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IIE awards applaud minority-serving HEIs

Santa Monica College in California and Virginia Union University are the recipients of IIE‘s first ever award for Internationalizing the Minority-Serving Institution, in this year’s Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education.

IIE Andrew Heiskell Award winner Santa Monica CollegeSanta Monica College was one of the co-winners of IIE's first ever Heiskell Award for Internationalizing the Minority-Serving Institution. Photo: Michael Oh.

SMC has “established a culture in which students are aware of the opportunities and responsibilities of living in a global, interconnected society"

Virginia Union University, which primarily serves first-generation black college students, established a Center for International Studies in 2010 with the aim of adding an international component to every core curriculum course.

“We recommend these programmes as models, and hope they will offer inspiration to professionals on other campuses”

As of 2015/16, the college achieved its aim, with 55 faculty members internationalising their courses so that all of VUU’s general core curriculum courses, along with many others, contain international elements.

It also founded an International Students Association, which helps new international students to acclimatise to campus culture as well as organising social and academic events.

Santa Monica College, a minority-serving institution that boasts the second largest international student population of any community college in the US, was named a co-recipient of the award for its Global Citizenship Initiative.

The college-wide effort that began in 2008 funds scholarships, faculty mini-grants for international conferences and affordable short-term study abroad options for low-income students.

The programme also provides overseas professional development training that enables faculty to integrate aspects of history, politics, social issues and other elements of the countries they visit into their curricula.

The Global Citizenship Initiative has effectively “established a culture in which SMC students are actively aware of both the opportunities and responsibilities of living in a global, interconnected society”, commented SMC superintendent/president Kathryn Jeffery.

“From Santa Monica College, students can literally go anywhere.”

Other winners in this year’s Andrew Heiskell Awards include Macquarie University, whose Global Leadership Program won it the Internationalizing the Campus award; and Mississippi State University, which won the International Partnerships award for its work with International University Rabat in Morocco.

And Northern Arizona University topped the Study Abroad category for its Interdisciplinary Global Programs, which provide international immersion experiences for engineering, business and international affairs students through a five-year, double major track that includes a language or cultural studies major and a year abroad.

“We are deeply honoured to have been nationally recognised as innovators in international education,” commented Daniel Palm, executive director of NAU’s Center for International Education.

“NAU’s ongoing commitment to global engagement has had a profound impact on the university campus.”

IIE’s president and CEO, Allan Goodman, congratulated the award winners: “We recommend these programmes as models, and hope they will offer inspiration as well as guidance to professionals on other campuses who share the goal of preparing their students to live and work in today’s global environment.”

The IIE Heiskell Awards will be presented on March 14 at Florida International University, a co-winner of the Internationalizing the Campus award in 2016.

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