Member stories: deciphering academic credentials

Member stories: deciphering academic credentials

Meet Robert Watkins, an EAIE member who found himself so fascinated by the world of International Admissions that he has devoted 36 years to working in the international higher education field. Read his story in this next post in our series, and find out what words of wisdom he has for those just starting out in their careers.


What is your role at your institution?

I determine the admission of international (non-US) undergraduate applicants and set policy for the graduate applicants with respect to degree comparability. I also train our credential evaluators of which we have six (full time).

Why did you decide to start working in the field of international higher education?

After completing a Masters in History (Modern European diplomatic and political history) at The University of Texas at Austin in the United States, I wanted to get a job at UT-Austin while my wife went to graduate school. An opening appeared in a clerical position in International Admissions and I took that job. It has been so fascinating with the immense amount of knowledge of other educational systems that I have remained in the field for 36 years.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I find the interaction with colleagues in the field, particularly from other countries, that I meet at conferences particularly rewarding. International admissions and credential evaluation is an important, yet relatively small field in terms of practitioners and I very much enjoy meeting them, listening to presentations, and giving presentations at conferences. I also find puzzling out new or unfamiliar academic credentials fascinating.

What words of wisdom do you have for those starting in the higher education field?

I would say to my young colleagues not to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of information one needs to master to succeed and not to be deterred by the relatively modest salaries associated with the initial positions available. And, of course, GET INVOLVED in organisations like NAFSA, AACRAO, and EAIE.  It is amazing how quickly one can rise in leadership positions in such organisations and have rewarding experiences associated with such involvement.