Janine Knight-Grofe recognized for contributions to international education

Janine Knight-Grofe has been recognized for her tremendous contributions to the field of international education.

Knight-Grofe, Durham College’s (DC) director of International Education, travelled to Washington, D.C. last month for the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) annual conference. While there, she became only the second Canadian to be honoured with the Harold Josephson Student Professional Award, which recognizes a professional administrator in international education who is also doing graduate work (PhD or master’s degree).  

“I was thrilled and humbled because I have a lot of passion for this field. I would probably work in international education even if I wasn’t paid to do so.”

Knight-Grofe knows firsthand the value that an international education can have. As a student, she studied abroad in the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom. Then she turned her passion for it into a career.

“I’ve written quite a bit on international students, on education abroad, and now I’m focused on equity in internationalization in my PhD work. I consider myself a perpetual international student,” she said.

After a decade with the Canadian Bureau for International Education, she arrived at DC where she works with a diverse team of professionals to support international students from the start of their journey to Canada until they graduate from DC. Her goal is to provide tailored, values-centred support for international students by making sure they feel a sense of belonging and providing them the tools, resources and engagement they need to thrive.

“I am simply here to support students who have chosen to take this journey. I am here, 100 per cent, to support their future goals.”

She also oversees opportunities for DC students to experience their own education abroad. The Faculty-led Classroom Abroad (FLCA) program allows students to take what they’ve learned and apply it around the world, and two groups recently did just that. A group from the Faculty of Hospitality and Horticultural Science travelled to Peru to study culinary techniques at a university, while a group from the Faculty of Media, Art and Design trekked to Guatemala to learn and to share storytelling techniques with young people.

As the work of supporting international students continues and evolves, the award she received in Washington will provide motivation as she continues to lead the way.

“Are people understanding the ways we’re trying to do things differently in international education, with a great focus on equity? That recognition is like, yes. Keep going.”