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. He is HPU’s Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), serving as the main point of contact between HPU and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). 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 nearby Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 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 studied abroad in Bonn, Germany and Vienna, Austria and earned a Fulbright grant to conduct his dissertation research in Riga, Latvia. His work and travel experience span more than 60 countries, including recent experiences in Colombia, Uzbekistan, and Rwanda.
Chris Ferguson, Study Abroad AdvisorCottrell Hall 145
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 144
Kristen is our Coordinator of Global Education, a Designated School Official (DSO), and the first point of contact for international students at High Point University. She advises international students and provides services to help them acclimate to life in the US and at HPU, and serves as advisor to the Global Student Association. Kristen also takes the lead on planning cross-cultural campus events, manages the office’s marketing materials, websites and social media activities, and assists with arrival and departure orientations for students traveling abroad. Kristen enjoys fostering cultural exchange experiences for HPU students, and helping students see just how life-changing these opportunities can be. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, 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). Prior to joining HPU, Kristen served in the Peace Corps in Namibia, and worked in international student services at Purdue University Northwest. In her spare time (which isn’t much as a new mom!), Kristen loves to travel and cook.