“Internationalization really is as much about our own backyard as it is across the oceans,” says Richard Carpenter, chancellor of Lone Star College System in Houston, Texas.

Lone Star was one of five institutions to win NAFSA’s 2013 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. The 2013 Spotlight Award was given to three other schools. All were recognized on November 12 in Washington, D.C., at NAFSA’s Presidential Panel Discussion and Awards Reception, the kickoff to NAFSA’s celebration of International Education Week.

Presidents and chancellors from several of the institutions that received the award gathered to discuss innovative solutions for internationalizing their campuses and preparing students to work in a global economy. Community involvement and faculty investment were two strong themes that surfaced during the discussion.

“Many of our students will find themselves working outside of Texas or this country, and they don’t know it yet,” said Carpenter. Houston is home to many multinational corporations, and in the community, Lone Star is “seen as a partner with the corporate sector,” said Carpenter. Lone Star joins Green River Community College from Auburn, Washington, as the two community colleges to win the award this year.

Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, and Earl Potter III, president of St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, agreed with the importance of partnering with community and business leaders. Both mentioned accompanying their respective governors on international trade missions. “We link our commitment with international education to Minnesota,” said Potter. Genshaft added that universities have the responsibility to “educate students so that they are ready to work in multinational [corporations].”

The other important factor in successful internationalization is support for and from faculty. “We have always had a very active faculty,” said Tony Frank, president of Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado. “Faculty programs lead to student exchanges.”

At Lone Star, 61 faculty exploratory grants have been awarded since 2008 to develop study abroad programs. “The faculty member picks the trip and is transformed,” says Carpenter. These trips also help bridge the gap between international students and faculty. “Our 2,100 international students, they want our faculty to know more about where they come from,” he added.

The event included opening remarks from Jefferson Brown, deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and concluded with an awards reception and remarks by Evan Ryan, assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Maureen McLaughlin, senior adviser to the secretary of education and director of international affairs at the U.S. Department of Education.

Each award-winning school is profiled in the latest edition of Internationalizing the Campus. Read more about each school’s comprehensive internationalization efforts and use them as inspiration for your own institution.

2013 Senator Paul Simon Award Winners

  • Colorado State University; Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Green River Community College; Auburn, Washington
  • Lone Star College System; Houston, Texas
  • St. Cloud State University; St. Cloud, Minnesota
  • University of South Florida; Tampa Florida

2013 Spotlight Award Winners

  • Fairfield University; Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Northwestern University; Evanston, Illinois