NAU earns award for achievements in internationalization

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Northern Arizona University has been named one of five institutions nationally to receive the 2012 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.

The award is presented by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. According to NAFSA, the winning institutions reflect a broad diversity of approaches, both in terms of models and implementation. Comprehensive internationalization is the planned, strategic integration of international, intercultural and global dimensions into higher education.

“NAU is honored to be recognized for its significant engagement with
comprehensive internationalization over the past few years,” said Harvey Charles, vice provost for International Education. “Since the university committed to global engagement as one of its seven strategic goals back in 2006, NAU has become a truly global campus and continues to succeed at preparing its students to be globally competent.”

NAU and the other institutions selected for the awards this year will be featured in NAFSA’s report, “Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities,” to be published this fall, and honored at an event in Washington, D.C., in November during International Education Week.

NAU’s Center for International Education hosts 965 international students from more than 65 countries and has established dozens of exchange agreements for NAU students to pursue study, internship and research experiences abroad while paying NAU tuition. Student participation in faculty-led study abroad programs has tripled in three years.

In a nominating essay, NAU described its Global Learning Initiative as “the most comprehensive commitment made to international education in the history of NAU.”

A recent audit revealed more than 500 courses with significant global content in NAU’s Liberal Studies program.

And in the first semester of the Global Science and Engineering Program—a five-year program that results in a science or engineering degree and a language degree—35 students have committed, and a fall 2012 cohort of 100 is expected.

“Being a model institution for international education requires widespread commitment by faculty and administrators,” Charles said. “That dedication is clearly evident at NAU.”

The other winners of the comprehensive award this year are College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Juniata College, San Francisco State University and the University of Michigan.

Three additional institutions were selected to receive the 2012 Senator Paul Simon Spotlight Award for a specific international program or initiative that contributes toward comprehensive internationalization. They are Providence College, the University of Arizona and Washington and Jefferson College.

NAFSA describes itself as the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education.