Joanne Lagasse-Long is recognized and celebrated as an inspiring and compassionate leader and student services professional.
Arizona Global is proud to share that Joanne Lagasse-Long, Director of International Student Services (ISS), has been awarded the 2021 NAFSA Region II Bruce Tracy Award.
This award is given to a NAFSA member in Region II—which encompasses Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming—whose professional and personal contributions to the fields of international education go beyond the normal expectation of the job. It may be someone who gives a great deal of personal time to programs for international or study abroad students or campus internationalization efforts, provides significant leadership at the regional or national levels, or simply reflects the ideals and goals of NAFSA through his/her professional commitment and dedication to the field.
The award, announced at the 2021 NAFSA All-Region Summit, recognizes Lagasse-Long's 20+ years as Director of International Student Services and celebrates her positive impact as a leader.
"Joanne is a dedicated student services professional who works tirelessly to ensure that our international students have a successful academic journey at the University of Arizona," says Associate Vice President for Global Affairs Daniel Palm. "We appreciate Joanne’s professional and personal contributions to the field of international education and her passion and dedication to international students, fellow colleagues, and the University of Arizona."
Lagasse-Long was nominated for the esteemed award by three of her International Student Services colleagues in Arizona Global.
"Joanne exemplifies the qualities of a devoted international educator and exceptional leader," wrote colleague and Program Director for Project Development Lara Pfaff in the nomination letter to the NAFSA committee. "She has mentored students who need extra help adjusting to life in the U.S. and is always eager to meet with students, help them navigate new systems and challenging situations and connect them to the right resources."
Lagasse-Long is known to spend time outside of normal work hours ensuring that students’ needs are met, whether it is meeting a student for an early morning coffee, picking up newly arrived students from the airport or visiting a student in the hospital on a weekend.
"Joanne also regularly works in collaboration with other university staff members to ensure that international students’ voices are heard and understood," said Pfaff. "This additional work might carry extra burden for someone else, but Joanne embraces it with enthusiasm and energy."
Lagasse-Long has made a positive impact on the lives of many students over the years. Associate Director of International Student Services Noelle Sallaz, another of the nominating colleagues, recalled a particular example that stands out.
"When a doctoral student from North Africa came to study at the University of Arizona," Sallaz explained, "their two college-aged children came with them. When funding from their home country was delayed over several semesters, Joanne worked with the Bursar’s Office and other departments so the students could continue to enroll each semester and maintain their F-1 status.” When the parent completed the doctoral program and returned home, Joanne helped the students navigate the complexities of finishing their degrees, pursuing OPT, and applying to graduate programs. "She mentored them through some very difficult moments.” Sallaz recalled. “She was truly a pillar of support."
Lagasse-Long leads her team at ISS with compassion and respect. She encourages staff to take on professional development opportunities and maintain work-life balance. She leads by example, never hesitating to jump in when extra help is needed to answer phones at the front desk, advise students and process immigration documents.
"During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joanne helped navigate the challenges of quickly changing to remote work arrangements while sustaining high levels of service for our students," Associate Director of International Student Services Marie Willard, who also nominated her colleague for the award, explained in the letter to the NAFSA committee.
"As we began the fall 2021 semester, Joanne advocated for maintaining a safe work environment as more staff returned in-person to the office," Willard continued. "Above all else, in addition to serving our students, she knows that supporting her team is top priority."
Joanne Lagasse-Long is committed personally and professionally to her team and to the international student community that we serve at the University of Arizona. Her hard work and devotion have made a difference to our campus community.
About International Student Services
The University of Arizona hosts more than 4,000 international students and scholars from all over the globe each year. ISS offers holistic support for international students, from visa and immigration services to social, academic, and emotional support. Learn more here.
About NAFSA: Association of International Educators
NAFSA is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA serves the needs of more than 10,000 members and international educators worldwide at more than 3,500 institutions, in over 150 countries. NAFSA believes that international education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals.