Hall and my co-workers stole my cutting gloves

To survive, I must work as food service at Dining Hall for Chartwells from November 14- April 15. I learned that some guys there were good to help me to know how to do the jobs, but the 2 co-workers at Salad Bar, they tried by all means to look me down. Finally, they stole my cutting gloves and showed that they really did not care as I could not do anything elseBoth of them are Cathothic… but they showed me a very good experience about one hand they go to church on Sunday, another hand, they treated me as their slaves thereThey believed that I am rich, I am going to study PhD, and I have a law background, why I came here to work or to take their jobs. Very very hard time when I must deal with them every day and also, too tired to go to class at night.

4. Qualitative research class

I love to do research and that is the main reason I decided to study PhDI learned something from qualitative research, and more important, I learned the way how faculty encouraged students to take more classes rather than focused on how we learn and apply to the daily projects.
Furthermore, I learned that I can receive a notice for submission of research at conference within few days before it comes to deadlineI learned that my project in relation to TAMUCC facultys challenges when they teach international students was not welcome.
 
VSummer and online class for analysis and research data

As I was advised that the summer class will help me to develop database for report and publications, I attended the 100% online class for analyses and research data. This was one of the worst classes I took as all are my reading and no more no lessIt seems like I paid money for nothing, just get one more score in the list.

VIThird semester at ELDP

One of the hardest challenging time in my life when I worked out for VSAactivities in Fall 2015.

Personally, I love to connect people, I love to talk and get understanding others. For me, Vietnamese and Vietnam should be sharing for people to know moreHowever, when I devoted for Connecting Islanders, I learned:
  1. Someone really did not like me to do these activities. They do not prefer VSA or Vietnamese students to be well-known on campus. Therefore, it happened some challenges:
    • The fruit and drink price provided by Chartwells was increased from $36/meeting (proposed 15-20 paxes) to $140, just after 3 events VSA and I organized. For the first event, as I did not know how to claim money for studentsactivities, I must pay by my money and when I claimed back, it was deducted $15 because I did not ask the form to request HEBs foods into campus
    • One of another organization named Chi Alpha appeared in our Connecting Islanders. They invited all of us to join their Tea event which they co-organized with ESLI. For me, it is not the big deal, as if anyone does something good for international students, it is good. However, after that, I realized that Chi Anpha and ESLI tried to organize international students, not only for English (for now, I do not hear any event for English club any more), but for many other purposes. I realized that I was encouraged to act as a thinker, not doer as people prefers someone else to do to ensure they achieve their purposes.
  2. VSA students told me about $100 for one Vietnamese student to be recruited for ESLIThey also shared with me about ESLIVietnamese Ambassador who will help to recruit students and work directly with Vietnamese students. ESLI Vietnamese Ambassador asked Vietnamese students to introduce friends to come here to study at ESLI and save more costs compared with go through agents in Vietnam. Honestly, this is an ESLI and TAMUCCs business and I do not involve. However, my question here is that why a lot of Vietnamese students know how tomake moneyfrom introduction services? They come here to study or they come here to make money based on their friendship? If you are TAMUCCs leaders, do you prefer doing business like this or you want to promote business professionally? Do you want students come here and graduate here, or do you want students just come and then, transfer to another schools? I do not know, but I am sure you must keep your reputation first!
  3. When I heard about the commission for recruiting students, and when I was noticed that someone tried to take camera on my activities on campus, in class, I realized that I am now truly an actress in some videos to promote ESLI and TAMUCCs campus to recruit more students. If you ask me how I can prove it. I can not, but I know what happen around me, in class, at gym, in students activities or university events. I know someone tried to record all my words, especially my specific advice on TAMUCCs programs and activitiesHows my life become worst like that? To answer, the emails from Dr. Gonzales and ex. TAMUCC Marketing Director explained clearly: to promote and recruit more and more students.
à Finally, I must wear mask in any public area and I also shut my mouth to ensure that I can not talk. I become disadvantaged student in TAMUCC campus. I am not sure this is the well plan from an organization or individuals, as otherwise, how they can set up a very good plan to explore me in their activities.
 
VIIFourth semester at ELDP

I started the fourth semester with very bad mood, as I really want to stop studying here when I found that I could not have any support from faculty or for getting on-campus job.

In December 15, I registered 3 classes already. But in late January, one class  I registered was cancelled. I was advised to look for another class. However, during I looked for another class, university sent out a notice saying that I was dropped out, while I did not drop out any class. The cancellation of class is out of my control.

However, the university notice for my drop-out reminded me about another bad experience at TAMUCC in the first semester. After finishing ESLIs course, I submitted application for ESLIs scholarship. Because of online application, I could not prove that I submitted already and therefore, when Scholarship Committee informed me that they did not receive my application, I was socked. I must try to apply another scholarship and showed that they did not provide any receipt for online application, how students can prove? After nearly 2 months back and forth, finally I got the scholarship, but it was one of the memorable experiences at TAMUCC in respect ofonline paper”.

The same like now, I do nothing on SAIL account, but they informed me that I was dropped out. If someone reads the automatic email from TAMUCC system, they might understand that I am not good, as I was dropped out and as an international student, I was considered infringement of visa status.

The online system made me really mad, as it proved that whenever people work online, I can not do anything right. I submitted scholarship application already, they might saynot yet”. I do not do any thing to drop out class I registered, a notice sending to me saying thatI did”. How I can rely on the system playing that way? Please please advise me.

Now, by all efforts, Graduate Studies and ELDP requested me either take 3rd course or they will terminate my SEVISI did not see anyone who sincerely wants to help me in this situation. In fact, there is some alternative solution to handle the issue, for example, a letter from department confirms that the registered class is not available, then, I will continue with my current registered class. Or under the doctoral handbook, I might sign in the reduce course work because of not available classes in this semester or I am in hardship situation, not having any job in more than 20 months I studied doctoral program, etc

Honestly, all you did make me crazy. Now, I love to go home, as I understand that all people tries to do is to explore me in their courses as international student, they try to show up for their program or campus, to promote and recruit new students. They really do not care for my study, for research or my life here. How I can survive, how I can do research if I do not have any one who seriously take care of my study and my research interests?

Today, they stopped to transfer my EBSCOs account into email of tamucc.edu, they did not provide name of Contemporary Theories course via webex for my study online tomorrow

Simply, I asked already: please advise how many days I can stay here after you terminate my SEVIS.

I feel regretfully to come and to study here.

If I can share some views about ELDP and faculty, below are my thoughts. They are not good and for some people, not bad. However, my life experiences at TAMUCC are not the ones that I was advised to pursuit.
 
1. ELDP programs:
 
1.1 Please kindly advise how many credits (60-69-72 credits) for ELDP till now?.
 
1. 2. How many percentages of ELDP programs for each components: online, hybrid and on campuses
I was advised by Dr. Bowden on the interviewing day that ELDP is on-campus courses, at evening and weekend class. Now, I must study with online and hybrid classes more than campus class, with extra money for these classes. Why did you advise so differently about the program, before and after I entered program
 
1.3 I recognized that although the name of class might be different, but in fact, the content is not much different. For example, Qualitative research method and Analysis and Report Data Analysis. Or 3 classes for leadership: Clinical Leadership Laboratory - Contemporary Educational Leadership and Community Leadership. We all know that there are thousands of books and theories of educational leadership in the world. Why I must study 2 or 3 similar courses? These classes are money, time and efforts...and at the end, educational leadership foundations.
 
2. Academic advisors:
 
2.1 Why I was transferred from Dr. Bowden to Dr. Smith? If saying that Dr. Bowden was super busy, he was so busy since 2011 with more than 15 students under his committee chair and advisor already. The point here is why Dr. Bowden volunterily took me as his student for advising first, and then, in December 2014, transferred to Dr. Smith without any convincing explanation? I am your student, not a machine that you can transfer to anyone every semester.
 
2.2 Please advise how many students did Dr. Smith take for her doctoral advice? Especially for international students? If I asked her about TAMUCC's Momentum or policy for graduate students to work, she did not know, how she can advise me in many different areas? If saying Dr. Smith just advise on degree plan, and Dr. Bowden will advise on research, what is life ways for students who have a lot of advisors, but at the end, no one will seriously take care of students' progress and everyone can finger points to another guy. More importantly, I do not see any advisor of both guys are serious with my study and researches
 
2.3 At the first meeting, I shared clearly with Interview Committee that I will devote my study for internationalization of program between America and Vietnam. In the programs and in the faculty resources, if you do not see the fit between my personal interest and resources that ELDP and TAMUCC can provide, why do you not discuss on the first day of interview? Who can advise me if no one in ELDP has experiences about Asia/Vietnam and internationalization process? This is the one reason made me very disappointed with Dr. Bowden and ELDP. You are not straight forward speaker.
 
2.4 Why for all terms and conditions of programs, you always put me as your student in very difficult situation? For example, when I ask the process for dissertation committee, Dr. Pierce advised Dr. Canelez to request me to have outside-advisor who specialize on internationalization of higher education if I want to follow the research on internationalization. Why not you, as ELDP's leaders and professors, who are american scholars for many years to help  your students to find out and introduce to me?
 
3. Faculty responsibilities:
 
3.1 How faculty responsibility to answer the students' questions in relation to class's contents? I had a lot of emails from Dr. Bowden, Dr. Smith saying that they did not have time or did not know... I agree that we can not know everything. But if you do not know, what is next for me?
 
3.2 Giving a letter of recommendation is faculty's responsibility or not? and how long does it take? the reason is I need to submit a lot of papers and job positions, they request  huge LoRs for each application, but it takes long time (more than a month) to get letters from ELDP's faculty. For example of Dr. Gonzalez, the time for her LoR to me was more than 2 months as she was so busy!
 
3.3 Faculty evaluation:
 
At the end of each class, there is always having a class evaluation. I found that in 2 classes (Analysis and Report Data Analysis, Policy Studies) held by Dr. Gonzalez and survey for graduate students, I could not attend. The first time for online evaluation, the computer at library was pending for more than 1 hours, the second time was that the announcement for the last class of Dr. Gonzalez for evaluation was sent out at the last minute (and not going to my email). For the survey of graduate students, as I shared with Dr. Steve Seidel, always pending for online evaluation. Seems to me that whenever I want to give my feedback, evaluation system at TAMUCC is pending or having problems.
How I can trust on the system if they do not prefer to listen my feedback
When I was informed by Dr. Bowden that I was not good representative for ELDP as I delivered some negative comments about the programs. The point is that the negative feedback is reflecting the truth or not? If not, please correct my understanding
 
3.4 Faculty sponsor for attendance of conference and research:

@ For research:
I had done one research under IRB with Dr. Gonzalez in last Spring semester in respect of faculty's challenges teaching international students. All I did receive from her is the signature on IRB's application and the explanation for tenure track. Period. My interview and papers were completed without any comments or suggestions.

@ For conference sponsor;
In last Oct 15, Dr. Bowden volunterily sponsored my application to attend TACUSPA in Corpus. He forgot to send me the notification of award and I could not attend the conference officially. However, after that, he asked me to explain the money spending for conference, and I explained to him already. Yesterday, again, this question was repeated by Evon with a very strong complaining about my responsibility with TAMUCC's award. And I did not see any explanation from Dr. Bowden. At the end, this is my job to clarify the case. My question here is that why Dr. Bowden treated me like this in his sponsorship? If he agrees to take sponsorship for me, he must take responsibility to inform and advise me. But he did nothing.

Thus, what roles of faculty should take when they deal with students in the above situations?

How I, as your student, can get success if I learn and work with faculty members like Dr. Bowden and Dr. Gonzalez? Or because I am an international student, a minority in your class and you do not need to care for me
 
3.5 Faculty's meeting:
 
Is it a good practice here if meeting with faculty while she walked around the room and doing another jobs, not focusing on the students' sharing? I have never met the faculty with that behaviour before and then, I am wondering that might be the reason behind her walking.
 
3.6 Camera on class:
 
Do US laws agree with the (university) faculty's camera putting in class without agreement with students and without prior notification to class? If yes, kindly advise the specific regulations. In last semester, I was noticed that my activities in class and out of class has been recorded. I was informed by Dr. Gonzalez that she had camera on her class at first, then, when I asked her the reason and camera record, she denied the camera matter. However, I know that although people can say "NO", here means 'YES".
 
4. Jobs and job opportunities
 
On the interview day, I asked Dr. Bowden about the job opportunity and the support from department, as I clearly shared that I do not have much finance sponsor and also, I have family here.
 
He advised me that ELDP program still look for grad students to develop programs etc. After 4 months, I asked him, he said he did not have anything for me
 
When I asked Graduate Studies for any job for graduate students, Dr. Canales replied that due to the nature of programs, University do not provide any graduate assistance position for ELDP.
 
First, Dr. Bowden lied me about job at ELDP. Second, if Dr. Canalez said the program do not have any position for GA, how you can explain about Lily, Carl, Steve, Roman and a lot of others who work as grad students on our campus
 
I submitted nearly 30-45 applications every semester for all types of job that might help me to survive. Just less than 4 replies with explanation that the position was filled. How I can continue the study if I do not have proper job, while on the first day of interview, I was understood that I will have a job for graduate students at department?
 
5. Other supports from University and Graduate Studies for graduate students
 
I do not know what are the supports from University or Graduate Studies for doctoral students. In any cases that I learned from other university, doctorate students or graduate students always have offers to get GA job to sponsor for their study. Here, I do not see it, at least, in my situation. I do not know how to ask supports, while I met, I talked, I do all things I can with program director, department head, dean of CoE, dean of Graduate Studies, Career Services...Only one award I got was Parent Council and Dr. Bowden forgot it.

Some people told me that I got ESL scholarship that helped me to pay in-state tuition. Please be advised that in Vietnam, I was confirmed that I will get 70% off tuition as scholarship at TAMUCC (just google TAMUCC, you can see a lot of advertisement on newspaper) and that's why I decided to come here to study. But in fact, my payment for tuition is not 70% off as promised
 
Without job, I am falling into the hardship and without support and proper advice, I learn internationalization of higher edu by myself, while I must pay money for the courses that I do not prefer to take.
 
From my personal experiences with ELDP at TAMUCC, I got the point that ELDP need some seats to fill in your class. That's is. You do not expect that I, an international student, might ask a lot of questions and request your supports to study. Your programs's change without official notification, your negative behaviour to my study and my research,  you ignored the chance I might take award or do not help me to get a job on campus...All are hurting me day by day and let's me know that I am not a part of the "elite" ELDP's people.
 
During that time, someone tried to take camera on me for recruiting Asian students, some ideas for business development in Asia have been transferred to another guy for doing it..
 
In fact, I do not care that I must get ELDP degree whenever I see some faculty members as examples of my future. However, the biggest issue ELDP creates to my life is that I wasted 2 years, more than $30,000 for nothing and the last is destroying my trust on the American education values. If faculty behave not good, how you can expect I will become good educational leader
 
I do not know what my future is, but I know that you asked me to close the door of study at TAMUCCEven though I try to pay for tuition fee in this semester, how and who will help me to do research proposal for dissertation and dissertation? How I can find out the outside advisor for me while I spend all my time at TAMUCC? I might take 2 or 3 more years, but it might last for nothing if I do not have the right people to mentor and to support.

I do not see any future here. Please kindly advise what will be the best for me and for ELDP.

Thank you for reading,
Ann
 
 
 
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