- To develop an ongoing support network among international educators
- To foster enrichment opportunities and professional growth for its members
- To aid members in better serving and working with international students and scholars
In the late 1970s, several members of the San Diego international education community began meeting approximately twice every year with an officer from the San Diego Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) District Office to discuss immigration issues.
After many years of successful dialog, the INS began to realize the importance of working with the local schools and its advisors to address student immigration concerns. The INS began to listen to the advisor's concerns and concessions were gradually made to meet these needs. For example, the local INS District Office designated one day per week for students to go in person to resolve problems. Later, advisors were given telephone access to the INS officer one day per week.
A Model for Success
By the late 1980s, the group was a national model for how to facilitate communication between international educators and the INS. In 1987, the group became an official organization that held bimonthly meetings with the INS officer at different school campuses. Also, the group became officially known as the San Diego Professional International Educators Roundtable (PIER) Group. In 1992, PIER voted to become an organization governed by an Executive Board and began to charge membership dues.
Currently, PIER is an active organization with more than 100 members representing universities, colleges, English language schools and high schools in San Diego. The organization continues to facilitate communication with local immigration officials and has developed into an important resource and support network for San Diego international educators.