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Lynn Schoch
Office of the Vice President for International Affairs

Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2011

International student officers from across the U.S. coming to IU Bloomington for Sunapsis conference

Oct. 17. 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Representatives of international student offices from across the United States will come to Indiana University Bloomington this week for the first annual Sunapsis User's Conference. The software system Sunapsis was developed in the Office of International Services and provides a state-of-the-art solution for advising international students and scholars.

Chris Viers

Christopher Viers

Print-Quality Photo

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the reporting rules governing international students and scholars have become increasingly complex. When a school has a significant number of individuals from abroad, the danger of something falling through the cracks rises exponentially.

Students who are making good progress in their studies can fall out of status with immigration because of a minor lapse in reporting, said Christopher Viers, IU associate vice president for international services. Sunapsis provides the safety net for assuring that International Services can give students the right advice at the right time for them to stay in status.

Jason Baumgartner, director for information services in the IU Office of International Services, was the creative force behind Sunapsis. When new rules were established after 9/11, he saw immediately that the only way to provide this safety net is to link data that the Department of Homeland Security makes available to university officials with the university's own data.

Sunapsis grew out of that vision and has proved so powerful an advising tool that 23 institutions, including Iowa State University, Miami University of Ohio, Pennsylvania State University and the State University of New York at Buffalo, are using the product and more are expressing interest every month.

At this first gathering of Sunapsis users on Wednesday and Thursday (10/19-10/20) at the Indiana Memorial Union, representatives will report and discuss their experiences with the system, and developers will provide sessions on the varieties of uses of the system, which has grown from a visa-management tool to a support structure for full-service advising for and communications with international students and scholars and researchers visiting from abroad.

Jason Baumgartner

Jason Baumgartner

Print-Quality Photo

Baumgartner will present the keynote address on future expansion and new directions for the product, which will encompass the needs of study-abroad offices and international recruitment and admissions functions, and will expand its institutional reporting capabilities.

Viers said the conference reflects the success and maturity of Sunapsis.

"We are very proud of the work Jason has done and the way the office and our university colleagues have rallied around him to create the most robust international education administration tool on the market today," he said. "Sunapsis has answered the needs of strict federal reporting requirements while at the same time assuring that no student loses his or her right to study in the U.S. for purely technical reasons."