Dr. Jeffrey Palis, Director of Global EducationCottrell Hall 146
Dr. Palis is High Point University’s Director of Global Education, overseeing study abroad and exchange programs and international student programs and services. Dr. Palis also collaborates with academic units on the HPU campus to host visiting scholars, international speakers, and artists to achieve the dual goals of bringing High Point University students and faculty to the world and welcoming the world to the High Point campus. A native of Winston-Salem, Dr. Palis got his start in international education as a Study Abroad and Exchange Coordinator in the University System of Georgia, working his way up to comprehensive international director in Georgia before moving on to become the founding Director of Global Studies and Study Abroad at Lamar University in Texas. Dr. Palis earned a Fulbright grant to conduct his dissertation research in Riga, Latvia and has work and travel experience in more than 60 countries.
Dr. Marjorie Church, Director of International Student AffairsCottrell Hall 145
Dr. Church is the Director of International Student Affairs and Principal Designated School Official, serving as the main point of contact between HPU and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and overseeing matters related to immigration and student Visas. She advises international students and provides services to help them acclimate to life in the US and at HPU. In addition, she is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a tool used to assess intercultural competence of students studying abroad as well as international students at HPU. Dr. Church has been with HPU for more than two decades, working for many years as an instructor of English before taking on the job of Director of International Student Affairs. She teaches a first-year seminar entitled Teach Peace to Reach Peace: An Introduction to Peace Education, and serves as advisor to both the Global Student Association and HPU’s PRIDE club. She is the President of the Zeta Beta Chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the Honor Society for International Students and Scholars, and serves as Program Coordinator for the South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Society (SAPES). She enjoys being a part of the HPU Interfaith Dinner Club and coordinating with the Office of Religious Life to provide interfaith programming that is inclusive of people of all faith traditions.
Chris Ferguson, Study Abroad AdvisorCottrell Hall 144
Chris is our Study Abroad Advisor and serves as the Designated School Official for inbound exchange and study abroad students. He works closely with High Point University students, helping them find and prepare for relevant academic experiences abroad and process their experiences to develop their intercultural competencies. He also assists international students with immigration matters, creating and updating immigration records, and advising on immigration policy. In addition to his advising responsibilities, Chris facilitates the transfer of study abroad credits and creates and maintains marketing materials for the Office of Global Education. A graduate of HPU, Chris discovered a passion for teaching which eventually led him to move to China to work with college students and pursue Chinese language study. He has academic and work experience in China and Thailand and travel experience in Asia and Europe. In addition to his passion for education, Chris is a chef and history buff. He enjoys exploring cultures through their cuisine and by connecting their history with their present ways of life.
Kristen Cruz, Coordinator of Global EducationCottrell Hall 142
Kristen is our Coordinator of Global Education, planning cross-cultural campus events and activities and promoting international opportunities for HPU students. She also manages the office’s marketing materials, websites and social media activities, and assists with arrival and departure orientations for students traveling abroad. Some of the most memorable experiences Kristen has had in her life were when she had the opportunity to befriend, mentor and teach international students, and it has truly charted the course of her life so far. Kristen is excited to be able to foster similar cultural exchange experiences for HPU students, whether it be at home or abroad, and to help students see just how life-changing these opportunities can be. As a proud Ohioan, she is a two-time graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she holds bachelor’s degrees in Africana Studies and History, a Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education, and a graduate-level certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). With a background in women’s and gender health, sexual health education, and HIV, STI and pregnancy prevention, Kristen served in the Peace Corps as a community health and HIV/AIDS volunteer in Namibia and as a youth advocate for the YWCA of Northwest Ohio. Prior to joining High Point University, she worked in international student services at Purdue University Northwest in Indiana. In her spare time, Kristen loves to try new craft projects, travel as much as she can, dream up future travels, try new foods and soak in different cultures and ideas.