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Field Representative Knowledge and Utilization

Background

Stakeholders note areas of improvement for SEVP field representatives, specifically requesting a more strategic approach to visiting SEVP-certified schools and more consistent training across the board.

Overall, stakeholders mentioned positive interactions with SEVP field representatives. However, they suggested field representatives should visit some schools less than twice per year to focus their attention on interacting with schools that may benefit from more frequent visits. 

Government Response

In response to feedback from stakeholders, SEVP’s Field Representative Unit (FRU) amended its guidance to field representatives, allowing them to meet with schools in their territory once per year. Field representatives continue to perform more frequent visits to schools that require additional assistance and guidance. They customize and personalize each school visit based upon the school’s population, needs and requests.

To improve field representative training, FRU leadership implemented weeklong annual regional training sessions for all field representatives. These trainings allow field representatives from specific geographic regions to meet and discuss program news and updates, and to share trends and insights from their own territories. 

Through these training sessions, field representatives have an opportunity to share information, grow their institutional knowledge, understand current program initiatives and collaborate with their colleagues. 

Before initial deployment into their territory, all new field representatives must complete a comprehensive eight-week training program at SEVP headquarters and pass a final exam. The initial training course covers:

  • Legislative and regulatory training.
  • SEVP processes, policies and procedures.
  • Frequently asked questions.
  • Educational visits to other government organizations.

SEVP also adjusts training materials based on stakeholder feedback and improves the curriculum as needed. To help continued improvement of the field representative program, designated school officials can complete and submit the Field Representative Feedback Form after a field representative visit. The form is available on Study in the States. In March 2017, SEVP made changes to the Field Representative Feedback Form review process. Feedback submission forms are not shared with the field representative, but are reviewed by SEVP leadership to better improve the program. This change will allow DSOs to provide more direct feedback on the school visit and their interactions with the individual field representative.

Field representatives are available to answer DSO questions in person, by phone or via email. If a field representative does not have an immediate answer to a DSO question, the field representative will submit the question to the SEVP Response Center (SRC). These questions will be routed through SRC’s standard process. Response time lines for case-specific questions may vary.

Timeline

The timeline below illustrates the steps taken to communicate SEVP's progress to date.

2014
April 2014

SEVP launches its first class of field representatives. 

November 2014

SEVP launches its second class of field representatives. 

2015
August 2015

SEVP launches its third class of field representatives. 

December 2015

SEVP launches its fourth and final class of field representatives. 

2016
March 2016

FRU amends its guidance to field representatives, allowing them to meet with schools in their territory once per year so they may more frequently visit schools that require additional assistance and guidance.

2017
March 2017

FRU updates its Field Representative Feedback Form review process. Submissions are reviewed by SEVP leadership, and are not shared with field representatives.