James Haas

  • Self-taught evaluator early in the profession; began career at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale
  • Moved to Indiana University in 1965 to lead all foreign credential evaluation for the university system
  • Author of NAFSA’s “Workshop Guidelines” (1967) and “A Guide to the Admissions of Foreign Students” (1969)
  • Served on multiple boards throughout the field of international education
  • US Department of State – staff member for multiple workshops geared toward training US embassy personnel
  • Freely shared his experience to both veteran and newer evaluators; regularly mailed out compendia for credential evaluators multiple times each year
  • Legacy lives on in volumes of information housed at Indiana University that continues to be shared throughout the field


The profession of international credential evaluation had its roots in the years immediately following World War II. The early pioneers included Martena Sasnett (USC), Inez Sepmeyer (UCLA), Clyde Vroman (Michigan), Bill Strain (Indiana), and Hattie Jarmon (Columbia University Teachers College). Mostly they worked independently, but in 1964 NAFSA developed an admissions section [ADSEC]. AACRAO reacted by reorganizing itself into five separate sections focused on the differing responsibilities of registrars and admissions officers. One section [Group II] focused on international credential evaluation.

Throughout the rest of the 1960s and through most of the 1970s, the activities of ADSEC and Group II were predominantly funded by grants from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs [CU] of the U.S. Department of State.

ADSEC used CU funds to organize a credential evaluation workshop in Honolulu in December 1965, reviewing the educational systems of India, Japan, Philippines, and Taiwan, for 22 U.S. university foreign credential evaluators. The resource persons were Bill Strain, Clyde Vroman, Cliff Sjogren (Vroman’s assistant at Michigan), and Bob Barendsen (a staff member of the Comparative Education Branch of the U.S. Office of Education.

Most of the participants in this workshop were new to the field, and self-taught. One of them was G. James Haas, then at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Because of his participation in this workshop, Jim was selected by ADSEC to conduct the first one-day drive-in credential evaluation workshop, in Carbondale. That was followed by a request by NAFSA to help write and edit the chapter on credential evaluation for NAFSA’s nine-chapter “Workshop Guidelines” for university staff members who worked with foreign students (published in September 1967). Jim also helped write and edit “A Guide to the Admission of Foreign Students” for NAFSA (published in September 1969).

As a result of these activities, Jim was asked by ADSEC and Group II to serve on a number of professional committees and boards, including:

  • AACRAO: Admissions, Evaluation, and Placement Committee; World Education Series Committee (for which he served as the content editor for many volumes).
  • AACRAO-NAFSA Joint Committee on Workshops [JCOW].
  • College Board: International Education Committee.
  • Educational Testing Service: TOEFL Board.
  • NAFSA: ADSEC National Team board; Region V and Region VI boards; national Board of Directors; Field Services
  • National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials [Council].
  • National Liaison Committee on Foreign Student Admissions [NLC].
  • U.S. Department of State: staff member for several CU-organized overseas workshops for U.S. embassy personnel.

During his career, Jim was a presenter at a multitude of state, regional, and national conferences for AACRAO and NAFSA. He freely shared his expertise with others in the field, newcomers and old-timers alike. In the days before the Internet, he typed up a multi-page compendium of information of interest to credential evaluators which he mailed out several times a year.

It was not long after the 1965 workshop in Hawaii that Bill Strain enticed Jim to leave SIU-Carbondale and become the foreign credential evaluator for the entire Indiana University system: undergraduate, graduate, and professional. Just as Bill Strain did, so also did other members of AACRAO and NAFSA recognize Jim as a leader in the field.