Flying freshman students abroad for overseas learning experiences; offering language “villages” in more than a dozen foreign tongues; supporting international students with customized financial aid packages; helping build universities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa; advancing innovation in engineering, science, technology, and agriculture through multidisciplinary action. These are just a few examples of the extraordinary internationalization efforts developed by winners of the 2006 Senator Paul Simon Awards for Campus Internationalization.
NAFSA received many outstanding nominations for the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization from an array of distinguished institutions throughout the United States. This report—now in its fourth year—highlights the power of international education to advance learning and scholarship, build respect among different peoples, and enhance constructive leadership in a global community.
In seeking out institutions where international education has been “broadly infused” across all facets of the institution, the 2006 Selection Jury looked for some or all of the following characteristics:
- The campus has been widely internationalized across schools, divisions, departments, and disciplines.
- There is evidence of genuine administrative or even board-level support for internationalization.
- The campus-wide internationalization has had demonstrable results
- for students.
- The institution’s mission or planning documents contain an explicit or implicit statement regarding international education.
- The institution’s commitment to internationalization is reflected in the curriculum.
- The campus-wide internationalization has had demonstrable results within the faculty.
- There is an international dimension in off-campus programs and outreach.
- There is internationalization in research and/or faculty exchange.
- The institution supports education abroad as well as its international faculty, scholars, and students.
Each of the five institutions chosen by the panel to receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization has been profiled in-depth in this report. While each has arrived at its commitment to internationalization in a unique way, all five demonstrate impressive levels of internationalization across their entire campus structure. Among the winners in 2006 are schools of widely varying sizes and resources: Arcadia University, Glenside, Pennsylvania; Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota; Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana; Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
In addition to the five schools selected to receive the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, three other institutions are spotlighted for their outstanding accomplishments in specific areas of internationalization. The 2006 spotlight schools are Babson College in Massachusetts, recognized for the role of its business school in acting upon the importance of internationalization; Old Dominion University in Virginia, noted for its activities targeting underrepresented populations for internationalization, and the University of Richmond in Virginia, which stands out for its faculty development within the context of internationalization.
All eight institutions were recognized at a special ceremony held during NAFSA’s 2006 Annual Conference in Montréal in May. It was there that the five institutions selected for their overall excellence in internationalization were presented with NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization. The late Senator Simon of Illinois served his state and the nation as a strong voice for civil rights, peace initiatives, and international education. He was a strong advocate throughout his career for international education, using his positions on various committees in the Senate to advocate for exchange. His leadership in this area was especially evident in his robust support, along with Senator David Boren, for the creation of the National Security Education Program, which addresses critical national security deficiencies in language and cultural expertise.
As the leading association for international educators, NAFSA is firmly committed to the notion that the world will be a more stable and more prosperous place when all the citizens are better able to understand each other through educational experiences that draw us all together. We hope that by recognizing the five Simon Award winners and highlighting the special achievements of three additional institutions, we will help to inspire and encourage similar internationalization efforts at all institutions of higher learning.
A project of this magnitude is the work of many people. The constraints of space prevent us from listing everyone who contributed, but we do want to single out several people for special acknowledgement.
NAFSA would first like to acknowledge the financial support of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, without which this project would not be possible. The Bureau’s support for this project reflects the State Department’s commitment to encourage international students to come to the United States to experience U.S. higher education and to encourage American students to study abroad, in the best possible educational environments for learning and mutual understanding.
Next, NAFSA gratefully acknowledges the considerable work of five volunteers who constituted the advisory panel that selected the institutions that are profiled in this report:
- Stephen Dunnett, Vice Provost for International Education, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
- Jon Booth, Deputy Director, Division of International Programs Abroad, Syracuse University
- Linda Melville, International Advisement Specialist, University of New Mexico
- Wendy Weiner, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Ceo South Campus, Community College of Allegheny
- Jim Williams, Director, International Education Program, George Washington University
Their thoughtful deliberations were truly invaluable.
This report was researched and written by Christopher Connell. He also contributed many of the fine photographs used in the profile articles on the Simon Award winners. Formerly the national education reporter for The Associated Press (AP), and later assistant chief of the AP Washington Bureau, Mr. Connell is a freelance writer, editor, and consultant who works with foundations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. He is also a frequent contributor to International Educator magazine.
Many thanks to the representatives of the colleges and universities who participated in the project, including all who submitted nominations. We especially thank the institutions featured in this report for their assistance in helping us research and report their stories.
Finally, we also express our gratitude to the family of Paul Simon for lending the late senator’s name to the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, bestowed upon the five institutions to receive campus-wide profiles in the 2006 report.
Thanks to these colleagues and many others, we are able to present here a report that captures the breadth and depth of accomplishment in international education at colleges and universities—information that will be of interest and, we trust, inspiration for many in the field.