Innovative Research in International Education Award



TLS The Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship Knowledge Community (TLS KC) invites applications and nominations for the Innovative Research in International Education Award.

The deadline to apply or nominate a colleague is January 25, 2019.

Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship Knowledge Community (TLS KC) focuses on curriculum internationalization, research that informs practice, and intercultural communication, serving faculty; administrators; graduate and post doctoral students; researchers; intercultural trainers; cross-cultural counselors; and other professionals in international education.

The TLS KC Innovative Research in International Education Award celebrates and recognizes new and innovative research from any discipline that demonstrates a potential or demonstrated impact in the field of international education. Applications are encouraged to address the innovative nature of research for the field of international education. Impacts may include a policy or programmatic change, a revelation of a pedagogic tool or methodology, increased awareness of an issue, implications for additional research by other contributors, or a change in thinking among international education professionals.

Demonstrating teaching, learning, and scholarship as critical priorities to NAFSA's mission, the award recipient will be featured in the NAFSA publication International Educator, honored at the 2019 NAFSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, and encouraged to open the 2019 Symposium on Research with a presentation about the research.


  1. Scholars and researchers from all backgrounds and academic fields including graduate students, junior faculty, emerging scholars, and scholar-practitioners are encouraged to submit applications.
  2. Co-authored material will be considered. The submitted co-authored material needs to feature the nominee as the first or second author.
  3. All documents including research material should be submitted in English.
  4. Individuals may apply themselves or be nominated by a peer.
  5. Nominees are not required to have membership in NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
  6. Allowable materials include the following:
    • Accepted types of publications include articles in peer-reviewed scholarly publications such as journals. Peer review includes an evaluative process of a research publication that is done by a group of experts in the appropriate discipline(s) in order to measure the quality of scholarship under consideration. Book chapters in edited volumes based on scholarly research will also be accepted.
    • Submitted research for award consideration must have been published within the last three years.
    • Published material must be available in English (either originally or in translation) and in electronic form (as either a pdf or a link to an online publication).
    • Submitted research should have the ability to contribute to developing scholarship in or be applicable to the field of international education. The research can be based on a theoretical approach (creating, extending, or modifying theory) or an empirical approach (using actual observation or experimentation or statistical analysis).
  7. The following are not eligible for consideration:
    • Individuals who received this award within the previous three years,
    • Members of the selection committee,
    • Research sponsored by institutions and organizations, and
    • Unpublished theses and dissertations.


  1. The recipient will receive an Award Certificate.
  2. The recipient and their research will be featured on the Award webpage.
  3. The recipient will be acknowledged at the Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship Knowledge Community Update Meeting at the NAFSA Annual Conference in May 2019.
  4. An interview with the recipient will be published in NAFSA’s International Educator magazine.
  5. The recipient will have the opportunity to open the NAFSA Symposium on Research with a keynote presentation on their research in fall 2019.
  6. The recipient will have the opportunity to chair a session related to research at the 2020 NAFSA Annual Conference.
  7. The recipient will serve as an honorable member of the 2020 Award Selection Committee.


  1. Applicability of Research
    The research is applicable to the field of international education and relates to one or more international education domains (e.g. - comprehensive internationalization; education abroad; global learning; international education leadership; international enrollment management; international students and scholar services; teaching, learning, and scholarship).
  2. Innovation of Research
    The research is innovative and offers a fresh perspective, new direction, or improvement on existing knowledge and/or theories.
  3. Impact of Research
    The research has a demonstrated or potential impact to the field of international education.

How to Apply

In order to be considered, applicants must submit the following materials (in English) to by January 25, 2019. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

  1. Applicant information: name, title, institution, contact information
  2. Research information: title, publisher, year of research to be considered
  3. PDF of research (book chapter, journal article)
  4. Application Letter 
  5. Recommendation Letter
     Additional Information

How to Nominate

In order to be considered, nominations must be submitted (in English) to by January 25, 2019. Incomplete nominations will not be considered. Nominations should include: 

  1. Contact information:
    • Nominator: name, title, institution, and contact information.
    • Candidate: name, title, institution, contact information, relationship to nominator
  2. Research information: title, publisher, year of research to be considered
  3. PDF of research (book chapter, journal article)
  4. Nomination Letter
    Additional Information

2018 Recipient

Chrystal A. George Mwangi, PhD
Chrystal A. George Mwangi is an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her scholarship broadly centers on 1) structures of opportunity and issues of inequity that impact the trajectory of diverse students into and through college; 2) internationalization efforts within higher education, the transnational nature of universities, and the use of higher education as a tool for international mobility/migration; and 3) African and African Diaspora populations in higher education with a specific emphasis on the impact of race, racism, and coloniality on their educational experiences. George Mwangi engages qualitative, mixed methods, participatory, and critical research designs and frameworks. Her research has been published in journals including Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Review of Higher Education, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Prior to her faculty position, George Mwangi worked for a number of years as a college administrator. She received her PhD in higher education administration from the University of Maryland, College Park and her MS in higher education and student affairs from Florida State University.

George Mwangi's research "Partner Positioning: Examining International Higher Education Partnerships through a Mutuality Lens" explores "60 international higher education partnerships through the lens of mutuality...examining how partners negotiate and navigate power." These partnerships were created with the goal of addressing international development challenges through collaboration between a university in the Majority World and a university in the U.S. The findings emphasized "the process of partnership creation, navigating cross-cultural contexts, partner positioning and partnership dynamics, and stakeholder engagement."

2018 Award Selection Committee

  • Cindy Xinquan Jiang, chair, Ohio State University
  • Sora Friedman, SIT Graduate Institute
  • Chris Glass, Old Dominion University
  • Christina E. Sanchez, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
  • Polina Vinogradova, American University


Submissions due: January 25, 2019

Past Award Recipients

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