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As the calendar page is turned to May, the thoughts of international educators all over the world turn to one event – the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo. This gathering of “10,000 of your closest friends” is THE event for networking, practitioner training and meetings with representatives from universities and organizations worldwide. There, front and center in the Expo Hall, you will find your Terra Dotta colleagues.

It may come as no surprise that Terra Dotta’s preparations for this conference began before our booth at the Los Angeles conference was packed up and shipped home. This year, much like our host city Philadelphia, you will find us looking to the future while mindful of the past. Attendees will see an updated look and design for our booth, though you’ll still be able to find us easily – just look for the Terra Dotta cube revolving overhead.

In the booth, Terra Dotta staff will be ready and eager to fill you in on the latest developments to our growing array of solutions. Should you like an introduction to one of our products, choose from the theater demonstrations offered every 30 minutes during Expo Hall hours. The link will take you to the entire schedule, allowing you to select your preferred demonstrations and to save them to your calendar.

Prefer a more individual consultation? You can now arrange a meeting beforehand with any of the Terra Dotta staff attending the conference. Simply visit our Attendees page, click on the photo of the individual with whom you’d like to meet and select the day and time of your choice. Meeting invitations will be emailed automatically so your personal schedule remains current.

Over the course of the past 12 months, we hope you have been able to stay abreast of advancements to Terra Dotta software that have been announced in our newsletters and emails. Our ISSS solution continues to build a track record of elevating the international student and scholar experience while streamlining SEVIS compliance.

For your outgoing travelers, our new Express and Enterprise Travel Registries provide systems able “to capture traveler information so administrators can locate and communicate with travelers during critical events.” Express Travel Registry is already an award winner! And both systems include our popular AlertTraveler, a finalist for this year’s GoAbroad Award for Innovative Technology. Read more about these recognitions below.

Offices involved in bilateral student mobility will want to attend one of the demonstrations of Terra Dotta’s Agreements and Partnerships software to learn about the institutional benefits of automated processes for agreement proposals, approvals and renewals. And European attendees will be interested in attending the demonstration of our Erasmus module for administering their balances.

Whatever your international education software need, Terra Dotta has a solution to take your programs to the next level. Make your appointments now to meet with us about how to make that happen. We look forward to seeing you soon in Philadelphia!

“This was the best TDUG ever!” an attendee exclaimed. Another commented, “I learned so much.” Is there a need to say more? OK, one more. Brandon S. Lee, Terra Dotta CEO, said afterward, “This was my favorite user conference ever.” Of course, we are always endeavoring to improve our conferences from one year to the next, but this year seemed to reach a new high. TDUG in Pittsburgh was one of our largest and best user conferences, perhaps reflecting the growth in our overall Terra Dotta community.

Sessions continue to improve in quality, particularly those offered by our client users. Each year our users seem to become more sophisticated in their use of their respective software solutions, and in turn, are eager to share their knowledge with others. This year also saw our first tabletop exercise with our security partner iJET, and attendees seemed pleased with the extended Guru Room opportunities where they could meet one-on-one with a member of the Support Team.

For the first time, and thanks to the generosity of our colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), TDUG opened with a special plenary speaker, Dr. Manuela Veloso, Herbert A. Simon University Professor in CMU’s School of Computer Science. Dr. Veloso provided an enlightening conversation on artificial intelligence and its place in the workplace of the future. On the lighter side, she also encouraged everyone to begin using robotic vacuum cleaners!

One of the more popular sessions – also new – was the twice-offered “Future of Terra Dotta.” Attendees heard Terra Dotta’s executive leadership discuss our current growth and their visions for Terra Dotta’s near future. In particular, that discussion included:

  • Increased customer satisfaction, in part due to both faster response times and a streamlined implementation timeline,
  • Improved user experiences through responsive design and simplified interfaces,
  • A new relationship management team, and
  • Innovation with enterprise solutions and a growing ecosystem.

If you couldn’t attend one of these sessions at TDU Global, contact your Business Development or Relationship Management representative for more information about what you missed. Then watch for our announcement of TDU Global 2019 so you can start planning to attend. And perhaps present a session! In the meantime, take a look at our Facebook page for pictures from this year’s TDU Global, quickly becoming the can’t-miss conference for all Terra Dotta users.


In October 2016, Kristi Alfaro joined the Terra Dotta family as our Learning Evangelist. Her responsibilities include working with conference leaders and presenters to assure quality Terra Dotta conferences - for both TDU Global and Boot Camp! She also leads new employee onboarding as Terra Dotta continues to grow as a company.

Before joining Terra Dotta, Kristi worked in education for 15 years as a teacher, curriculum specialist, K-12 instructional coach and educational professional development provider. Kristi has a passion for teaching and learning, and she attended Wake Forest University, Stephen F. Austin University, and Graceland University. In December, Kristi will earn her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Gardner-Webb University.

Outside of work, Kristi is the mother of two special young ladies who, as Kristi says, "will someday change the world in their own unique ways." Being a working mother doesn't leave much time for hobbies, but alongside her family, they all enjoy card games, cooking, and dreaming of world travel.

Kristi says her favorite part of working at Terra Dotta is “meeting new Dottans and being their first introduction to this amazing company and the innovative software solutions we provide. Welcoming them, and then empowering them to be the best they can be in their new role makes every day rewarding.”

Do you have a newer employee who will work within your Terra Dotta system? Come to a Boot Camp!

Terra Dotta Boot Camps are 2-day, hands-on, immersive workshops designed to rapidly build your skills as a Terra Dotta administrator. Experienced instructors will guide you through exercises that teach core features for building your own practice site and completing daily tasks and processes. You will leave with a 30-day practice sandbox as well as a certificate of completion and skills to empower you as a TDS administrator!

Just sayin’, there may have been some tossed confetti and high fives around the Terra Dotta offices recently. That’s because news came that our new Express Travel Registry has been recognized with a Gold Stevie award in the Postsecondary Education category of the 16th Annual American Business Awards®. These awards are the premier business awards in the U.S., nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word meaning “crowned.” More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. More than 200 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s winners.

“We are honored that Express Travel Registry has been awarded this distinction as it validates the need for a trusted duty of care solution to help colleges and universities confirm their institutions’ travel footprint 24/7,” said Brandon S. Lee, Terra Dotta CEO.

To add to our excitement, just the week before we were informed that we are a finalist for the Innovative Technology Award for our very popular AlertTraveler product. You will find us at the GoAbroad reception during NAFSA ready to cheer on the lucky winner. Our fingers are crossed!



Between printed and online materials, it can be daunting to keep up with the professional literature. Let us help you. Each month we will list several online articles that we hope you will find interesting.

Find an article that you believe others will want to read? Send the link to! Here are some to get you started:

SEVP report highlights changes in international student population
From U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

3 best practices for managing student travel
From eCampus News

Blockchain set to revolutionise academic credentials and portability
From The PIE News


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